New paddler needs a new paddle...

I am jumping head first into kayaking and need some advice on getting a paddle. Being relatively new to the sport I really haven’t determined what kind of paddling style I have…high angle or low angle? Is one better than the other? or is it all personal preference?

Would you recommend someone just getting into the sport to start with one over the other?

My research on the internet and this forum in particular has me leaning towards getting a Werner Ikelos. I figure I can start there; if I find that it’s not for me I can always get a new low angle paddle.

btw I am 6’5" and pretty athletic and am getting into the sport primarily for fitness. I definately plan on racking up some miles so this is a big consideration.

thanks -ak

High Angle, No More Than 220 CM
Since you already know that you’re in for fitness and not “lilydipping.”

While the first boat generally gets changed in a year or two, A good sized, light paddle will be kept usually until it breaks.


Lots Of Good Ones
The right paddle is very important and is hard to find, or determine. I think the best style of paddling is the one that you are comfortable with. The length of the paddle is determined by the style, the boat, and the person. Many people wind up getting a second or third paddle when starting out. The blade shapes available each offer somethiug differant and the feather is something to consider.

You might start our renting a couple of differant paddles to try and zero in on just what you want.

I started out with a 220cm, then cut it down to 215, then bought a new 210 paddle. I am ready to buy one more paddle now and it will be either a 200 or 205.

Happy Paddling,


215-210 cm
Paddling is counterintuitive and its unlikely you’ll start off with good paddling technique on your own, so take a forward stroke class( or a BCU 2 or 3 star class) as soon as you can ,so that you don’t develop bad habits that need to be broken later.This will in turn help you pick the right paddle for you.

Most paddlers shorten their paddle length as they progress, so you could cut to the chase and get a 210 cm blade, certainly no longer than a 215. Most serious paddlers I know use a 210cm to 205cm paddle. A few paddles (Lendal, Epic) have a length-adjusting feature, which could save you $ in the long run. Of these two, Lendal’s length-adjust mechanism is better, and you can also interchange blades with their four -section paddles.

Paddle Wizard length function
Check out Epic Kayak site, play with the Paddle wizard. It predicted my paddle length well.

As all will say, you need to paddle different boats and paddles. I recommend a mid-sized wing.

If you are committed to kayaking and don’t want to buy and resell lower end boats and paddles, then it’s time to spend big.

For you, the paddle wizard suggests a 218 CM length mid-wing carbon with length lock. $339 to $450. The adjustable length-lock varies from 210 to 220 CM, you may be able to get it from 215 to 225. You can vary the length and angle at will. I have changed mine 4 times in 4 years as my technique changed.

Boat? go composite or carbon, around 18’. QCC would be a great start.

Paddle and boat, $3000.

Agree with the length lock
We have the length lock Epics. Lendel’s may be easier to use over time - I have one that seems particularly sticky and high maintenance but my husband’s has never been as problematic. Regardless both Epic and Lendel are good paddles and have nice blades. I borrowed a friend’s plastic bladed four part Lendel for some rock and surf work this last September and never noticed the diff between that and my usual foam core Epic.

The ability to alter your length as you wish to adjust to changes in your paddling over time is huge. You’ll happy down the road that you did this. Normally someone starting out would balk at the price of these paddles, but if you were already thinking of an Ikelos or similar cost Werner you should look at getting a length lock paddle.

Do you know off hand if Lendel makes

– Last Updated: Dec-09-06 9:45 AM EST –

a small wing?
I have a Epic mid-wing length lock which is fine for any race up to about ten miles, but kills me in longer ones, and I am looking for a smaller one for longer races.
Also can you tell me the difference between Epic's "length lock" feature and Lendal's?


As to part 2
Don’t know enough about Lendel products to know if they make a small wing. Yeah, those Epic blades are powerful - our regular blades are almost to the level of a wing. Great for rolling though.

As to the systems -

Lendel has a screw inside that requires a specific small “key” to tighten - it fits nicely on a string tucked into a PFD pocklet. It’s small. You align the paddle to whatever offset and tighten it up, go in reverse to loosen. I think it also allowed for a continuopus feather adjustment - I know I wanted like 12 or 15 degrees and that’s certainly not going to be a standard hole. Bottom line, if you have to change on the water you are not struggling mecahnically with it and no particular strength or purchase is required.

Epic has an outer ring that has to be tightened or loosened by hand, and when it is an smoothly working one like Jim’s can be handled pretty easily on the water. They have a plastic half circle tool that goes around the outer ring on the paddle that could also be transferred to a PFD but it’s bigger. Most I know just have a rough kitchen wipe that works as well or better.

However, if it is a cranky length lock area like mine we find that, even when I rigorously 303 it after just about every use, by the time I have gotten it properly tightened up I can’t get it loosened up to change, or to switch paddles, on the water. I don’t have enough hand or wrist strength, and usually end up needing help from a guy to do the switch. Jim’s is not so problematical.

I mean, I love the paddle for what it does do and wouldn’t give it up. But the length lock area seems to be more variable between paddles in how smoothly it operates than the Lendel is likely to be.

Hi Jack
A buddy in the club bought the Lendal hybrid. It is a great idea. The power face looks like a euro paddle. The rear like a wing. You can treat it like a euro paddle. It paddles like a wing and flys nicely. It is less powerful than the Mid Wing, which can be very nice. I paddled yesterday into a head wind of thirty plus. It was like climbing a rope. I wished for less power and a 210 (I ordered a 210 adjustable wing from ONNO. Patrick says it is a little less powerful…can’t wait.). The Lendal that I paddled with was a 215 but was longer than Epic’s 215. It really was at least a 220. That Lendal was a bent shalf. It was heavier and cost even more than the Epic’s Mid Wing, which is a lot. I still was very interested. It maybe a paddle to get, just a little heavy and a little expensive.


make it easy for you

– Last Updated: Dec-09-06 10:31 AM EST –

You're going to need a spare paddle.
You don't really have a preference.
So don't spend big bucks on paddles designed for a particular preference.

Get a glass Aquabound paddle for under $150. 220cm is a fine one size fits all. After you develop skills and try out other paddles you can get another one and have a good backup.
My preference is an Epic after having gone through a few different high end paddles.
ps. you should not be spending lots of money on ultra light paddles right now as you WILL damage them, even if it's a sturdy Werner.
Don't bother with a bent shaft paddle, learn to have a relaxed grip first.

Here you go, yellow plastic blades and fiberglass shaft, Stingray. Somewhere around $120-$140 I think. Go learn rescues self/assisted, launch/landing and THEN spend lots of money for a particular paddle that you can use JUST for paddling or with your improved skills for rescues/rough use as needed.

Wing, Greenland or Modern Paddles?
The paddle you choose depends on your goals and attitude toward athletic endeavors.

If you are a fitness paddler interested in efficiency, “racking up the miles” and possibly some racing in the future, then start right off with a wing paddle combined with a performance sea kayak designed for full time rudder use. The first few days may be a bit more challenging, but with a little practice you will quickly develop a good wing paddle stroke. If you are naturally athletic, you will be paddling three times as far and at twice the average speed of most everyone else in your area by the end of your second season if not sooner. However, you may face some resistance from your local BCU instructor and all his buddies. Don’t worry they will soon be eating your wake.

If you are into traditional kayaks practicing rolls, braces and doing tricks while staying in one spot you may want to consider a Greenland Paddle. Learning an efficient forward stroke with a Greenland paddle is as specialized as learning wing paddle technique and some guys can move along pretty well with a GP.

I started with a modern paddle. They can do everything pretty well. This is the safe way of going and you will be embraced by the instructors in your local classes. Frankly its not a bad way of learning a variety of techniques. However, I now feel like I wasted 3 - 4 years of paddling experience with the modern blade when I should have committed to a wing combined with rudder sooner.

Like they say, “Different strokes for different folks.”

I would think that jumping headfirst
into a kayak would make it extremely difficult to paddle no matter what the paddle. Best to learn proper technique first I would imagine.

Seat placement in the kayak
is a variable that affects appropriate paddle length. I am referring to the heighth of the seat with relation to the water surface level. A higher seat heighth means more paddle length than a lower seat. What kayak are you jumping into? Others with that same model can give you good answers.

I would avoid a crank type shaft, as the hand placements there are mandatory. You will need to get some experience to find out what will be best for you in a paddle with regard to length, shape of blades, and blade and shaft composites, first.

Demo days are great to find out what is the most adverse to you. Time will hopefully tell what is the best for you. That’s all part of the fun! Happy paddling!

The kayak can also affect paddle
length. I tried a 220 in my Tarpon and buised my knuckles on the side carrying handles. I am also 6’5" , but the boat was too wide for the paddle. And a 240 is perfect for my canoe.

Just because you didn’t learn that way,
does not mean that it would be an improper technique for others.

Werner Shuna fiberglass straight 29 oz
Cooldoctor1 convinced me to get this one. On sale for $179 free shipping. Now I can blame him if I don’t like it.

Thanks for all the great replies…
After looking through some of the suggestions, I really like the idea of the adjustable length paddles. The Epic Active Tour Signature Hybrid Length-Lock™ looks great…with the ability to adjust from 215-225.

FYI: The boat I plan on purchasing is the QCC 700x in Kevlar…now I just need to pick the color!

If you are getting a QCC 700
then you should reread Canunut’s post above and get the mid wing instead of a touring paddle.

Stay with the Epic length lock but get it with a wing.

The 700 is made for speed, and you will get one MPH more in speed out of the wing over the touring paddle.

I went the route you are going and the only time my touring paddle gets used now is when I am lilly dipping.



Werner Shuna fiberglass
Have it, and love using it.

Onno paddle…
…feather and length adjustment

here’s a photo of my paddle taken apart.