General Paddle Length?

-- Last Updated: Jan-21-16 12:19 PM EST --

My apologies if this has been asked previously, but I'm new to kayaking and trying to get all the necessary equipment.

I'm looking to get two general paddles that can be used by anyone as who I'm kayaking with will probably often change.

I've been reading different sites and I think 230cm, low angle is good for people of average size just recreationaly paddling in easy water areas. Is this correct? Other suggestions?

Also, Aluminum, Fiberglass? Is someone of my very minimal expertise going to notice a difference? If so, what?

If it helps/matters it will be used with the Advanced Elements AE1007-R AdvancedFrame Convertible Inflatable Kayak Length: 15'.Width: 32" Weight: 56 lbs

Any help you can provide would be great! Thanks!

For a 35” wide boat, 230 is probably just about right. For materials, I’d stay away from a cheap aluminum paddle, and go for wooden ones, or maybe fiberglass. You said others may be using it, so damage could happen with glass easier than wood.

There are also decent paddles out there with fiberglass shafts and poly blades. Look at those as well. With any of them, go as light on weight as possible, and don’t be afraid to spend a little extra on a paddle if it feels good.

But the very most important thing is: DO YOU LIKE IT? If it feels good to you, then it’s a good paddle. Try more than one. In your situation, I’d lean toward wood, or Glass/Poly.

I agree on the materials. I have had 2
Al paddles. Couldn’t wait to get rid od them. Gave them away.

Paddle length
230 is awefully long these days. I think it is a size mostly used by anglers. I think you would be happier with a 215 paddle for all around work. White water paddlers like them shorter than 202. Surf paddlers most often use 205 or shorter. Racers most often buy an adjustable paddle from 205 to 215. Very strong races sometimes use a paddle longer than that.

A longer paddle is heavier, it will not help you go faster or turn faster than using the right size paddle with the proper technique.

Get advice from and instructor, not from a guy at the shop selling paddles. The odds are the guy in the shop will paddle less than you do this year.

32" wide boat
I don’t think I’d want a 210cm paddle for a 32" wide boat. 230 may even be marginal.

2 piece adjustable length
All my paddles are 2 piece and adjustable. Probably wont find one in wood, but fiberglass ones can be found. All of mine are carbon, but for your purposes carbon would be too expensive.

second what gnattcher said
I wouldn’t go shorter than 230 for a boat this wide.

too short
Trying to use a 215 on a 32" wide boat is a guarantee of banged knuckles. Stick with the 230 that has been recommended. That is what I’ve used paddling the bow of a canoe (that was 32" where I was paddling from) and for a 28" wide kayak that I started out with. I use a 215 now with boats that are 21" to 24" wide.

trial and plenty of errors
Or you could follow my lead. I bought a new Tsunami 125 at 26"wide and a 230 paddle. After one outing, and my first in a kayak, I was convinced this paddle was too short. So I went back to the store and convinced a skeptical salesperson I needed a 240.

After a few more outings I realized I was an idiot. But I could not bear returning another paddle. Because the paddles were two-piece, I bought a 220. Now depending upon assembly I either have a 220, 230, or 240, which I never use.

That was long before I moved up to Tempest 170 at 22" wide. Now I use a Greenland paddle that I adore, and keep the 220 on board as a back up.

From what you say, 230 seems about as short as you might want go for your boat. But learning this kayaking thing is a fluid experience. so to speak. I also have a couple expensive carbon paddles at 210 and 215 that don’t get used now, but that is another story.

Have fun out there.


– Last Updated: Jan-23-16 1:37 AM EST –

I have a 36" Libra XT Tandem 21-4" long. 220 is great for me at 6' tall. Werner paddles website ha a section to help guide on paddle length check it out.