J-203, J-193, C-1 Paddle Length Question


I know not another paddle length question… :slight_smile:

I picked up a Wenonah J-193 a couple of months back and a ZRE Power Surge Medium paddle. I am still getting use to the canoe and the paddle and after trying a friends shorter paddle I feel like my 50" ZRE is too long.

I trimmed it down to 48" and temporarily attached the grip. At 48" it feels a bit better but thinking I might go a bit shorter.

I am 5’10" and longer legged and shorter torso. I am just wondering what length paddles everybody is using in these style of boats?



Everyone is not you
These sort of questions are not popularity polls and while interesting your sample size here would be maybe three of varying dimensions and arm and torso length.

Paddle awhile with the length you trimmed it to. Then if you still don’t feel its ok trim conservatively as you know you can’t put it back

Just looking for general info
Yes, I was planning on using at 48" for a while and decide if I want to cut anymore.

I was not really looking for an exact answer on what length paddle I should use but just wanted an idea of what other people are using to get a general ball park. I know body types are different and everybody prefers slightly different lengths.

Thanks for the info.

I am 5’-9" and use a Bent shaft ZRE

– Last Updated: Jun-30-16 5:33 AM EST –

that is 52" in a J-200 and a J-190.

I use the same paddle in our comp Cruiser and our Jensen 17
Needless to say, I am no expert, but that length works good for me.

Jack L

I have a Crozier J200

– Last Updated: Jun-29-16 4:47 PM EST –

I have a Crozier J200, I'm 6'1 and have a 32" inseam for reference. I have 2 ZRE Power Surge Lights as my paddles in 48" and 50.5".

I originally used the 50.5" and wanted a 51" or 52", but as many of the races I compete in are choppy, I lowered the seat pedestal down from 7" off the floor, to 4.5" (a 2.5" reduction in height). With the shorter seat height, the 50.5" feels perfect for me. (also, J boats are completely different with a lowered seat. Much more fun I contend)

I do notice that when I'm tired, or its very choppy, I like the 48" because I can brace a split second faster with it and shorter paddles are a little easier to propel because the fulcrum of your arms is shorter.

I'd be leery to go too much shorter than 48" with a stock seat height J boat, only because you may impair your front of stroke reach. Make sure you are getting full reach and good torso rotation before shortening your paddle.
Since the majority of your power comes in the first 1/3 of your stroke, you want to make sure your paddle is long enough, along with good torso rotation, to get your paddle tip to your toes comfortably and consistently.

As you're doing, paddle with it a week, decide if you like it, cut a half inch off, tape the handle on, paddle with it a week, repeat until you're happy.

Thanks for the great info
You brought up some great points I did not think about.

paddle length
It sounds as if I might have 1-2 inches more torso length than you. I do not have a J boat but when paddling a hard tracking, sit and switch type canoe with a low seat, the shortest bent I will use has an overall length of 48 inches. I do not think I could go shorter. Perhaps you might go an inch shorter?

Get With The Times: Go Telescopic
My Onno Bent Shaft canoe paddle, equipped with an Onno Lever Lock Grip, can be adjusted from 45 inches to 53 inches in length. So depending on water conditions, canoe, seat height, cruising, racing or person, I can adjust the length to any desired length, as long as it’s between 45 - 53 inches. The Onno Lever Lock, which years ago, revolutionized the world of adjustable kayak paddles, works like a charm. Today, SUP paddle makers are using similar lockers on their adjustable paddles too.

Don’t see an Onno
canoe paddle on their site. I have had an Onno double blade for over 10 years.

Does the lever lock get in your way at all when paddling a single blade? Where is the lock located on the paddle?

Good point !
I also have ONNO kayak paddles with the length lock, and I can’t visualize where you would put it on a canoe paddle.

Jack L

Onno Lever Lock

– Last Updated: Jun-30-16 3:23 PM EST –

Is located at the end of the shaft (female), with the ferrule (male) attached to the top hand grip. Simply slide the ferrule into the shaft precisely where you want it, twist the tiny lever down to secure it, and go paddle. No! The Onno Lever Lock does not interfere with the use of the paddle.

Patrick custom made the paddle for me and my daughter, years ago, so both of us could use it anytime with just a quick simple adjustment: one paddle fits all (52" for me and 47" for her).

ps: Go check out the SUP shops to look at or buy their telescopic paddles. I've seen them in Costco and Sam's Club too.

So if one wants "to get with the times"
and wants an adjustable canoe paddle, (not a SUP paddle) where does one get one?

Also I can’t imagine it matching a ZRE weight wise, even if one could get one !

Jack L

Try Kialoa Paddles - Bend Oregon:
Here’s one for the grandkids that’s adjustable from 38" to 48" for $129.00 and weighs 18 oz. with 10 deg. bend: http://www.kialoa.com/kahoolawe-keiki-adjustable-outrigger-paddle.html or a bigger one for $149.00: http://www.kialoa.com/kahoolawe-adjustable-outrigger-paddle.html. Here’s a video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B_iwRLmbpRk.

Sure you can spend $200 more for a ZRE and send it to Patrick to fit a ferrule and locker on it too? But, for the price, these fiberglass paddles are good enough.

Also, ZRE custom
ZRE offers adjustable length shafts for their dragon boat paddles. I bet if you asked, Bob would make you a paddle with an adjustable shaft and the normal grip and blade.

Might be worth asking

adjustment lock
Having a locking lever on the top of the larger diameter shaft tube means you can’t slide your hand along the shaft while changing paddling sides; a very frequent happening using sit and switch.

The weight increase would change the balance of any paddle with essentially a double thickness shaft and the localized weight of the lever lock.

I’ll pass,


X’s 2
jack L