GP paddle length

OK, so I went to a demo day this past weekend and got hooked on Greenland paddles. It will be my next purchase (summer’s upon us, no time to build). I tried a few different lengths with varying success. First, I tried one at about 88"(225cm) and it felt alright, but I found myself using a slide stroke to comfortably cruise. The standard forward stroke felt as if the angle was too high when using the full length of the blades. I thought this would be the correct length given that I could just reach the tip when on end. I tried another about a foot longer and it felt right when doing a regular forward stroke (low angle), but seemed like a lot more paddle than I should have. My guess is that it was inexperience with GPs and that I actually should be learning to use the shorter paddle correctly. I did the standard search here on GP length to no avail, but according to Cunningham’s book, 89" is about right for me. Also I currently prefer a RH feathered 220cm asymmetric blade with the 22" boat that I plan to use the new paddle with. It’s nice that unfeathered feels right on the GP; seemingly no learning curve to keep from slicing.

So anyway, to the point: For a guy, 67" tall with a 72" arm span, 89" flat-footed to raised finger tip, what size Greenland paddle should I be learning to use? Thanks in advance, all.


Here’s A GP Dimensional Poll

– Last Updated: May-17-04 3:08 PM EST –

at Qajaq/USA:

Problem is no one is giving their height. But, Brian Nystrom is around 6' tall and Juan Ochoa is 6'2" or so. I am 5'3".

Me thinks 88" is too short for you. Get longer, you can always cut down. Make sure loom is at least shoulder width. Most folks comng from a Euro use a wider grip than that. But as you may noticed already, gp users grip their index and thumb around the edge of the loom and the rest of the fingers around the beginning of the blade.


I’m 6 foot 2 and

– Last Updated: May-17-04 7:01 PM EST –

I use a 90 inch GP (230 cm). That might seem a tad short, but with a 20 inch loom and a steeper-than-average stroke angle, I feel comfortable with it.

My Euro is 220 cm with short, wide blade (Werner Shuna). My hands seem to be chest height or a bit lower, and all my blades (GP too) are just covered with water as they sweep past my thighs... close to the boat (22 inch beam). It all feels natural, so I guess there's something to the saying "different strokes..."


Given Your Height
with a paddle of 90", then Jim at 6’7" has got to be in the 94-98" range for a paddle. If I remember correctly, Cunningham favors a shorter length because he likes to “slide stroke.” I think one should learn to slide stroke and use it would a storm paddle against strong winds. However, slide stroking all the time, will result in blistered hands, given how wet they get, until one develops some serious callouses.

My “surf paddle” is 84" and 3.5" wide but frankly I like my 82" and 3.25" all around paddle more. I can use like a more vertical stroke at a faster cadence without straining myself. BTW, the 82" paddle turns out to be about the same length us my 205 cm Onno. Maybe that’s why the Onno feels “right.” :slight_smile:


Clarification: 5’7" or 67" total.
I wish I was a jolly green giant tho. :smiley:

I am five feet, seven inches tall, with a six foot arm span, with a reach of seven feet, five inches flatfooted. I’m not much bigger than you, sing…well vertically anyway. :wink:

I did check out the stats you recommended, and think I will be taking your advice on a slightly longer stick. I know Cunningham was basing the length on anthropometrics, but I can’t figure out what my legs have to do with reach. Using the proportions from the stats and the height of Juan, Brian, and yourself, I’m guessing 90-95" is probably better. Oh, and you’re right about the hand placement. I read up on it a bit before going to test paddle. I think grabbing the loom and blade throat make a nice natural grip; no need to twist your wrists.

C-kyak, with a euro blade, I’m trying to bury just 18" or so in the water, and yes, I too skim just ouside the gunwales preferably. With a Greenland, it’s more like 30-35". That’s why I was slide stroking with the shorter paddle.

Thanks gents.

5’8" with an arm span of 5’8"
And I use an 82" paddle after trying paddles from 78" (still like that one tho) - 88". Mr. Dobbs is 6’2" and uses a 92".

Yeah don’t use your legs in the equation. I use the armspan + cubit (from elbo to fingertips)

5’ 8" tall - 5’ 11" reach - 88" GP works
Mine’s 88" -with 21" loom. Matches my grip/shoulder width and overall length meets the get my finger tips over the top test. My 88" is near max for that method.

Loom length for proper grip/position is more important than an inch either way in overall length in IMHO.

Sounds more like you need to unlearn some euro habits instead of getting a longer paddle. GP feels different. Give it time. Get those hands closer to the water (or even in sometimes) and you’ll have plenty of blade in the water.

When I first got mine - I thought it might be better a couple inches longer for more power (I was coming from a huge Werner San Juan). As I adapted to a GP the power and control came and it no longer feels loose like it did first time out. Feels more like a post in cement now! Longer would miss the point and loose efficiency - and stress the shoulders more like a big blade euro. For normal touring I could go shorter, but really like the fit with the 88" (got good advice before buying: Here, qajaqusa, and from the folks at Superior).

My Bad,
thought you meant 6’7" not 67". :slight_smile:

Then 88" or shorter should work. As folks mentioned, as you stroke, your working blade hand should be at or in the water.


New observations
Not much has changed. Using the ratios from all reported here, the range is about the same, but drops a couple of inches. Proportionally, I would then be looking at between 87" and 93", instead of 90" and 95". I think Greyak makes a good point about loom length rather than overall length. Now that I think about it, the 88" paddle that I tried first made my shoulders feel kind of pinched together. I’ll go back to the dealer and pay more attention to loom length this time.

Curious though, on the table of specs, Maligiaq made a 90" paddle with a 24" loom when he was 16 years old. Anybody know how he’s built? From the video clips, I always assumed he was of slighter build.

All Individualistic
It’s said that Maliaqiaq uses a “longer paddle” for his size. However, he has the “horsepower” to swing that baby at a fast cadence than most of us would be hard press to match.

Go out and paddle some more with the 88" GP and see how it feels. It’s a starting point. in the future, unless you’re committed to a carbon paddle, you’re going to end up carving some paddles and settling on a “favorite.”