Need input re paddle selection

I am going to be paddling my Zephyr sea kayak at times in local rivers which will involve both up and downstream paddling in moderate/strong current and some class 1 and 2 drops here and there. I’m considering purchasing a white water paddle for this paddling rather than beating up my nice touring paddle or GP.

Also, I expect that I will end up with a white water boat down the road and so if it can be done I would like to buy a paddle that would be useful in both boats. The rivers I paddle are generally good sized rivers, not creeks.

I’m 5’10". The Werner site is suggesting a 197 CM.

Any suggestions about this?

I just got an Aquabound 200cm 4 piece
The Aquabound Shred paddle blades are very durable. I’m 5’10" and I like 200 cm which had to be special ordered. If I had to do it again I might go to 205. My Greenland is about 218 I think and my Euro sea paddle is about 213 or 215.

The shorter blade is really better for surfing and close maneuvering but when I’m really trying to make time I don’t think I completely submerge the blade on the catch unless I shorten the stroke.

I ordered my Custom length 4 piece from Tom at and I think it was at my house in about a week. The 4 piece is a great spare for any trip as well.

I could spend days talking and writing about paddles and I have here:

I am maybe an inch taller than you
For years, I used a 202 or 203 cm long paddle for whitewater and still frequently do.

As whitewater kayaks got shorter, so did the paddles. You didn’t need as long a shaft to get the blade out toward the end of the boat for control and steering strokes, and the shorter, lighter paddle was quicker to windmill around for certain acrobatic maneuvers.

But if you aren’t going to be doing a lot of fancy play boating you can use a longer paddle if you wish and it will probably suit you better for use with a touring boat.

Werner site is probably right
I am 5’10" and regularly use a 194. I have used longer paddles in the 200/205 range for short periods and really don’t like them that long. Be aware that a WW paddle is typically shorter than a touring paddle because of the higher stroke angle.

For WW stay with under 200cm
If you do plan to use that on a WW boat for more serious WW I think you need under 200cm. I have 2 paddles that I use on ww with my seakayak: the WW Werner Desperado in 200cm and the touring Cyprus in 215. The shorter one I also use with a WW playboat. The longer one works better if I want to cover some distance and also to surf some large smooth waves - being considerably lighter does make a difference in how tired I am at the end. Being longer is better for a forward stroke efficiency in the sea kayak so it is easier to just paddle with it. It is fine for light WW too.

The shorter Desperado is better if I anticipate I would be rolling in rather turbulent water a lot - being shorter allows me to maneuver it faster under and over water. I also use it if I expect to paddle near rocks in situations when I would rather make it than avoid hitting the paddle and not making it through-:wink: basically, I push off rocks with it, bang the bottom, etc.

I’ve been looking at the composite WW paddles and as much as I’d like to get one for the added buoyancy and more solid catch (the plastic bends a bit), they are actually heavier and 3x more expensive. They are strong I’m sure, but if hit repeatedly on rocks they will get chips more so than the plastic gets dings and I imagine I would be trying to baby the paddle rather than enjoy my time on the water.

Both of these paddles are 2 piece. I was worried about the Desperado being 2 piece for hard use, but there seems to be not much of an issue - still holding-up fine after 3 years of use and it is probably the one piece of gear that I have not sold to replace with something better over time (and I’m not known to hold onto the same gear for long if I see an advantage to change it for something else -:wink:

Some of us old guys
did a heck of a lot of rolling in whitewater back in the 1990s with paddles longer than 200 cm.

The difference in overall length between a 197 cm and a 202 cm paddle is less than 2 inches, or less than 1 inch per side. We aren’t talking about a huge difference here.

how long is your touring paddle?
How long is your touring paddle? I suspect you may find that the people running the sub-200 whitewater paddles also run relatively short paddles for touring (210-215).

If you are currently running longer than this, you may also want to consider being a little longer for your white water paddle.

My touring paddle

– Last Updated: Mar-10-12 11:49 PM EST –

is adjustable - but generally I set it at about 208 and that seems to work for me. That is my euro paddle. I also have a GP - I think it is 86? Not 100% sure.