Paddle advice please

Hi I have just bought a Cobra Expedition.

I need a paddle to go with it and was thinking of a Lendal Kinetic Touring or Lendal Nordkapp.

I’m 6’2" and borrowed a 210cm no-name paddle that I found a bit short.

Ideally I would like to buy something like these paddle as a split paddle so that next year I can keep it as a safety paddle in the hatch and buy a decent paddle that I have chosen with more knowledge than I have now. By then I will have more of an idea of what I like.

Any ideas on length ?

Any ideas on make/model ?

All advice welcome !

I can’t believe that I have waited this long before venturing out on the sea in a kayak/sot ! It is so much fun !



a lendal kinetic or nordkapp
is a great paddle, 210 being too short? hmm don’t know about that? It depends on the angle of the stroke you’re using, if you’re going for the low angle touring stroke with a lendal you’re defeating the purpose of the paddle. Most lendals are built for a higher angle higher energy stroke. A 210 for someone your size could be short, but the longest I would go is 215 cm. But that’s me? you may want to go for a longer 220 paddle and a low angle stroke, but I would at least give the 210 a shot.

I saw your other post, Ed…
…about making your own rudder.

I was just thinking, there are many here who I know have made their own paddles (& some have made MANY!) but I’m wondering how many have made their own rudders…sounds pretty involved. If I needed both, I think I’d be looking to buy the rudder & make the paddle (I sold a new rudder just a few months ago for $65…watch the classifieds here & check ebay).

Any way you decide, best wishes & happy paddling.

Paddle length is “personal” choice
A sit on top kayak is normally wider than a sit in. I have a 22.5" wide “sit in”, and I have a 215 cm length Lendal Crank, with the kinetic touring paddle blades. I find this length just perfect for me, in “my” kayak.

If your sit on top is wider, and I believe it is, I can see you needing a longer paddle shaft. 10 cm, is close to 4", so if your kayak is 4 inches wider, I can easily see you using a 220 to 230cm length.

Another thing to note is look at where your hands are when paddling, specifically the one up away from the water. When I paddle, my one hand is as high as my shoulder, and the other hand is down close to the water. I canoed for years, and I am a “High angle” paddler. A high angle paddler uses a shorter paddle length.

If when you paddle, your hands stay down around your waist, then you are a “low angle” paddler. This requires a longer paddle length.

Regardless of what others say, the ideal length is what suits you the best. Try to determine if you are a low angle, or a high angle paddler, and then try a length suited to that paddling style. Also for sure you will need a longer shaft in a wide kayak, over the length needed in a narrow kayak.

Happy Paddling!

Thanks guys.

All your advice is much appreciated.

THe reason I think that 210cm is too short is that on the part where you reach forward to plant the blade in the water it just feels like I should be planting a bit earlier - I am pretty flexible and can lean forward fine but the paddle seems like it should be in the water already (if that makes sense).

Also I think that I can paddle with a high stroke and this feels nice and smooth and I can link strokes together too - equally I was trying some lower angled strokes and they seemed good too but didn’t give me the power that the high angle stroke did. I like power… but am a complete beginner and have only been in the kayak for an hour with this borrowed paddle…

I think a split paddle would be cool so I can try different lengths.

So maybe a split or failing that a fixed length one at 214cm.

I didn’t realise that there were different types of paddles. High vs low angle… I guess this is determined by the blade design?

If the Lendal pair are meant for low angle paddling then maybe I should start with that and get it split so that I can stash it when/if I buy a more racy paddle in the future (I am thinking wing but like I say I am a beginner).

Maybe it is a good idea to walk before I can run and also a low angle paddle like the Lendal pair might make for a more relaxing day and also I’d be able to cover more ground without fatigue and sprinting around like a mad man ?

Any thoughts ?



(I am rennovating a house and making a wooden speargun at the moment so pretty happy making things - the rudder is not essential but I would like to make one - the paddle I think would be harder to make and also it’s a time thing - I want to get out paddling - getting a paddle will let me do thins and it’s quicker to buy one :))

dos centavos

I have a 210 crank kinetic and a 215 crank nordkapp. The kinetic has composite blades and the nordkapp has carbon nylon. I beat the crap out of the nordkapp blades in rock gardens, etc. I like the nordkapp blades for power in surf and rips. I like the kinetic because they still have power but link strokes really nicely. At 6’2" I prefer the 210 length, but 215 is not too shabby, either. You can buy the Lendal Varilokk, which will range from 210-215.

I like the Lendal Paddlokk in 4 piece. If you break a shaft, and I have, it costs 55 dollars to replace the half tube section. If you break a blade, you only buy one blade. At the Skookumchuck tidal rapid last weekend I watched the guy I was with break the foam core blade of his Werner. He has to ship it back to Werner to replace the blade. Interesting watch him roll up on the wave trains and do the full “tour” C1 style!

Cheers for that bit o’ first hand knowledge.

I’m 6’2" too.

I guess a kinetic would suit me as I won’t be using my cobra expedition in the rock gardens ! Tempting but with a 9m tidal range and alot of swell I’ll leave that for the rock heads :slight_smile:

So maybe for general fast touring on reasonably flat waters a Lendal Kinetic 210cm would do me well.

Does this seem like the optimal length ?

Or should I go longer ?

Actually I was planning on getting them from these guys :

And just noticed that they come in 214 / 216 / 218

So maybe a 214cm would be ideal ?

Any thoughts ?

I’ll try for an adjustable one but failing that a fixed 214cm will do I guess ?

There seem to be different specs too (SF vs N12 ?) - what is the difference ?



the differences in blade material…
is that the composite carbon layup is very lightweight, the N12 is battle hardened and weighs quite a bit more. I like the heavy ones, even paddled for 2 weeks in AK with it, so it’s not that heavy, but I like the lightweight composite. I may be in need of a correction, but the SF I think is their plastic.

If all they had was a 214 you’d be fine. I switch back and forth from 210-215 all the time and can really care less. I like 210cm better, but 215 works as well. I hate to spend your money for you…no, I take that back…I want you to spend the big bucks. Go out and get the 4 piece varilok crank with EG1 tubes and composite kinetic blades. Really a fantastic combo. My buddy bought the varilok and composite nordkapp blades and loved every minute of our 10 day paddle in Costa Rica this year.


Rob G

No affiliations with Lendal

length ideas
I have reduced my paddle’s length after watching how much of the blade was submerged during many hours of paddling the same boat. I observed that the upper edge of the blade was too far under water indicating the paddle shaft was too long. This reduced the effectiveness of my lever system by putting the load of the propulsive blade farther away from lower working hand, the fulcrum.

I also discovered that paddle length is from tip to tip. Meaning a 220 brand X with short and wide blades was different in the above approach than a 220 brand Y with long and narrow ones.

I currently use a one piece, 220 cm and am looking to further reduce length as my paddle style has become more high angle.

how bout this
Think a good solution in terms of cost vs performance would be a split varilok(210-216 if they do that) Kinetic Touring with EG1 shaft and N12 blades.

Any thoughts on an improvement on this ?

Looks like I am getting £100 back from my kayak as I complained that it was faded (mail order).



A note on Lendal
I do not work for Lendal, but I am a BIG fan of their paddles. I love mine!

You should note that Lendal makes a shaft that you can vary the length, and vary the feather angle. if you are not sure about the length you need, or the blade size, I suggest you start with the “varilock” shaft, so you can change the length, and start with the Kinetik Touring Blades.

You can get the above in fiberglass or Carbon shafts, and the blades come from reinforced plastic, to fiberglass to Carbon. This set up will allow you to experiment with shaft lengths, and try different blades in the future.

You can send an e-mail to Scott Lynch at:

He has answered many questions I have had,and he is very prompt at replying!

I think you will like the Kinetic Touring Blades! also sells Lendal.

Good Luck!

Hold off before deciding

A few factors need to be integrated before you will know your most efficient length.

One, your home base, should be upright torso or slight forward lean, but as you paddle you should not lean forward to plant the blade!

Two, as you learn to use torso rotation the length of efficient paddle shortens because your combined reach of arm and torso rotation is more than when you simply arm paddle.

Three, the shortest paddle you can use efficiently is one where you are using optimal torso rotation, upright posture, and plant the blade at the angle you have decided to paddle, low, mid or high angle stryle, and then the whole blade is in the water at the “catch”, its most forward point.

You can get a slightly longer paddle, but this is the least paddle you can efficiently use.

Cheers to you in discovering this for yourself.


I am based in Europe (Guernsey) so have contacted Lendal here for some info and hopefully they can sort me out with a nice paddle.

Still thinking about split varilock KT N12 with EG1… in the 210/214 range…

Any more advice gratefully accepted.


I’ve been using a Werner…
Kalliste since they came out. Mine is a 220, and I’ve been tough on it over the past few years, but it has held up well. I don’t work for them.

I have a buddy…
who wants to sell his carbon Kalliste 214cm, if you want to buy it Ken. He lives in PT, not to far from us south sounders. He bought the varilok Lendal with composite nordkapp blades.

I spoke to Nick at Lendal and we decided on this :

Kinetic Touring N12 + G1F shaft + varilock

He recommended that I go for a 218cm223cm varilock.

I mentioned the info that I had read here regarding length - ie maybe a 214cm221cm might be better but he countered saying that with my kayak dimensions of 18’ x 23.5" and my height of 6’2" I would be better with the longer 218cm223cm…

He uses 220cm and is 6’2" too.

I’m confused and seem to be getting conflicting info.

The postage is adding up too so I am even more keen to get the right thing.

If people could advise me of their height and the paddles they use I would be grateful. Some of the posts above don’t state the persons height so it makes it hard for me to work out what I need.

I might call him and get a 214221cm… any views ?

Help ! :slight_smile:

218-223? Yikes!
My friend Scott used the Varilok210-215 on our Costa Rica trip. He paddled a 25" beam FC K1. He is 6’4" and said it worked fine at the 215cm setting. I am 6’2" and used a 210cm shaft/Nordkapp blades on a 22" wide boat, it worked really well. I personally hate using my 220cm paddle after going to the 210cm. I think it is too long for my 21 inch beam VCP Jubilee, but is useable. I like the 215cm setting on it but prefer the 210cm shaft. With a 23.5 inch beam on an SOT I think you may have it dialed with a 213-218 or at the most with a 215-220cm. Your call.


cheers rob
Thanks Rob - I guess he is more into the old school low angle paddle where you use the sweep stroke more ? Thanks for the heights and lengths - good first hand experience.

At any rate I guess I should call and get a shorter paddle.

ANyone else with any experience/advice ?

Just my 2 cents…
I am 5’11", and I now paddle a 22.5" kayak. I am using the 215cm Lendal crank. It is Ok with me, but I could even get away with a 210cm. The problem I ran into was that the crank offset placement was too close together on the 210 cm crank shaft.

If you are a high angle paddler like I am, and you are taller than I am, I think you would be safe with a varilock paddle that starts around 215 cm, and will lengthen. If your arms are longer, that will automatically put your hand that is near the water, even closer. But if you are taller, AND in a wider boat, the 218 might be better. But I doubt if you or I would be able to tell the difference between a 215 or 218 length as a starting point.

I find with the shorter paddle, I keep the blade closer to the kayak sides, and I tend to paddle straighter.

I e-mailed Scott Lynch at Lendal a couple of times, and I ended up taking his reccomendations. Following his reccomendations worked well for me!

I hope I have been of some help, and good luck!

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