Paddle Length. 230cm Feels short

purchased a 230cm asym glass paddle and it enters/exits the water great. i think my decks may be a bit too high for this paddle though.

i definitely leaped before i looked into this whole kayaking thing, but here’s the deal… (tell me if this makes sense)

i’m in a boat with a fairly high freeboard around the fore section of the cockpit. I’m dang near 6’2 and most of that is up top and I have long arms.

that being said…i’m trying to paddle in a way that feels natural and i’ve had the hardest time doing it. UNTIL, i moved my R hand about 6inchins inboard of where it SHOULD be, and then i drew. Boat moved great and it felt natural. After that stroke, I threw the paddle to my stb and moved my L hand in about 6". That side paddled well again.

What’s the deal?

the boat felt great like that, but there’s no way that paddling that shallow is efficient, is there?

I mean, the way i was throwing that paddle from L to R basically added one foot to a 230cm paddle.

Doe these paddles exist? What’s wrong with me?



My guess is you’re trying to paddle at way too low of an angle. just a guess. I think somebody competent and experienced will give you better advice in person after seeing you paddle. i’m 6’1 and happily use a 220 length and a 210, my new one is going to be a 215 which should be the sweet spot.

Paddle length
I am 6’4". I use a 218 euro paddle with my “classic” sea kayak (24" beam) and a 230 narrow blade paddle with my wider and higher inflatable kayak (30" beam)

Adding one foot to your paddle means a 260 length, you must be very strong to pull such an oar, or use a very narrow blade.

A better solution is to take some coaching to learn the basic strokes properly.

Take a higher angle stroke
with the blade in closer to the yak.



most likely technique
I’m sure technique is the majority of the problem. I really couldn’t imagine adding 12" to a 230cm paddle, it just felt so natural when it was way out there like that.

When I bring steepen the angle I find myself keeping my torso stationary and using my arms way too much, that’s all.

Probably a good idea to just get a lesson or two from an exp. paddler.

I’ve read a lot about the different strokes and technique, but implementing them is pretty tough when you’re going from internet text to the water.

Thanks folks. Sounds like there’s no way 230cm is too short. I’ll keep working at it. The only reason I questioned the length was because it’s been feeling strange AND because the guy I bought from (in order to save a few bucks) was not very helpful. Very little advice other than specs and price. Thanks bud! Very few suggestions were provided. It’s nice as a newby to be steered around a little bit, pointed in the right direction, reassured, etc. I’ve gotten more of that through than I did from the dude I gave $1300 of my hard earned cash. Anyway, I probably should have dropped another $100 somewhere else where I would have been given a little more learnin’

(PS - I’m having no problem getting from Point A to Point B, I just want to do it in the most efficient manner possible with the equipment that I’ve got).

Thanks again, all.


I use a 240 cm
I’m 5’9". I use a 230 sometimes too. I’d say use what’s comfortable for you. The shuffle stroke you discussed is a valid use and let’s you get by with a shorter paddle when you want, it’d be harder to use a longer paddle and shuffle to make it shorter since you’d have more catching the wind. Whatever floats your boat is the best choice for you.

Good Luck


250 anyone?
In a sea kayak, my fastest paddle is 250 cm. It’s a Lendal 230 crankshaft, 20cm extension, and Powermaster blades. Anything less just feels like the wheels are spinning. Can’t use it in the surf ski though, for that I use a wing set at 223 cm.

"What Type of Boat?“
somebody asked boat…It’s a Old Town Cayuga 146

loa 14’6

beam 24.5”


probably the middle 60th perentile or so of the hull is flat with a round freeboard. the taper is pretty gradual. not one of those boats with giant hips, if you know what i mean. the fore and aft 20% or so of length loose the flat bottom and the V starts. The stern is almost plum and the bow has a fair abount of sweep to it. Looks like the beam beam lays about 45% back from the bow.

again, thanks for yalls help.

have my first kayak trip ever planned tomorrow with about 8 other people, all experienced paddlers. hopefully i’ll be able to hang! regardless I can’t wait to get out there on my new toy. gonna lazy paddle a little spring fed creek around here for 4 or 5 hours. Can’t wait.

(HOPEFULLY i’ll be able to go. Put some double sided velcro on the “dash” of my boat in order to stick my handheld gps up there. Anyway, was using scisors to cut the velcro. was sitting indian style in the grass when an ant bit me. looked over and saw an ant pile. jumped up and when i did, I kicked the scissors with my middle tow. Bled and bled and bled and bled. finally got to stop long enough to asses the damage. cut right on the nuckle. hept it still for about an hour and then put some of that medical super glue goop all over it. also make a wood splint that’s the exact size of my foot exluding all but the cut toe. going to ankle wrap it on the back, just barrel wrap it around my foot (arch section) and then wrap the toe around the little wood piece that’s sticking out. it’s not bleeding now, and the only way it’ll start again is if i bend it. probably too much information. sorry)

later folks


250 Lendal
I’m impressed. I know people using 240 narrow blade paddles but none using a 250 euro blade paddle. Just out of curiosity : what is your stroke cadence and how tall are you ?

250 Lendal
Don’t know the stroke cadence with the 250, will measure next time I use it, think I’m safe in saying it’s relatively slow. I’m 6’3" with a long wingspan, and pushing the bent-shaft hand grips apart by 20 cm feels better. Tried additional extensions on the paddle blades, that was too much length, so I think 250 is my limit.

This length is something I had to build up to. I was training 4-5 days per week with the 230 when I decided to try the extra 20cm. It did strain the muscles a bit at first but I got used to it and I gained some speed (gps-measured). I switched to the ski and wing for the summer, and when I go back to the kayak I will probably start with 230 and build up again.

Another advantage to this paddle is I don’t often need a rudder, I can keep the Epic-18 pretty straight without one, which also buys me some speed.

I’m always getting wild ideas and trying new stuff, nip here, tuck there, this just happened to be one that worked for me.


Paddling with others
I expect that paddling with other more experienced paddlers would help you.Seeing what you do can make a world of difrence or take some classes. i use a 240 and sometimes 230. both have real good curved blades so the miner difrence doesnt realy hurt me now. but ican do fine with a heavy 210-20 paddle as well(not happy when i do though). but it has taken years to get to this piont.

Hey Gaelou,

Your cadence question made me curious so I took the Epic18 for a spin this evening with the Lendal 250. My Garmin Forerunner GPS tells me speed, time, and distance, but not RPMs. Counted strokes several times and it was pretty consistent - a little over a stroke per second, 6 strokes every 5 seconds to be precise. Speeds were consistent with my Epic18 workouts the first half of this year, starting out over 7mph and gradually dropping to 6.5 or so after an hour. I saw 7.4 a couple of times as the top speed. If I hurt tomorrow it’s all your fault!

my paddle?
my current set up is a 24.5 wide kayak (Carolina 14.5) and a 220mm paddle (aquabound string ray)… and i’m 6’1.

I feel like the paddle fits me pretty well… but i find alot of times my hands will skim the water… is this ok??

also what would be the differnence to using a aqua bound eagle ray touring paddle. same size 220.


I’m so sorry Robert
But paddling a sea kayak at 6 knots has a cost.

By the way I found a video showing the “classic” way of selecting the “right” paddle size :

The other vids on the same web site are worth watching :

I am 6’3" and don’t even use a 230 when paddling my Plastic Kruger… Pamlico 160. Sounds like your angle is waaaay to low. Tray making the paddle follow as close to the boat as possible, unless you are doing a sweep, also you only need to cover the blade. I have seen folks that dip the paddles so deep they look more like they are polling.

video, calculations
Good video, thanks. I took the Epic 18 out again today, did the measurements and calculations, my number is 223. 38” grip width, 19” blades, 6” from cockpit rim to water = 88” total, or 223.5cm. The 230 wasn’t too far off. Also measured my Lendal paddle with the extension, it’s 99”, or 251.4cm.

Yes, there is a price to pay in term of strain on the body AND the boat. More resistance from the paddle translates to more force on the foot pegs. My Epic 18 has a Sealine rudder system, and I have broken a heel peg and a mounting plate. Fixed them, added a heel board that pushes on both pegs and spreads the load, haven’t broken anything since. I can still work the rudder pedals with my toes. Epic’s new boats have a much better system, can’t wait to try them.

Still searching for the perfect paddle, one that stays where you plant it so that all your energy is used to move the boat forward and none is wasted on moving the paddle backward. Maybe poling is the way to go!

paddle should be just about perfect
We’ve got about 12 paddlers in our little group that go out and half of them are in boats that are 23-24.5 in wide. 230 cm seems to be the consensus for the first paddle but almost everyone goes down to a 220 if they upgrade and buy a second paddle. During the push part of your stroke your top hand should be up around your chin if your blade angle and paddle length are correct. Most of us (before lessons!) had too shallow a blade angle and were pushing from the chestinstead of a higher-more efficient angle. For me, paddling at a real low angle invites pulling on the paddle instead of the more effient pushing so going to the shorter paddle and higher angle worked wonders. Welcome to PNet!!!

I’m 6’ and use a 240…
…it’s a high angle and does not have narrow blades.

My 220 feels like a toy.