New Tandem Kayak paddles

Hello - first time poster, long time reader - thanks for all the help so far…

I have a new tandem kayak on the way, which will be used mostly by my wife and one of our kids in the kayak and myself and the other 2 children in my canoe. This is our first kayak purchase after spending most of our time in canoes. My wife was concerned about handling a canoe solo with one child, but after some kayak trips solo and in some sea kayak tandems, she feels more at ease in kayaks. We will be mostly on inland lakes and some lazy rivers in Pennsylvania.

The kayak is an Old Town twin otter with a beam of @ 31". I would also like to try to solo this kayak at times by myself. My question concerns kayak paddles. I have been trying to read all the great posts on here on choosing paddles and seem at odds with myself on what length to purchase for her, a kids paddle, and myself. I would like to limit the purchase to 2 paddles. The paddles will be entry level paddles, possibly a Carlisle tripper or a Bending Branches whisper model. I am @ 5’10" average structure all the way around and my wife is @ 5’2" and also normal build.

Am I correct to lean towards a 230 because of the increased boat width? I was thinking of purchasing a 220 for the front riders and a 230 for the back. Is this practice standard or make sense? The kids in the front will be mostly “riders” but are becoming of age where they will want to paddle also. I have twins that are 8 and want to paddle more and more often, so I need something they will not become frustrated with. I solo our canoe alot and would like to try a double blade kayak paddle in the canoe also, so I assume the 230 would be better there.

Last question - can anyone comment on the paddle brands mentioned above?

a lotof personal prefeence
Unfortunately, there is a lot of personal preference built in, so hard to give you a set number to go with.

The basic range would be 220 to 240. An adult probably would want 230-240. A kid maybe 220-230.

You are just about right with the 220 …
and 230, but the unfortunate thing is if you are buying entry level paddles, they are going to be very heavy for the kids vs higher end paddles.

If you think that you will be upgrading in the future, you might want to get some decent paddles

Jack L

Werner Sprite or Aquabound Sharky
210 cm max,shorter for the kids. Shorter length promotes a more efficient paddling form and the small blade saves wear and tear and prevents injury. These are kid specific but adults will do fine with them as well.

Padle shaft
I picked a paddle with a used boat that had a smaller diameter shaft that my wife really likes using. Says it’s easier on her wrists. Something to watch for.

At 5’11 I use a 230 when kayaking but need a longer one when canoeing.


– Last Updated: Apr-26-12 10:50 AM EST –

I paddle a similar size tandem (WS Pamlico 135T) and use a 230cm paddle which works fine. We have Werner Skagit rec paddles, my wife liked they came in smaller diameter shaft because she has small hands. I do most of the paddling from the back seat with a 230 works for us.