best size touring blade

am about to purchase a paddle …just bought a current design nomad kayak …i am 5 ft 9 in about 200 lbs …considered strong and in good shape …what size paddling blade would people rec …i am looking at the aquabound stingray …blade size 6.5" x 18 " wondering if that is too small …thanks for any advice

No, it isn’t too small. You don’t want
a wide paddle blade. Look at all the discussions about Greenland paddles.Long,thin blades.

Personally I love my Werner Cyprus and it is a medium sized blade…

My primary paddle
is a Werner Ikelos. It has a larger blade but the dihedral shape means more water rolls off the surface creating less flutter.

I also have a Lendal Kanetic S, which is smaller but less dihedral shape so it has more grip. I also tested a regular Kanetic tour blade and liked the efficiency.

In short, the dihedral shape or trimming the corner edges can add or subtract up to an inch of width.

If you use good rotation a larger blade can have some advantages.

A lot of people wind up with a two paddles. One larger one smaller.

So far I’ve purchased two Lendals, a Bending Branches (cheep one) and a Werner. I gave away one of the carbon Lendals last night that I wasn’t using.

I use a Windswift by Eddyline
5x19 inch blade as my main paddle. Plenty of power. Less fatiguing and less risk of a shoulder injury.

Blade size
Blade size, shape and paddle length, ultimately depend on paddling style and personal preference. Your preference might change over time as you gain more experience with different paddles. In my family, we all made our way through a variety of paddle sizes and shapes before realizing we all like Greenland paddles. I would suggest trying different paddles (trade with friends, or borrow) for a while to see what you like. If this is your first paddle, it will probably not be your last. You can always sell it if you want something different, or keep it as a spare. If you err, I would say to err on the too small side, rather than too big. What you are looking at does not seem too small. It would be a reasonable starting point at which to compare other blades. Also, realize that paddle length will make a big difference, too. Again, I would err on the too short, rather than too long. Too long is just cumbersome, whereas too short will make you use torso rotation more, a good thing.

Stingray is a great paddle
I bought one last year and it’s great for long trips (I’ve used it on 14 mile day trips). I particularly recommend the ones with the carbon shaft. Lightweight and rugged without the huge price tag (paid about $130 at REI when they were on sale). You won’t regret getting a lightweight paddle!

I bought the 230cm and it’s a little on the long side for me (6’1") and my wide SOT (high sides). So I’m guessing 220cm or even 210cm would work great for you. After recently getting an adjustable length ONNO (Full Tour), I find myself paddling the big SOT with the paddle at about 226cm is very comfortable. The ONNOs are awesome, but about twice the price of the Aquabounds.

If you paddle with a higher angle stroke, I’d lean towards the 210cm for you. Otherwise the 220cm would be my best guess for you.


Try a few on the water

– Last Updated: Aug-14-08 11:36 AM EST –

But make sure you do that after at least 2-3 hours of paddling, when you are well tired. Your boat seems to be on the fast side of the scale, so I would thinkg a medium or medium-small size would be good for long touring. Smaller than that and I think b/w your fast boat and you being selfdescribed as "strong" and I think you may be looking for more bite than the smallest blades have.

Also a paddle that supports lower angle stroke would be prefereable, so longer and narrower as opposed to shorter and wider.

Make sure you also have a different blade for more "active" paddling though - for play or in strong waves or currents the smaller touring blades sometimes may feel underpowered: hard to catch waves or get in and out of currents if you can't quickly come to speed with just a few strokes...

The key is I think again to test paddle when you are well tired so that you can really feel what you can tollerate. I tested the Epic Active Tour blade recently when I was towards the end of a 15 mile paddle in the Chesapeake bay, which included some decent waves and winds for part of the trip. I can tell you that I felt that this paddle was too poewrful if I had to continue for another 10-15 miles -;) But my boat is a little slower than yours, so you may feel different. You could still use a blade like that but you would need to slow your cadence down and that may be worse than paddling at a little faster cadence with a less powerful blade - depends on the person.

I think that a more efficient paddle is generally better as long as it is of the right size. I get less tired when using my Epic mid-wing paddle than when using a typical euro paddle, simply because there is less wasted energy in the water with a wing than there is with a similarly powerful non-wing paddle (body rotation etc. with the wing is only icing on the cake to give you even more range as you are more likely to have a good technique with it if you are thinking about it).

Lastly, go to the Epic paddle wizard to get the idea for the length of the paddle too: The length of the paddle is a personal choice, but still many places recommend lengths that are totally off from what is most efficient for you and your boat.

The right paddle

– Last Updated: Aug-15-08 10:39 PM EST –

is totally up to you and depends on your style of paddling.

I use an Aqua Bound alum shaft Manta Ray for everything .

The only paddle you will get a majority vote on will be a GP. As a veteran paddler with almost 10,000 river miles I suggest you give the GP a try. I laughted at them and never tried one until a month ago. To my surprise they are more than you could imagine so I won't try and convince you what a great paddle it is. Just try one and see for yourself.

Paddlin' on

great advice so far
I was concerned the Ikelos would be too much blade for me. As was mentioned, the larger blade is great for bracing, wind, tide and waves. So far it hasn’t been too much strain on 16 mile trips. I carry the smaller kanetic S as a backup and will probably start keeping that one more accessible for longer trips.

My other Leadal paddle was identical to the Kanetic S, so there was no advantage in keeping it. I planned to sell it, bc I’m not exactly rolling in the cash, but I’m sick of buying and selling all this stuff, and just want to get out and enjoy what I have.

And a lot less than the big name paddles

paddle size and type

You don’t mention age, only that you are “strong and in good shape”. When you are strong you can paddle with any blade. Wider blades give more power and control, narrower blades sacrifice some of that but are less fatiguing on day long paddles. While you are strong (a passing state) you can use a 90* feathered paddle with a high angle stroke for the most efficient and powerful stroke.

When I paddled a canoe in whitewater during the 70’s I was strong from athletics and 12 summers of moving furniture. I used a wide fiberglass paddle with a stiff shaft to get the most out of each stroke to control that big canoe. It was sold 15 years later when my shoulders ached after using it all day.

As the decades pass, the day will come when any feathered paddle irritates your simmering tennis elbow issues and any paddle with a stiff shaft will leave you with sore shoulders after a long day of paddling. When this time comes (it will) you can then move to a narrow non feathered euro paddle.

As time continues to pass (I’m just short of 63) and the injuries accumulated over the decades start to express themselves, many of us have found that paddles with very narrow blades-Greenland or Aleutian-are less stressful on the body and allow us to continue to take long paddles. Those all wood paddles (If not laminated with many layers) have a bit of flex in the shaft which also reduces the toll on your body during long paddles.

So, pick your place on the continuum and choose the best paddle for you presently; Your choice will change over time. There is a reason so many old paddlers have moved to a Greenland paddle-It allows us to continue to paddle as time takes its tole.

While I have made both Greenland and Aleutian paddles, I presently prefer the Aleutian.


I paddle an Extreme a lot
and consider myself strong and in good shape. For a strong guy who wants to use it, I’d recommend a blade with good catch. Flutter in a blade is typically due to a poor stroke - pulling back on the paddle before it’s completely submerged and having more blade in the water on one side of the blade than the other when you begin your pull. You’ll correct it with little thought and practice if your blade is a balanced blade (any reputable brand will be - Lendall, Mitchell, Werner, etc.) I really don’t care for the blades that are designed to have water flow off the edges from the center to prevent flutter. Yes, it seems your stroke is easier, because your blade is allowing some water to flow past instead of staying planted. You’ll likely find this inefficiency dissappointing if you’re a strong guy trying to sprint your Nomad through a current or against wind and waves or the like. If you’re just po-dunkin along with your average group of kayakers, you won’t likely appreciate the difference. It’s when you get that urge for speed or when shit hits the fan that you will notice.

A great post

– Last Updated: Aug-14-08 3:58 PM EST –

Dave is so right - It is all about the continuum of an aging body.

Just over 61 Y/O myself, I've had a wonderful time wearing out my body along the way.

My subjective impression of a touring paddle for this old person:
1. A narrow blade is good; it's all about cadence for long haul touring; I like a fiberglass shaft Werner Little Dipper.

2. A flexible shaft is good; for my body, a carbon shaft did not work out. In fact, a carbon shaft Werner Camano, coupled with my enthusiastic but poor, technique, created a memorable case of wrist tendonitis. A fiberglass shaft is currently working for me; I will probably go a wood shaft eventually.

3. Trunk rotation is great, if your trunk is flexibile enough to rotate. If not, when you get good enough to really load a rotational force onto an inflexible spine, most of us are going to pay an unhappy price.

4. Low angle paddling is good; high angle paddling reminds my of my being S/P a Grade III right shoulder separation.

5. Feathering angle: less/none hurts me less than feathering more.

6. And let's not forget conditioning issues before, during and after the paddling season.

To sum up in the words of Cat Stevens:

"Like everbody else I'm searching through
what I've heard ....."


while I love using a traditional paddle

if I am gonna have a euro blade,

gimme the big spoon man, carbon fiber crankshaft,

gimmeee the works!!!

Werner Ikelos or Werner Coryvrecken 205 cm

go big or go home!!!

My favorite paddle is the Model T-1
from this company…

Strong, light, and no flutter when you really want to crank it. If it matters, I’m 6-2/215 pretty strong. I also have a Cannon paddle…very well made from a small, family owned company.

Getting in the Groove
Just like biking everyone has a favourite ring set to get to your most comfortable spin or rpm rate. Blade size is the same thing , pick a blade with the area that will let you stroke at your most comfortable rate. If I’m paddling with a slower group I’ll use my paddle with smaller blades to allow me to keep closer to my preferred stroke rate without pulling away from the group. Make any sense?

Fine post also
Hi Mike,

Agree with all points in your post; We are paddling down the same lake.

I use flexible shaft narrow blade paddles with no feathering. Definitely utilize trunk rotation to reduce the load on the arms. Sometimes I do drift into a high angle stroke (with an Aleutian paddle) to increase speed, but use the low angle stroke more often. Lilly dipping is certainly down the lake a ways for me, but I’ll resist going there for as long as I can, When the time comes, lilly dipping is still better than not paddling.

Also, I am moving to lighter and lighter canoes and kayaks to facilitate carrying and loading ease.

I had two partial separations of rt. shoulder in college and had to have that shoulder rebuilt after a fall on ice a few years ago. Now I must go to a gym to keep that shoulder strong.

If you go to Placid Boatworks gathering in late Sept, we can meet and you can try the Aleutian paddle.


That would be great

I was toying with the idea of going since I live so close.

Now I will definitely be there.



consider spare of different size
My wife and I both like our Werner Shunas, considered to be a big blade for high angle paddling. But I do not carry a spare of the same type. If the wind picks up with many miles to get back, I’ll switch to a Camano & paddle at a lower angle and catch less wind & might even feather it more. The smaller blade is also better if you get tired and find your hands dropping, like a tired boxer, and use a lower angle style at the end of the day.