GP dimensional fine tuning

I have a carbon Novorca 88 inch GP with a 24 inch loom and 3.5 inch blade that works very well for me. My first 88 inch Novorca had a 20 inch loom and I hated it. Increasing loom to 24 inch for the loom made all the difference to me.

Now I am contemplating getting another Novorca, slightly smaller, in order to improve my forward stroke efficiency by 0.1 percent. (LOL) But I cannot decide whether to get one with overall length reduced to 86 inches, or blade width reduced to 3.25 inches. (I am definitely keeping the loom at 24.) Any comments?

Note 1: No interest at all in carving my own.

Note 2: The new paddle will be yellow!

Ask the guys at Novorca.
They’ll be most helpful.

that is my plan

My Experience
Leave it wide and reduce the length. Narrow = more flutter on those first two strokes and shorter doesn’t.

Post this on the Greenland board

smaller paddle won’t necessarily improve or even help you improve your stroke. Your paddle size and cut of the paddle will be determined by what you like as far as a stroke is. Do you want a faster cadence? do you surf and need a more forward loading paddle? Do you want to do long days with a loaded kayak or unloaded kayak? Do you want the paddle to load farther back in the stroke in order to lessen fatigue ? are your hands small but shoulders and strength huge? {paddle needs to be cut to take advantage of this too}

The kind of stroke and use will determine what you should get…not just a smaller paddle.

Best Wishes


Will it start an argument?

your paddles that you tried over closely…narrow is probably not the cause of more flutter on the first 2 strokes:}

Best Wishes


Don’t be Coy, Now

– Last Updated: Dec-19-12 4:51 AM EST –

For me:

Wider paddle = little or no flutter.

Narrower paddle = some flutter on the first stroke or two.

I realize I can reduce my power on those first strokes and reduce the flutter, but I found that a shorter, wider paddle makes that unnecessary. You think there's some other variable accounting for this?

narrow versus shorter
Hey Rex, Afraid I agree with fadered on this one. With some allowance for subtle differences in tip configuration, flutter is almost entirely due to technique, not whether the paddle is long or short or the blade in 3.25 or 3.5 inches.

For the OP, I’d suggest trying a lot of paddles when you head out with friends until you get a sense of what feels right. I like 86" and 3" blade, but also have 84" and 88" paddles, and paddles with up to 3.5 in blades, and vary what I use depending on conditions and how I feel. Mostly I prefer high cadence paddling (like spinning on a bike) so shorter and narrower feels best, but there are many paths to walk and only experience will tell you which one is yours.

Since you found a length that feels good
I would try a narrower blade. One thing I enjoy with a narrower blade is that you can play with the canted angle more. A narrower blade is also nice to use when you get stuck paddling into a strong head wind when rounding an island or point. The smaller bite with the faster cadence seems to be easier for myself when paddling into a strong head wind. As far as some people having experienced flutter with a narrow blade, I guess it would have a lot to due with technique and paddle design. I haven’t noticed any direct relation with blade size and flutter with the paddles I’ve made. I do enjoy using paddles of different dimensions on a regular basis based on the conditions or to just change up techniques. Whatever you decide you can’t go wrong.

I don’t really know anyone who uses a GP, plus I mainly paddle solo, two to three hour day paddles in an unloaded Q700. Mainly in moderate or mild ocean conditions. I really like the Novorca, and much prefer the carbon to either the Beale or Superior wood paddles I owned in the past. I just want another slightly different one, and not for any particular dissatisfaction with the current dimensions. I use a bit of cant and have zero issue with flutter, so I would not choose shorter rather than narrower for reasons of flutter. It is not a big decision, more an intellectual curiosity.

86 with a 3 inch blades seems like it would be much less bite than I like.

There seems to me a strong relationship between loom length and the power/resistivity of the paddle. I think that my 24 inch loom length and wider grip allows a more powerful paddle than a 20 inch loom would.

I use the same width grip on the Novorca as I do on my wing or low angle Euro.

I’ll Compare My Paddles
but I’m using the same technique when I switch back and forth. Greg Stamer said he experienced the same thing in a post here on PNet.

Different Paddle
I’ve always carried two paddles so I can choose between two cadences. Think gears on a bike. Low gear going upwind and high gear downwind. I don’t have problems with paddle flutter either… unless I’m using my narrow paddle on those first two strokes. My narrower paddle is 3" wide and wider is about 3.5".

I’m no expert but
I use an Aleut, so flutter isn’t an issue. On researching designs, this is what I’ve come up with that may help you in your question:

  1. Loom length relates to your shoulder width and grip, not to power (although leverage always matters, based on where your hands are on the paddle).
  2. Paddle length relates to your boat width and your arm length.
  3. Blade size relates to how much power you get from different strokes, as well as resistance to wind. So narrower resists wind less than wider. But in terms of power it appears to be the overall amount of area that actually meets the water in a full stroke; multiplying width times length gives you the area and various combos can be actually equivalent in area.

    So it seems to me that you’ve settled on the loom length you like (an unshouldered GP might have given you the same thing). Your overall paddle length needs to be based on width of your boat, rather than power needs, meaning that you might or might not be comfortable with a shorter paddle. Once you settle on those two factors, then your blade width is the only variable left to play with; more width more power transfer.

    If you can DIY your own and cut it down sequentially, you can test this easily. If you don’t want to do that, then find a table of effective blade area with descriptions of how those produce more or less power and wind resistance for a wing EP and figure something similar for a GP.

I am not getting another GP to improve my stroke, though it certainly could improve. I just want another Novorca, with slightly different (less) length or width, not both. I will definitely keep the 24 inch loom length. This will provide a slightly different gear ratio, which may be slightly better, or not, for my particular body. My boats are 21 and 22 inches in width so this is not at all a factor. Also, I am only interested in optimizing forward stroke efficiency. No surfing, except mild ocean following seas, and no heavy loaded boat.

The current GP is already a very narrow blade so I don’t think the difference in head winds will be great.

Again, this is a minor issue for me, that I just find interesting to think about.

You will notice a difference
between the 3 1/2" and a 3 1/4" blade. Sounds like you talked yourself into a new paddle. Enjoy.

If you’re comfortable with the width…
…I would just go shorter. I dropped my own paddle length from 90" to 84" a few years ago. Despite the fact that I had used the longer paddles for years and I like the shorter length much better.

Same Experience
I’ve taken a similar path as Brian. I started with the Inuit measurement of an arm span plus a cubit - 96" for me. I’ve been shortening up ever since, now using paddles in the 86 - 89" range. My fav was an old 87"er, made from a reject piece of riff cut wood. Somehow, a friend talked me into selling him that one this year (stupid move on my part). I’m still trying to replicate it.


The Inuit method…
…also came out to 96" for me, but I couldn’t bring myself to make paddles that long, as it really seemed excessive. Consequently, I started at 90" and dropped from there.