Kayak Paddle Selection

I’m still a beginner, I’ve gone through a couple of basic courses and can do self re-entry and T rescue. Up to now I’ve only been in protected flat water. That changed with my latest class this past weekend, paddling into a flood and head wind and returning with tailwind and following sea. 15 knot wind and, I’d guess a three foot sea or less on Tomales Bay.

I’ve reviewed the Brent Reitz DVD and refer back to it after nearly every paddle to sharpen my stroke, the teacher at the last class gave me high marks for paddle technique.

On the flat water, I’ve been gravitating to shorter and shorter paddles, I have three that I consider too long one with what seems to be a standard blade shape, one that is long and narrow and one suitable only for emergency use, probably for whacking a shark…

What seems to fit me and the two boats I paddle best is a 215 that happens to be the standard blade shape.

On the Saturday paddle, either up wind or down, i found that the blade was out of the water a lot, usually because a wave was carrying the bow (or stern) up leaving me reaching for the trough.

With the preliminaries out of the way, what I want to know is:

What is the long, narrow blade for?

Is a paddle that is proper length for flat water the same one you would choose when on the rougher stuff?

How much of a compromise is paddle length?

thanks for your time


Look here

I am very tall and use a 206 for WW.
That 206 feels fine in my touring kayak also, but I’m sure in a reaching-for-the-troughs situation, it might be short, so I got a 215 cm Prijon.

If you picked up high angle habits from the Brent Reitz program, a 215 should be close enough to right for you. You just need to practice adjusting to peaks and troughs. You know, it is possible to pause, or reach a bit to get the wave rather than the trough.

Long blades, like those on a 240 Werner Camano I have, are associated with low angle paddling style. When one needs to reach way down, one just brings the paddle up to a high angle temporarily.