Hello, I picked up a used Hornbeck 10.5’ ft. canoe and 245cm paddle used last year as a package deal. This is my first canoe/kayak, so I am a definitely beginner. I used the canoe/paddle quite a bit last year and can tell it’s a bit small for me. I am about 6’2" and 220 lbs, and have been using the canoe exclusively on lakes. I am trying to decide between a either a 260 or 280cm paddle. None of the stores around here even stock anything bigger than a 240cm, so this will be mail order and I am hoping to get the size right on the first order hopefully. I am really tempted to order a 280cm paddle but am wondering if anybody had tried this, and had an opinion?
Why does the 245 seem too short?
Reason 245cm is too short
I feel that I could have a more natural/comfortable arm/paddle movement w/ a longer paddle. It seems as though I am either keeping the paddle really close to my body and the center of the boat, while having a pretty steep angle as the paddle enters the water. Or, I have to swing my arms/paddle out really far, and use a very shallow stroke. A little longer paddle might get me a more comfortable range of motion?
wrong boat for you
I have paddled the Lost Pond at 50 lbs less than you and the boat is simply too small for you. You are sunk pretty low. That Lost Pond has to be a beast to turn with its cheeks and sharp long double stems ( bow and stern)
Your weight dictates about a 12 foot boat for adequate freeboard.
Now as to paddle length. Why do you feel the 245 is too short? It well may be but you did not say why you thought it was.
canoe too small
I understand what you are saying about the boat being too small for me. It does seem sluggish, compared to other paddlers I have seen moving around quicker than me. I feel that I could have a more natural/comfortable arm/paddle movement w/ a longer paddle. It seems as though I am either keeping the paddle really close to my body and the center of the boat, while having a pretty steep angle as the paddle enters the water. Or, I have to swing my arms/paddle out really far, and use a very shallow stroke. A little longer paddle might get me a more comfortable range of motion?
As you have the boat
and I hope you have been happily married a while…
Clean out the closet and take the the closet rod for a paddle ( if its longer than 245 cm). Paddle with it. and measure the distance between the two wet spots. That is your shaft length.
Then research blade lengths . Go to a lot of double blade websites and ask them the SHAFT length. Its not normally mentioned on their websites but is something they ought to be able to answer.
closet rod test
I'll have to give that a try. I did some google searches to help determine what length of paddle to choose. I found some canoe paddle charts, but was wondering how useful they would be as the hornbeck seems like more of a canoe/kyak hybrid?
its a pack canoe
its very commonly found in the Adirondacks
You might consider calling Peter at Hornbeck Boats. Its a family business so you will be talking to the people in the know for sure
I did actually call them this morning. Extremely friendly/helpful customer service. I didn’t actually speak to Peter. The gentleman I did speak to said he had gone from using a 240 paddle for about a year, to a 260cm, and really noticed the difference. As far as the 280 he said he didn’t know of anybody who had ever tried anything longer than the 260, so he couldn’t comment on that. Really nice guy, told me some of the history of the company etc.
The longer the paddle, the more stress
you are putting into your body.
I am also paddling a Hornbeck 10’6" Lost Pond. I’m a bit shorter than you (5-10), but once my Sheltie hops in the back, we are at or even a bit higher than your weight.
I’m using the 260cm paddle I bought with the Lost Pond (a Hornbeck-branded Grey Owl Tempest). This paddle is intended to be used with a low angle stroke. Doing so helps reduce the water dripping back into the boat, and it works quite well. The longer length helps permit use of a low angle stroke given the beam of the canoe and since you are sitting in the bottom of the canoe. Your height may permit you to use the shorter 245cm paddle, but I would NOT go as long as the 280; I think you will find the 260 long enough.
Yes, a more vertical paddle stroke is more efficient. Yes, there are faster boats that carry more. But at slower speeds, the Hornbeck paddles with only a very modest effort, and I think you will be surprised how little yaw there is with each stroke, and how seaworthy it can be. Lily-dip with pride!
Lots of great insight there. The hornbeck.com site backs up your statement about paddle length “Our experience and the experience of thousands of other paddlers (this is no exaggeration) has shown that small canoes with beam widths of approximately 30” work best with paddles that are 250 to 260 cm in length." I’m sure I would notice improvement with a 260cm paddle. My novice mind questions if it’s worth spending the $ on a paddle that is only 3" longer on each side. I guess the only way to find out is to try one out, and thats what I will probably end up doing. Thanks to everybody for the help, I appreciate it.
length. weight, etc
As the paddle gets longer the stroke becomes more horizontal and less efficient. It also becomes more tiring as blade weight is cantilevered further from the paddler's body. With vertical strokes the floatation of well faired paddle blades float the paddles weight, as the stroke becomes more horizontal blade weight is increasingly cantilevered from the paddler's body. The easy solution is a lighter paddle. AT, Onno, Werner carbon sticks are the gold standard and priced accordingly. The key is to eschew injection molded blades; they locate paddle/blade weight as far as possible from the paddler for maximum dysfunction. Better to have a wood or FG shaft with light, FG or carbon blades than a carbon shaft and Injected blades.
I suspect 280 is too long for just about anyone, 260 seems about the right size for flared pack canoes. Raising the seat a little to ancrease clearance might also make that 240 work better.
Another solution is acquiring a pack canoe with tumblehomed sides, allowing shorter paddles with more vertical strokes, but that is a limited field; Mad River, Old Town , Placid  and Swift , three of those builders making premium hulls, the other one's offering too heavy for intended use.
Going w/ 260cm
Well, thanks again for all the helpful responses. My mind kept telling me to get the 280cm, despite all the help here. So today I took two plastic canoe paddles and duct taped them to an expandable aluminum paint roller handle. It was definitly heavier than any paddle on the market (I am guessing), but I was able to try out an approximation of both a 260 and 280 cm paddle. I have to tell you all the advice here was spot on. Lots of yaw with the 280cm, while 260 felt a lot smoother/natural. Now I just need to figure out witch brand/model of paddle to get. I'm leaning towards the bending branches impression solo paddle (wood 44oz) or the BB slice glass solo (fiberglass 39oz). Anybody have a personal favorite solo canoe paddle, or advice in general to offer? Thanks again for all your time and efforts!
You’re not looking for a single stick
are you? Generally canoe paddles are single blade
You actually are paddling with a double blade extra long paddle.
Get the lightest you can afford. Both those you mentioned are heavy but might be all you can find in a 260.
Fox Worx make a 32 oz paddle at an affordable price
Looks like an interesting option there. Similar in price to the bending branches I was looking at, and a bit lighter too. Your question about solo vs. single stick paddle, I am looking for solo/kayak style paddle for the hornbeck.