paddle advice please

I am only 5’1" tall and I weigh about 101 lbs. My kayak is a Perception Sundance 9.5 ft long rec kayak it is one of the wider ones. I have health problems that cause me to get tired easier than most. THe doctor is encouraging me to paddle for the fresh air sunshine and exercise. I am looking for a light weight paddle. What would you recommend I look at for light weight and length. Thanks for the help. We paddled last fall but the paddle was a 220 Carlisle day tripper and I got pretty tired, it is a heavy paddle but it is the one that came with our kayaks.

Take a look at Aqua-Bound paddles
they have a nice one right around $95 w/aluminum shaft and the same blade on a fiberglass shaft at around $120. They should both be a lot lighter than the one you are using, and the fiberglass shaft may offer a bit more flex, taking a little less toll on your body. If $$$ isn’t too big of an issue, the carbon Aqua-Bounds are around $200, and even less weight. Nice paddles for the money.

You Can Build…
…a pretty light and nifty paddle with very little effort and money. We’ve been using ours for years, and really can’t see replacing them with a commercial paddle - these are light, tough, simple to make and very, very inexpensive!!! We paddle coastal Newfoundland waters, and they have done everything we’ve asked of them…

Has some very nice paddles that are like a feather. Werner has one or two that are worth a look too.

The sad thing is they are $300.00 Canadian and up. I am not sure they would be worth it in shorter boats.

If you can I would paddle often and with friends that don’t mind swapping paddles to let you try.

Nice paddles are like crack, you can get hooked.

Good luck.

Another vote for Aquabound
As Stickman mentions above, they have a couple of fairly lightweight models that sell in places like EMS around here, other sports stores probably, that run from $95 to $120 at full price. The blades are good blades, no flutter so easy on your wrists, decent quality and hardy plastic, and if you poke around they even have them with a narrower shaft for those with smaller hands. I suspect that at 5’1" you’d be able to take advanatage of that.

I got a couple of these for my sister and her husband to use in their Otters before they hurt themselves with the godawaful heavy paddles that had come with the boats. They’ve really liked them.

Bill Will Make One For You

the lightests paddles I’ve found
are Swifts. Very light and comfy. I’ve got a wind swift and love it. The problem: they’re pricy. 220 (or even shorter) sounds about right.

ONNO Paddles
Very lightweight and Pat is great to deal with. About $225.

Greenland style paddle
I suggest you try a Greenland style paddle. The Lumpy paddles mentioned above have an excellent reputation and are extraordinarily reasonably priced.

There is every chance you have a GP maker in your neck of the woods. Alan Mapes made all four of our GPs. I found it useful to hold and/or try the paddle at stages so Alan could really tweak it to my comfort. (I have both full length and storm paddles by Alan)

Or you could make your own.

I find a Greenland style paddle to be the least stressful on joints, tendons, and muscles. Unless surfing, rock gardening, or running whitewater, I prefer to use a GP.

Comment re greenland paddles
These would be nearly perfect paddles for you in terms of being easy on your wrist etc, but I’d mention two considerations.

First, if you are 5’1" in a wide, deep rec boat you really will need to talk with the paddle-maker about how to set the length, and whether it should be a regular or a storm paddle. (The person you would be working with the get the paddle can explain that diff to you better than me trying online.) The details of how you get a decent catch in the water are affected by those dimensions, and you’d need to be a little more attentive to sizing than those who get a GP to use in a very low-profile boat.

The other thing is no big deal, but you’d want to spend a little time on a good online site about greenland paddling to get a sense of how to use it. There is a tendency when people first try and use a GP to angle it exactly the same as they would a regular paddle, but a slight change in the angle when you start the stroke works much better.

As others have mentioned, a greenland paddle can be a lot easier on joints etc. It could be a much more graceful way for you to ease into paddling than using a regular paddle. And they are very cool looking - great way to confound your neighbors and family.

Maybe not the paddle, but the boat
You may be getting tired because at your size, getting the paddle over those beamy sides is more effort than it needs to be. If you can afford to, I’d sell the Sundance and look for a smaller women’s kayak with a 24 inch beam. It shouldn’t feel tippy to a person of your size–or will only feel tippy for the first hour or so out in the boat. You can get a better stroke going with a narrower boat.

Great point!
Someone had their coffee this morning.

Seriously, if the purpose of paddling is to recover strength etc and is really only happening at doc’s orders, it is absolutely critical that it be an enjoyable experience. A not-strong 5’1" person trying to manage a deep, wide rec boat if some wind comes up doesn’t sound like the definition of “fun”.

There are boats that would be much more comfortable and rewarding to paddle, such as the Huricane Tampico 135S or the Necky Eliza or the newer Current Designs boats and all the ones I forgot, which can be obtained in very lightweight layups so they’d not be much to haul. But they’d be much much easier to manage on the water.

Epic Relaxed Tour is easiest for me.
It’s also more expensive than most. I was fortunate and found mine used for about half price.

I haven’t used a greenland paddle, so I can’t comment on them.

The Epic Relaxed Tour with burgundy shaft (more flexible than their green shaft) is easier on my body and requires less effort for me than any other paddle I’ve tried, including the Carlisle Day Tripper, Bending Branches Infusion & Impression & Spirit with Day Blade, Werner Camano & Kalliste and ONNO Mid Tour.

ONNO’s Feather blade may be another good option for you. It also requires less effort to use than most other Euro paddles and costs less new than the Epic Relaxed Tour. I haven’t actually used the ONNO Feather, but would like to try one some day.

Using a paddle that doesn’t over power me (Epic Relaxed Tour) has certainly increased my paddling pleasure, reduced pain and lengthened the time I can paddle with the least wear & tear on my body.

Good luck finding a paddle that works for you.

Werner Skagit & Cascadia
Would fall into the $125-$165 range.

Celia, you’re right about the Aquabounds that Stickman mentioned, but why EMS? If I’m correct I think Stickman has a lead on some Aquabounds. :wink: I’m sure he’s got a box that’ll fit a paddle or two that could go in the mail.

See you on the water,


The River Connection, Inc.

Hyde Park, NY

Sorry if I missed that
I didn’t realize that stickman could be a purveyor of same. Silly me.

The only reason I mentioned EMS or similar was on the chance that there might be a store around them where they could go and take a look at the paddles.

Bending Branches
Carbon Slice is very lightweight and you can find it for around $180 give or take.

Risking a shameless plug…
Stickman can indeed package up a paddle, we do stock Aqua-Bound, thanks for the mention…

Risk away

– Last Updated: Apr-04-08 12:54 PM EST –

It's only in your profile that you run a shop...... if I'd looked.

I'm sure that the paddles Marshall suggests would also be a happy choice.

ONNO Paddles & Different Boat

– Last Updated: Apr-04-08 1:59 PM EST –

If you are paddling to get fresh air and sunshine and to improve your health you don't want to increase the exertion level but the amount of time you are exercising. Improve the quality of paddling time and you will greatly improve your enjoyment. At your size (unless you are very heavy) and for what you want to do a Hunt Johnson fiberglass wavewitch 12' boat would be a good choice. You would glide along at a high speed and the boat is very easy to move around.

Onno paddles are custom made for you so you get the right size and weight. Pat is great and the paddles are rugged, light and outperform much more expensive paddles. My Onno paddle is my favorite piece of gear (and I own a lot stuff), I will loan anybody any of my boats but don't touch "Excalibur" my trusty Onno paddle.

makes a kid’s paddle called the Sprite. It is light and not too expensive. The longest Sprite is 200 cm. With some torso rotation you might be able to make it work with your kayak. That is a very wide kayak for you. If you could find your way to a narrower kayak, it would be so much easier for you to move it through the water with any paddle. Something like a Wilderness Systems Piccolo (not made anymore) or other similarly sized kayak would be much better for you. My 10 year old daughter used to leave everyone in the dust with her Piccolo and Sprite. I used my daughter’s Sprite a few times and I was a dummy to include the paddle when I sold her kayak. It was a nice paddle for a small person (not just kids).