I need a bigger paddle with more torque for my 240 pound self on my Jackson Journey 14

Okay I have been out Kayaking for some time now. I am a very strong paddler…I mean very strong as I am a weight lifter and can handle paddling hard. I paddle pretty much nonstop for 3 hours sometimes…I have to paddle fast and pretty much non stop if I really want to get moving…I use 2 forms of paddling even rotating my torso.

These past 2 Weeks I have been going out into the Lake and where I am located we have plenty of fronts that come through. No problem I just paddle through it against waves/winds and all.

Here is my problem…my current paddle is not strong enough to push my 240 pound body around as fast as I would like and I can actually see the paddle itself flutter and make creaking noises once I really crank it in the Lake…it makes me nervous. I am a high paddler but my current paddle (Aquabound Sting Ray Hybrid) is just too small to handle the power I push into it. The length of 230cm is perfect but again the paddle just does not have the power needed for me and I have to paddle way to much to move the way I want to.

I am thinking of purchasing the larger “Manta Ray” carbon paddle from Aquabound as the paddles are larger and supposedly add more torque per stroke for heavier paddlers like myself who love venturing out into the Lake even when the winds pick up a bit…man talk about a nice rush of endorphins being out there in the Lake with waves crashing all around ya with my spray skirt on. I love it. I even jump some waves…lean back on the way down a high wave and put my Jackson Journey14 right through another wave. This is a great kayak for this kind of stuff.

Even on calm waters I still need something with more torque…will the “Manta Ray Carbon” paddle make that much of a difference? I hope so because again even on calmer waters I really have to do plenty of paddling to get myself moving…and again I am 240 pounds kayaking in a Jackson Journey 14…not the lightest kayak in the World but still I would think a bigger paddle would make a difference.

So again I need a paddle with MUCH more TORQUE for BOTH CALM and ROUGH WATERS. :slight_smile: Sorry for the caps I am just trying to stress how serious I am about needing this extra torque. I hope the “Manta Ray Carbon” paddle is enough to make this difference I really do not want to spend more than $200.00

One great thing from all this paddling is I am becoming extremely ripped in my arms forearms and even abs…but no Kayaker should have to paddle as hard and fast as I do just to get moving decently…

Thanks in advance.

I think if you are really paddling with as much effort as you say, you must be pushing your speed up into the range where you are wasting huge amounts of energy for very little gain. Do you understand the concept of hull speed, and how as you get closer and closer to the virtual speed limit for your particular hull, that the amount of effort you exert will increase in exponential fashion relative to each additional increment (on a linear scale) of speed? You can’t simply paddle twice as hard and go twice as fast, or even 1 and 1/8th as fast if your initial speed was already “pushing it”. A lot of beginners are fooled into paddling really hard because it feels like the results are worth it, but it’s actually very difficult to judge speed and degrees of increase in speed (I was one of those people, way back when). The bigger wake and additional splashing do a lot to distort one’s perception of how much faster they are really going.

I believe that racers are more likely to take advantage of wing paddles to get more from each stroke than by using unusually large blades, but I could be wrong and I’ll leave that to those who race. What I can recommend is that you take a GPS with you and pay close attention to how much you gain in speed, especially once you feel like you are “really moving” and then you double your effort. I think you’ll be shocked at how little your increase in speed really is, in comparison to that doubled effort.

I’m not saying you can’t benefit from larger blades, as you likely can. Way back before I learned to single-blade a solo canoe properly, I switched from an expensive kayak paddle to a cheap Mohawk paddle because I felt like I needed a larger blade. Just the same, I am pretty sure you are expecting more from a larger blade specifically, and from extremely high amounts of effort in general, than you will probably get.

I get what you are saying…well sort of…but it is not only about speed…when I am in wavy conditions it just feels as if I would benefit from a larger paddle for correcting the Kayak in the waves etc.

If I paddle slower and more efficiently…which I actually was doing when I first started Kayaking…the Kayak would move just too slow for me I mean I am trying to understand what you are saying believe me but I think I really need a bigger paddle…believe me…when I paddle at a slower more efficient pace I am going slow…then when I put more into the paddle the speed really cranks up…I have many witnesses watching me telling me I really seem to put on the nitrous kit when I start paddling hard. I also have people saying (I think you need a bigger paddle) but some of these people do not even kayak they are just going by what they see when I am Kayaking.

You would have to see me out in the water and the Lake to see what I am talking about. You may be right…but if buying a bigger paddle does not make too much in a difference…at least I’ll have something to give me more torque for maneuvering through harsh waves when I am in higher wind situations and I guess it would not hurt to have an extra paddle.

Try a faster cadence with shorter strokes before you decide to switch paddles. You may want to rethink length though. 230 is long for a high angle stroke, I suspect that part of the creaking you are getting is because the paddle is in the water past the point where the blade is doing its most efficient work.

@Celia said:
Try a faster cadence with shorter strokes before you decide to switch paddles. You may want to rethink length though. 230 is long for a high angle stroke, I suspect that part of the creaking you are getting is because the paddle is in the water past the point where the blade is doing its most efficient work.

I’ll try this…our weather really sucks so hopefully I can get to Kayak at least once this Week. :slight_smile: …and yes the creaking noise is without a doubt the paddle being too low in the water because this only happens when I am around big waves and I need to practice my paddling in the larger waves as well. It just seems like this is how I remembered myself paddling when I first started not long ago(faster cadence shorter strokes)…and I felt the need to have to crank harder to get to a more desired speed and add torque to move around…and maintain my desired speed without having to paddle so much faster with shorter strokes. I could be wrong so I will try this method the next time I get in my Kayak.

I did say I am a high angle stroke paddler but I kind of exaggerated that so I guess as of now I am a mid paddler and just have a habit of pulling too high when I get in high waves.

I still would like to feel what it is like Kayaking with a larger paddle. I prefer to just push harder with longer strokes allowing me to have to paddle less… but may have to start lifting my paddle and going with shorter strokes for a while.

…never thought paddling would be so difficult. :wink:

BTW I have never Kayaked in a River as of yet and I am sure that would be so much different than being out in the open waters and especially the Lake. I would imagine maintaining speed in a River to be easier.

Another thing to consider is that a shorter paddle will actually provide more “push” relative to your effort, and you will feel the difference. When I need to force my canoe through very thick weeds, I switch to a shorter paddle just to get the benefit of the extra force I can exert against the water (and weeds) to help make the boat move. Because of disadvantageous leverage, the force exerted at the location of the blade is less than that which is exerted by your lower hand on the shaft, and the farther the blade is located from that hand, the more the force exerted by the blade is reduced. So, considering what Celia said about that 230 cm length likely being longer than you need, you might benefit from something shorter when it comes to power output too. I’m the last person to ask how you should choose the right length, but I can tell you that back in my double-blade canoeing days, 230 cm was a good length for me. I used a very high-angle stroke, and I’m fairly tall and I was kneeling which positioned me even higher. Sitting low to the water as one does in a kayak, it’s hard for me to believe that 230 cm would be a good length even for a tall person, even though some people with a large or robust build actually “sit taller” than one would expect because of the extra padding they have. Even for “mid-angle” paddling, I’m not imagining that your boat is wide enough to justify that length. Again, just keep this thing in mind about disadvantageous leverage that goes with extra length until someone provides expert advice on choosing the right length for you.

As to the length of your paddling stroke, consider that the stroke is most efficient within a rather short range of motion, and outside that range, you will be wasting energy by not directing your propulsive power exactly parallel to the axis of the boat. When outside of that most-efficient range of motion, the force you exert against the water will be misaligned not only horizontally, but vertically too. Watch racers and you will see that they do not use long strokes, and racers know what works best for generating the most speed for the least effort. You are correct, though, that a larger blade will allow you to make more abrupt corrections, etc. In the canoeing world, whitewater paddles have bigger blades, partly for that reason (another reason is that it can be difficult to “get traction” in water that has lots of air bubbles mixed in).

I really appreciate all these comments. I believe the width is 24.5" on the Jackson Journey 14.

I guess I should have mentioned that I have only Kayaked in sort of bad weather where fronts were always coming in that I would sort of have to fight. It would be so much easier for me to learn how to paddle if I can manage to find a good day when the waters are calm and have no wind to fight. These past few Weeks have been kinda bad for us. Supposedly we may have another Week of fronts and then much better weather afterwards. I am 5’11" and was recommended the 230cm from a kayak specialist from backcountry.
I am going to try paddling with a much shorter range of motion and see if this makes a difference…and again hopefully our weather gets better soon.
Thanks again.

This is pretty much spot on how I paddle straight…right around minute 2:15

I mean yes I do get moving but maybe it is our weather I am fighting that makes me really have to crank up on my pulling power in order to keep a decent momentum. I just thought a bigger paddle would make a big difference with all that but I still need to get back in the Kayak and learn much much more about everything.

One thing which nobody seems to have mentioned:
Making the blade “bite” in the water is something which takes a lot of practice. It is not only a question of blade angle but also the direction you pull the blade through the water and the way you put force onto the paddle.

If you watch the video below, you will hear him saying that whenever somebody ask for a larger blade to get more bite, he gives them a smaller blade instead. His reasoning is that if a paddler feels too little bite, it is usually because they are too weak to keep the posture which gives most bite.

In your case, you are probably not too weak, but you may still have the bad posture or other bad technique which prevents you from getting optimal bite, and you may want to work on that first. The fluttering is to me a clear sign of bad technique. I have been fighting that myself too - after getting a larger paddle (Werner Ikelos 710 cm²) - but the video has helped me immensely.

Regarding length, I agree with what was said in this thread. A 230 cm paddle is really long. With this paddle you will either have to be very high or have to use a very low angle stroke. I am 183 cm (exactly 6 foot) tall and use a 210 cm paddle with a high angle stroke.

Some introduction to the video:
I will recommend this video to everyone. It is 1 hour and 20 minutes, and it is only about the forward paddling stroke. A lot of different aspects are covered, including some real eye openers to me. The coach in the video is the former world champion Ivan Lawler. I really like the way he explains and demonstrates the effect of small changes and the way he actively uses his audience for demonstration.

Be aware that the video is about competition paddling with a wing paddle. Almost everything in the video can be transferred to a sea kayak using a euro paddle like yours. But you will probably find that you will need to stretch your upper arm more to get the optimal paddling stroke because your kayak is wider than a competition kayak. Also, you will probably not be able to make as much butt rotation as he does, but will instead have to rely mostly on upper torso rotation.


To make efficient use of your power you need to minimize “wave making”, which occurs particularly as one approaches a speed approximately proportional to the square root of twice the waterline length, and is also greater if the kayak has a greater beam. You are putting a high level of power into a kayak designed to be used efficiently at a lower power input. This can be frustrating. Imagine a Daytona 500 engine put in a Dodge Ram 3500 truck. The power of the engine would not be effectively deployed because of the aerodynamic shape and the weight of the truck and the different RPMs for efficient torque and power output. There would be a “mismatch”.
I believe you would be happier, if in less rough conditions, with a longer, slimmer kayak, so that you could deploy your power efficiently to propel the kayak, rather than generate waves. However, if you want responsiveness and performance in extreme rough water, such as surf and tide races, then a 14 foot kayak, very carefully designed and developed over years for such conditions, such as Brian Schultz’s F1 :http://www.capefalconkayak.com/f1.html would be great.
You could end up like many of us, owning a range of kayaks for differing conditions.
A larger paddle blade would just generate greater bow waves, and lead to greater frustration and possible wrist and shoulder RSI.
Nick (of www.cnckayaks.com)

Yes I will no doubt have more Kayaks in the future but for now I am just making the best out of my Jackson Journey 14. It handles waves great and is an overall decent Kayak and tough. I prefer a higher paddle angle stroke even using my 230cm paddle I currently have. I’ll just have to figure it out the more I get in the water with the Kayak.

This is my very first Kayak…so in a way this will be the Kayak (and gear setup) I currently have to teach me what I will want in the future for Kayaking. I definitely know my next kayak will be longer…but for now I will be sticking with Journey 14 for a while…it looks like I may have to buy a shorter paddle like mentioned up top from another poster here like a 210…that may suit my natural tendency to paddle with a higher angle stroke which feels so much more natural to me me.

I am not going to lie…I am stressing really hard. Just a few Months ago I saw a cheap Kayak at Dick’s Sporting Goods and that was enough for me…a cheap $200.00 recreational Kayak just to paddle along in…but the more I researched the more I wanted out of a Kayak and now Kayaking has become a serious thing to me. It just amazes me how involved I have become in the Kayaking scene in such a short time and especially suffering hard from OCD I really need to calm down and just slow down here…I mean really it gets me so bad sometimes I do not know what is going to happen to me. I just get overwhelmed. Now my paddle is too long? I just cannot get a break…I love you guys/galz for your replies I guess I was just expecting a simple answer…and well it seems as if nothing is simple in life anymore but that is just the way it is. Again I just need to tell myself this is my first Kayak setup…use it and enjoy it and make notes of what I would prefer the Kayak to be able to do and what qualities I like/hate about it and use that information to put towards my next Kayak setup. I am guessing my next Kayak I’ll have in 6 to 8 Months or maybe less if I find a nice used one. I guess I should try and enjoy this whole process and look at it like an experiment…only with perks such as fun cardio in the waters and not to mention I am out of the house more on the waters! :slight_smile: and I just realized I have not taken this out to any of our rivers or swamp areas (not going to until it cools down a little) and that is where I would probably prefer a much slower Kayaking experience. So it all really depends on where I will be Kayaking to decide what paddle to use etc.

Yes more Kayaks in the future. :wink:

My initial intentions were to go out into the calm waters of the Lake and just relax…then I start Kayaking and start realizing that as much as I love going far out there I also enjoy the adrenaline rush and challenge of the harsh waves brought on by our winds…the thrill is incredible. I never thought I would really enjoy that sort of Kayaking but at least I do know I have a Kayak that can handle some pretty rough Lakes. I tend to be very competitive in everything I get myself involved in. I want to move to Utah so bad so I can start doing some white water Kayaking…now that looks like so much fun…for now I’ll just deal with our rough winds and harsh Lake waves brought on by the winds for that kind of thrill…then of course…still have those days when the winds and water are calm and I can just Kayak way out into the Lake and just…Relax. :slight_smile:

One way to manage directional control in waves is to drop a useful edge as they go under you, after a while it gets automatic. That reduces the amount of work you are putting on the blade. Obviously easier in a skinnier kayak where you are fit in more tightly, but you may be big enough to manage some of that in the Journey. I do this a lot - going for lots of energy saving in my old age.

I didn’t spot whether the video includes pedaling to help rotation, if not it does help.

Often first fix is to lean a bit forward and get the blade into the water further ahead of you than your normal habit. If that seems to add a lot of bite to the stroke, you need to get your seating position more erect.

Kayaking can be simple enough, but you have added speed and cardio work to the equation. Like most sports, asking for higher performance means more technique and fancier gear.

@Celia said:
I didn’t spot whether the video includes pedaling to help rotation, if not it does help.

Oh, it has more pedaling than most of us will be able to do in a sea kayak. He actually shows how almost the entire upper torso rotation should come from rotating the butt, not from twisting the spine. This means that the legs will actively move the body and not just transfer the paddle force to the pedals (the latter being what many of us do in a sea kayak).

This type of body rotation is what they do in competition speed kayaking (sorry, I don’t know the English word for that type of kayaking), but it requires a rather different kayak setup than a typical sea kayak. That is what I wrote in my previous post that a sea kayaker will have to use less butt rotation and more upper torso rotation.

You do know that a 14’ kayak, with a waterline length probably closer to 13’, and a hull that creates quite a bit of drag, will have a maximum speed of maybe 5.5 mph? Even if King Kong was paddling any more effort after that theoretical maximum would just result in the kayak trying to climb up its own bow wave.

Certainly a paddle with a larger blade area will give you more control and acceleration but I doubt that it will make you faster. Concentrate on form and efficiency and take a forward paddling lesson from a good instructor.

I also question that you’re using a 230. I’m a 6’0" high angle paddler and I use a 210. Putting too much paddle in the water will definitely cause flutter. You really want the shortest paddle that still enables you to sink all of the blade.

While I like Aquabound paddles - I have a Sting Ray as a spare - look at Werner’s Corryvreckan if you want a larger blade. It’s a little more than your budget but its 112 sq in blade is larger than a Manta Ray’s 105 (and a Sting Ray’s 91). And Werner makes a terrific paddle.

Finally, if speed is really what you’re after then get yourself the longest surfski you can find and a wing blade.

As mentioned above, technique is everything. It’s really easy to have the idea that you are paddling with good technique, but the reality is you could very well be missing some key points. That’s the reason those that race spend such an inordinate amount of time on stroke analysis.
Before you go out and drop your hard earned cash on a new and potentially wasted purchase that could do more harm to your shoulders and technique–you should have others evaluate if you really do have as good of a stroke as you think. The fact that you are using a blade set at 230 is a possible indication you may be off on your assessment.
Post up a video on here of your technique and let’s have a look. I’m pretty sure we have some folks that could offer up a truthful evaluation.
It will take out the guesswork for you and could save you a lot of trouble in the long run.

What stands out to me in your first message is
One great thing from all this paddling is I am **becoming extremely ripped in my arms forearms** and even abs.....

While good rotation will work your abs, your forearms should hardly be working. If your forearms are active, then your technique is suspect. In a powerful stroke your arms are little more than just linkages to the power comes from your legs and core. Stressing forearms and biceps usually indicates a lot of arm paddling.

Here’s a test, when you start your stroke does your lower arm start to bend almost immediately at the elbow? If so, then you’re “arm paddling”. This won’t provide the durable power that using your larger muscles will, through more rotation, leg drive, etc.

The link that Allan posted is an exceptional one (but will take multiple viewings to fully comprehend) and will help you understand that longer strokes and just having a bigger blade won’t make you go faster by themselves. If you get a chance, have a good coach look at your stroke.


Dude, my advice is to set your sights on a longer boat and until then, just relax a little and work on making your paddling more efficient and comfortable. No matter how solid you are, you could hurt yourself with the wrong technique. Paddling of course is repetitive motion and at some point, repeating a motion that is not natural to your body is likely to strain something.

You talk about pulling the paddle and that is only half of the effort and that half comes naturally. What I think is every bit as important is the pushing part. You push on the blade that is out of the water, but you push by locking your arm and rotating your torso, or your whole body a little. I wouldn’t get hung up on too high an angle–especially with that 230 paddle. Over the years, I have gradually lowered my pushing hand to where it is no higher than about eye level, but it might get a little higher when I step up the pace.

You mentioned that you sometimes go non-stop for three hours… Try that for six, or more hours and you will be making some adjustments. Instead of making it a frantic struggle, try to make it a smooth, graceful motion and work with the water and the boat.

The reason my forearms got a workout was because before I learned how to use my core and not arm paddle it took me a little while to figure out that I should not be arm paddling…but my forearms developed quite quick from this. I am not looking for more speed my speed is fine…I am looking to not have to paddle as much to maintain that speed…and yes I do push on the blade that is out of the water…this technique has now become second nature to me. Also…the Journey 14 is bigger but so am I…so I fit perfect in it and do not move around at all. I like how my legs lock up just right against the thigh pads so I use them for extra power…great first Kayak for myself.
I talked with some people and have been talked into a Werner Corryvrecken Fiberglass paddle and perhaps a 220cm or even 215cm. I am beginning to be able to lean more forward but at first that was just a little rough as that is not a natural way of sitting for myself. Thanks again. I do have a much better feeling about the Werner paddle.

I guess I should have pointed out that my main problem here is not my speed…I get up to speed fine but have to paddle more than I would like to keep that speed. I am sure my form is not perfect but I do have it to where I feel fluid and it is indeed a motion where I use my torso and do not curl my arms like I was at first. I would prefer a more aggressive high angle paddle and the werner Coryrvrecken looks like it could be the winner. :slight_smile:

Well, in your first post you said "my current paddle is not strong enough to push my 240 pound body around as fast as I would like " but now your emphasis is more on efficiency.

I don’t think a larger paddle will help you as much as improving your forward stroke will in that regard. A really smooth and efficient forward stroke doesn’t happen overnight; it can take years to get it down correctly. As Greg Stamer says, find a good coach/instructor to analyze what you are doing now.

It also might help you to look up some of former world kayak champion Greg Barton’s YouTube videos. (Greg Stamer has an excellent website and some really good videos too).