Hey, I would like a little help sizing up a kayak paddle. My fiance is 5 foot and weighs around 96 pounds. Any suggestions as to length and weight of paddle? She is just getting into kayaking with me and we want something light. Thanks!
need more info
Need more info. Type of boat, how she paddles, width of boat, etc.
Werner Paddles (http://www.wernerpaddles.com/fit_guide/index.php) and Epic Paddles (http://www.epickayaks.com/products/paddlewizard) both have sizing guides online.
Can help some
You want the paddle to be as light as possible. Once you are in the light paddles, the blade shapes are more tuned and it’ll matter whether she is likely to paddle with a high or low angle and how wide her boat is. The above reference will be useful in figuring length after that.
That said, you could risk going too long now and having it cut down later. Once you are in the better paddles, the manufacturers will do that. One of the all-purpose paddles that tend to be good starters are the ones made by Aquabond with a white blade and a lightweight black shaft. For the price point, these are very decent paddles.
I have one more thing… many new paddlers tend to go low angle, partly because they haven’t developed the habit of rotation and tend to arm paddle. If you are planning to go for lessons right off, you’ll probably be shown a higher angle stroke with more torso rotation because it is long term healthier on the joints. If a lesson is in your near future, hold off on getting a paddle until you’ve been thru that and gotten a better sense of length etc. You’ll find that the lightest paddles are quite pricey, so if she falls in love with one of them you want to be sure you at least got close.
beginner kayak paddle
She would be paddling either an Ocean Kayak Frenzy or an Old Town Otter.
She has been kayaking only once, with me, but wants to do more (thank God). I’ve been kayaking for 20 plus years, and I don’t want to scare her by getting too technical. Just a good, all around, comfortable paddle. We would be on mostly the Namekagon River in NW Wisconsin. I really appreciate your help.
Price is not a huge factor, but it is somewhat. I recognize the advantages of quality equipment.
After you use the paddle sizing calculators mentioned above, I suggest you check the classifieds here on p-net - there’s a few really nice paddles there right now (e.g. that Skagit looks good). When I introduced my wife to paddling, I made sure she used a standard paddle for an hour, then gave her my very lightweight AT Exception crankshaft which is now ‘hers’. Luckily I have a GP to fall back on.
Consider Small Shaft Paddle
Based on the height and weight info you provided, I would guess she has small hands, too. Werner (perhaps others)have an option of a small diameter paddle shaft which is easier/less tiring to hold. I am 5 ft 3, and use a Werner Shuna, fiberglass blade. I second the advice of getting a lesson and rying a few paddles before deciding what to buy.
Consider adjustable feather
Many experienced paddlers here use zero feather. For someone starting out it is easier to learn. She may decide to keep zero feather or change to a feathered paddle as she gains experience. In either event she will be in a position to choose.
In a pinch,you can use her for a paddle.
Feather by ONNO
I have one that I generally have my wife or some quest paddlers use. It’s light (carbon fiber), flutter free, and a very easy paddle to pull through the water. Nothing like my wing paddle. Patrick can make one in any size, a two piece adjustable with infinite feather adjustment as well.
light, low angle.
Low weight is important for any paddle, but especially for smaller people’s paddles. Getting a lightweight paddle for my petite wife made all the difference for her paddling ease and enjoyment. (I got her a 205cm Werner Shuna small-shaft).
For the boat’s you mention (an wide recreational kayak and a sit on top) your wife will probably want a low-angle paddle, as high angle style is not really possible in such wide boats, especially for a small paddler. Consider something like a Werner Camano. You can sometimes find them for about $200 on sale. Use the paddle sizing function on the www.wernerpaddles.com site.