Help me choose a new paddle

-- Last Updated: May-01-08 3:40 PM EST --

I know that paddle choice discussion abound on this forum, but my is somewhat timimg and price specific. Price wise REI has some good deals as well as another 20% off for members.

So here goes: I am 5'11 and getting back into paddling after a long time away (10 years ish). I picked up a second hand early 90's eddyline fiberglas that is about 21.5 inches beam.

First a question: Is high angle paddling really more tiring? One of my first trips is going to be a 50 mile trip over about 7 days this summer. I don't really have a style, so I am reading up about them and then practicing at a local lake. I used to use a lower style, because like most, I though the high styles used a lot more energy in swinging the paddle.

Anyhow, my only current paddle (which will soon be the backup) is a 230cm bending branches whisper (alum). Its heavy and wear me out quickly. I also think its to long, when I plant the blade it tends to go several inches past the blade into the water (wasteful from what I understand).

So I am looking at either getting a 220cm low angle or a 210cm high angle paddle ( I wish REI had the 215 that seems often recommended).

Here is my thoughts so far:

-Aquabound Manta Raw ($200 - 20% rei) 29.75 ounces @ 220cm (would probably get the 210)
-Aquabound Sting Raw ($200 - 20% REI) 28.5 oz @ 220 cm
-Werner Tybe ($130 REI) 32oz 220 (Would probably buy 210)
-Werner Camone ($189 REI) 27oz @ 220

My current paddle weighs in at 37 oz, so I can't get worse as far as weight. I am training regularly with exercises from this sit and have realized that my shoulder get tired rather quickly.

I like to look at thing scientifically, when perhaps I am overthinking things and not "just having fun". I have young kids and don't get to paddle often, so I think a lot more than I do. As I read on the forums I keep hearing people moving from longer paddles to short and from a low style to higher.

Any input is appreciated.

have you considered a greenland paddle?
You mentioned shoulder fatigue which a GP particularly is gentle on. It would also be cheaper (probably around $170 for a nice wood paddle) than some of the options you listed.

What that said, a high angle stroke doesn’t necessarily wear you down more since you’re getting a more efficient use of your energy output. Also, you’re not really moving your arms too much since the power generating the stroke is from your core. It’s a personal preference sort of thing though at the end of the day.

Go to and click on paddle. All you would and should know before buying.

hmmm… Hadn’t considered
Do you know of good vendors with reasonable shipping rates? There isn’t much around where I live (New Mexico).

here’s a couple I like.

– Last Updated: May-01-08 4:49 PM EST –

Ron Steinwall of Novorca Paddles ( is based in Minneapolis and he ships paddles. He harges $160 + s/h for his standard wooden paddles.

Don Beale is located in Oregon and also ships paddles ( I believe he charges $!95 + s/h.

I've used paddles from both Ron and Don and I'm a big fan of both paddlemakers.

Bill Will Make One For You

Werner Camano
I have several Werner paddles. They have excellent craftmanship, a great feel, and as far as I have seem so far are indestructable (well not really nothing is).

A complicated decision
And you will probably change your mind several times over your paddling career. The issues are many. Greenland paddle vs. so called Europaddle. What material? What length? What feather angle? Which blade shape and size? On and on. In my own case I have large blade Lendal paddles with adjustable feather (set at zero) at 210 cm. I am also having a Greenland paddle built. So, just buy something credible. Your list is fine. Every time you go out borrow paddles from everyone with you. Take some risk and order a different paddle. If it sucks, sell it. Maybe 15 years down the road you will know. Probably not. Good luck.

I am not going to comment on your …
paddle choices, since I have my favorite and they are differnt from what you listed, but I will comment on your “high angle vs. low angle”

On your fifty miler you might want to stay with the low angle, since you probably won’t be looking for speed and because you are not used to it.

If you were looking for speed, the high angle is a must, but it is something you have to train up to.

If you can afford it get a adjustable length paddle. Then as you change your angle you can adjust the length to fit.





And don’t forget Pat
Makes some sweet ONNO paddles that are light and adjustable for about $250 or so. And he frequents these boards.

His paddles are much higher quality than his web site. (no offense Pat)


REI sale
The Camano on sale at REI doesn’t qualify for the membership rebate. Same is probably true for the other paddles you mentioned in your post. Check it out before placing an order. It’s still a good price but no member discount.

Paddle selection
check out Greenland style paddles before making an investment. They are easy on the body, hands, shoulders. You can easily skull with it and it is easier to roll with than a euro addle. Check out you can’t beat the quality and price with a euro paddle.

Campmore has Stingray on sale.

My brother has one and it is a fine paddle.

I have a sting ray
and it has worked well on long trips (~15 miles).

I talked to Pat today about the ONNO Full Tour and he indicated it will be about 4oz lighter and have more bite and less flutter than the sting ray.

It also has infinite feather adjustments and about 15cm of length adjustment, so you can get a 205cm to 220cm paddle. I will probably go with 210 to 225 because my SOT rides pretty high out of the water.

A 50 mile trip seems a bit ambitious for anyone that is not a frequent paddler. You should probably at least do a few 5 to 15 mile trips beforehand to make sure you are ready.


I use a Windswift by Eddyline
as my main paddle. 210cm, small blade. Great for long distance days with plenty of power and bracing.

Good point
You make a good point. I am actually doing two practice trips in the 10-20 mile range. e are doing the 50 miles of 7 days, so its about 8 miles a day (not to bad).

For some reason I thought
you said 50 miles in a weekend trip. 8 miles a day isn’t bad at all, you can take it pretty easy and still have time to setup camp and get that fire going.

Let us know what oaddle you get and how you like it.