Is my paddle too short?

Drip rings.

– Last Updated: Apr-17-15 10:45 AM EST –

You said you had done some adjusting of the drip rings. Most often what I see is the drip rings too far down the shaft. They should never touch the water when you are paddling.

Your hand placement should be about shoulder width on the shaft with your arms bent a little at the elbows--forming the paddler's box. Try to at least have some shoulder movement and minimal arm movement as you strive to maintain the integrity of the box. This will cause at least some torso rotation. The pushing hand should never get above the level of your forehead. The pulling hand will take care of itself; just think about pushing the blade that's out of the water.

Sorry I didn’t see this sooner…
I’m not sure I understand the geometry that you’re describing (of the thumbs and elbows), but I fully understand the vertical exit principle. I spent a great deal of time trying to paddle as many different kayaks as possible before I made a purchase. I was careful and as a result, I couldn’t be happier with my boat, but all that time, I wasn’t thinking about the paddle; just concentrating on the boat.

Since then, I’ve been using the “package paddle” that came with the boat. Right now, I’m leaning toward an Aqua Bound Manta Ray (carbon fiber shaft; thumb button lock), but can’t find one to borrow or trial run. I live in the middle of nowhere and there are few stocking stores within 2 hours of me and I don’t have any paddling friends with that paddle. I can borrow a longer paddle from my primary paddling buddy, but his is a package paddle too (No Limits, Thriller? from Academy Sports). I’m not just out to spend a bunch, but I’ve read a lot of advice lately that says to “buy the best paddle you can afford”. I just wish I could try that one before I spend that kind of jack…

A big “Thank You” to you all for your nourishing input. Paddle-on!

In a word; probably
When I was at Placid we used to fit average folk with 230’s in 27.5" wide hulls, but the staff, using more vertical strokes than most usually used 215-220s.

The paddle is more efficient and induces less yaw when the shaft is vertical, which will be difficult to achieve in a 30" hull. The blade is most efficient when +/- 15 dgs or so to vertical. This suggests a very short stroke, isolated from forward of the knee to mid thigh. Carrying the blade further aft reduces force transfer to the water, pitches the hull, bow down, increases drag, and slows cadence. The main advantage of the double blade paddle is higher cadence, so this is three bad things.

Go to a local dealers demo day and try longer paddles, and try a shorter, more vertical stroke.

bon chance

Deep, long
Once the blade is immersed you’re deep enough. Let the blade slide out on the exit instead of digging deep and turning it into a canoe stroke.

That’s a comparison to a canoe stroke?
Based on what you say, you are doing your canoe strokes poorly. Not that it matters to me of course. You can do it any way you choose, but with this piece of advice you are effectively telling others how paddling a canoe is done, when an efficient canoe stroke isn’t done that way at all.

No! You’re Doing Just Fine
Just switch over to a paddle that’s more conducive to your style of paddling: like an Onno Feather or Mid+ paddle. I like the Werner San Juan paddle, but it was discontinued long ago, and only Go Bananas in Hawaii, has what’s left of them in stock. So, if not Onno, go with the newer Werners: Kalliste or Camano? These blades are longer and narrower than the Whisper. And may reduce the drip?

There’s nothing wrong with deep long strokes, for you probably already found out that the blades automatically exit the water, without any effort, after they’ve done their job. So, I agree with you, let the blades do the work. Don’t interrupt what they are doing underwater by taking them out prematurely. Blades are useless out of the water and you’ll go further with less effort by extending the duration of the blades in the water.

Bending Branches is my favorite paddle
With all that is said about paddle length, I find the right size is one that just goes past the tips of my fingers with my arm stretched up and the other blade on the floor.

Paddling is a get wet sport, if you ain’t getting wet, your not learning.