O No, not another paddle thread

I’m 5.2 and have a 220cm skagit. Yak is 22.5 inches wide. Not sure if it’s because I’m still new to all this or if the paddle is too long, but it just seems a little cumbersome to me. It has me wondering if I should consider something shorter. I’ve tried some shorter paddles (210, 200) and really liked how they felt. I’ve also been reading a little in the archives and see some people like even shorter paddles.

The only paddles I’ve seen under 200cm seem to be white water paddles. Is that what people are using, and are they a good choice for flatwater?

I’m also intrigued by those greenland paddles, but don’t really know if I’m ready for such a nice paddle yet. Werner Shuna looks like it might be a nice choice, or something similar?

All advice welcome!


I Am Your Height
my touring paddles are 210 cm. But as you noticed, it can be even shorter. My surfing/ww paddles are from 180-194 cm. My wife is also my height. When she went out to paddle with me in the seakayaks, I noticed that she yawed (zig-zagged) a lot with the longer paddle because of a lower paddling angle. Gave her the shorter 194 cm paddle and that problem worked itself out. Ditto for my kids when they were younger.

These days I rarely used my touring boat but when I do I go with a 194 cm paddle, largely because I am going out to play in waves or tidal current and want short, high angle fast strokes. I find the ww/surf paddles work fine for me. I think for general touring, maybe a 200-205 cm may be a good size.

GPs are good too for general touring. The issue is finding one shaped and sized to your liking. Short of the Superior and Cricket made paddles with set sizes, the GPs are pretty much hand shaped and you have to sort of know what you want or trust the shaper by telling him what you like so far with the shorter Euro paddle.



– Last Updated: Jul-20-07 5:39 AM EST –

This guy will make it any length you like:


(for less than the Shuna if I'm not mistaken)

220 is way too long for you.
You should be using a 200 or less.



I’m 5’4"
and in my 22" wide boats, I adjust my ONNO down to the 205 minimum setting. Seems to work well. Adjustable length paddles are awesome! They let me go from my 28" wide SOT’s to my 20.75" wide Sprinter using the same paddle.

Thanks for the details on your paddles.
It helps to hear about what people use and their style of kayaking.

I’m going to rent a shorter paddle this weekend, hopefully that will give me a better idea on what I want. I was going to look for a 200, but I think I’ll try even shorter, if one is available. Gotta love rentals.

Kudzu, thanks for the link - beautiful paddles. I guess I have the usual questions about GPs. Will I be able to keep up with everyone else? Will I be able to power out of some of the situations I get into? Are they hard to learn to use correctly? In other words, do you need to be a strong paddler to use them? I can picture myself stuck in some current, paddling like heck and getting nowhere.

Maybe I’ll try to convince dh to take up paddle carving.


I’m Fairly New to the GP
but I’m already a convert. If you get some good guidance on how to get started… and Bill provides that… it should take about 45 minutes or so before your forward stroke feels very natural. At least that’s about how long it took for me.

Acceleration is slightly slower than the euro. Cruising is every bit as fast. My cohorts and I recently did a 26 mile day in Core Sound. Half of us with Euros and the other half with GPs. No one dominated. No one pooped out. There’s not THAT much difference between the two paddles in straight line cruising.

Where I think the GP really outshines the Euro is extended paddle sculling, bracing, and rolling. It’s so much easier than the Euro that it feels like I’m cheating.

5’2 eyes of blue
Do you have blue eyes?

5"2 and
eyes of . . . grey-green. Not quite as poetic - lol


I think you answered your own question
If you like the way a shorter paddle feels - go for it. Shuna is the non-foam-core version of the Cyprus I use, so I think it is a fine paddle.

Greenland Paddles are inexpensive to buy and really inexpensive to make. I made one just so I could find out what they were like. Give it a try!

Good Idea about rentals
but good luck finding a small enough touring paddle as a rental.

My 5’3" wife is a strong paddlin’ beginner (21.5" wide boat) and loves my Shuna, although at 215, it is much too long for her. I’ve closely watched & studied her high angle paddling and think a 205 would work for her. An Onno full tour is another possibility for her. BTW, shops I’ve seen stock a 210 as their smallest - but will order smaller. Also consider a small shaft if going for Werner.

Nice thing about quality paddles is how they make great gifts - anniversaries, birthdays, Christmas - if you know exactly what to get…

Probably too long
I’m your height and my first sea kayak was 22" beam (am now using narrower ones).

I started at 220cm and agree with you that it felt cumbersome. Demo’ed a 215cm and immediately preferred that and bought it. Within a year or so, I wished it were shorter but didn’t know of any stock shorter lengths for sea kayak paddles. The 215cm still felt like it was getting in the way for certain types of strokes–too darned long. Finally, I recently got to use a 205cm high-angle paddle/blade (Shuna) and knew I would never go back to the longer lengths. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if 200cm feels even better…if there such a thing, stock. I bought the Shuna and its foam-cored analog, the Cyprus, in 205cm.

Anyway, try to rent a 205cm paddle. I BET you will prefer it to the 220cm.

you could always choke the paddle over
to one side or the other.

Experiment non-stop right on the water. Place some tape where yo normally hold your hands then;

Ex. 220;

Move it to the right 1" now it is a 215 on the left and a 225 on the right, move 2" and now it is a 210 on the left and 230 on the right. Not the most symmetrical thing to do but you get a feel for various lengths without having to hunt around for something that might not even exist.

Hope above makes sense.

Darn Pat you are good.

I notice that in strong quartering seas and in certain strong currents I seem to do that automatically.

I used to get PO’d at myself and try to correct it until I realized that it was a auto response to where I should be holding the paddle.

Hey pat any screw type ferrules yet?



an update
I rented a paddle this weekend a 210 Werner Camano. Dh and I both took turns with it. I liked it though I think shorter would still be good, he thought it was too short for him. What we both noticed was how much lighter it felt, and THAT was nicer than anything!

My shoulder bothered me some, but I can’t say if it was a different paddle or just general muscle soreness I’ve had this summer.


Good idea
Wish I’d a thought of that out on the water! Will have to give it a try next weekend.