Paddle Length Preferences?

Sea Kayaks that is. Presently I am using 215 cm for my high angle paddling and 220 cm for low angle paddling at 6ft. height and two boats about 22" in width. I’m considering dropping to 210 cm for high angle paddling and possibly even 215 cm for low angle paddling.

I am well aware that ones’ body height, boat width, high angle paddling style and or low angle paddling style are the big three factors for deciding. Just interested in hearing what lengths in relation to these factors have been working for others.

try this

gnar, so now
you can be their personal searchman! cool.


use what length feels right.


why the change?
What is it about your current paddle lengths that you don’t like?

For your high angle you may want a 210, But i wouldn’t necessarily go shorter with your low angle paddle unless you felt the need to change.

I’m 6’5" in a 21" beam using a high angle 215, low angle 230. If i go into low angle mode with my high angle 215 i sometimes knock the boat with it at the catch, which is a little annoying.

If you go shorter with your low angle paddle without increasing blade size, you’ll just be losing leverage without gaining much in the way of efficiency. I can see a case for going shorter with your high angle paddle though. Werner has an excellent paddle size finder on their website. Check it out.

210 or 215?

– Last Updated: Jul-01-09 11:18 PM EST –

Does your paddle stroke or technique really change based on 5 cm? My guess is that blade shape, conditioning and natural/comfortable stroke would have have a larger roll in your techinque vs. a 5 cm change in shaft length.

I use a 215 cm paddle and primarily use an agressive high angle stroke. Your stoke is your stoke and I'm not sure how you switch from high to low from one outing to the next?

211.7 and 217.3 :wink: NM

I thought I…
…would go with the Epic paddle guide recommendation of 210 or 211 for my type of high angle paddle (Men’s Turbo). I used it briefly before cutting it down to 205, as it felt like the extra length might be slowing my cadence. At 205 it just didn’t feel like quite enough paddle for adequate boat control. I put it up to 206 and used it for the rest of the summer last year.

This spring I decided to try it at 210 again as I was concerned that I might not have adequate leverage or reach for keeping myself upright in more rigerous conditions. During my longer paddles I soon developed a pain in my left elbow that I had never experienced before! So I dropped it back to down to 207 to get it close to where it was before, plus a cm to “grow on”.

So far so good. Sure am glad I made the paddle adjustable!

Prior to getting my wing paddle
I used 220, and didn’t have a high angle stroke.

When I got the wing a few years ago, I realized that with the higher angle I had to shorten the length, and started easing it on down until I settled at 213.

I still use 220 when I am touring and lilly dipping with my touring paddle, but it almost feels that I could shorten that a bit, (it is not adjuistable).

For what it is worth, I am 5’-9"



Length vs Surface Area

– Last Updated: Jul-02-09 5:29 AM EST –

I think those little increments of length difference are pretty meaningless. I have found that total surface area and paddling cadence matters a lot more. Two weeks back my buddies and I did a very long one-day trip. I was pretty fresh at the end and they weren't. I think the one big variable was that I had a 'low gear' going into the wind and they didn't.

Good morning, Jack! Loved the "fish story" you sent.

Paddle Sizing
Here is a link to a video clip on paddle sizing that I use.

my stats
I paddle a 21-ish inch boat, high angle style, 6’ tall, and I cut an old high-angle paddle down to about 207. I’m trying to hone in on the right size for a new paddle. My instructor is about my size, and uses 205 Cyprus and Ikelos paddles. I like the feel of my 207, but I’d like to try a 210 and see if that slows my cadence a bit, and improves my catch.

Anyone have $600 I can borrow, so I can try out a couple new paddles for a few months? :smiley:

I started with a 240 cm paddle
From what i originally read online, based on my height i started with a 240 cm paddle, which was WAY too long. i then moved to 230 low angle, then moved down to 215 high angle. That being said i still bury my paddle well past the top of the blade alot of the time and think i could probably go down even more, like you are thinking, to 210. I am also planning on getting another, low angle paddle, and will be trying out 220, but in my head i am thinking i will end up closer to 215. So just go with whatever feels right.

I use a 210 for high-angle paddling. I am 6’ with a 22" wide boat. My wife uses a 205, although she could possibly benefit from a shorter paddle due to her height. I am happy with the 210.

205cm seems most comfortable for
my with an ONNO Mid Tour. I wish that my Epic Relaxed Tour went down to that short. I’d like to have a 205cm Werner Shuna.

Shaft length, length, stroke angle and form are as important as overall length.

Difference of a few cm
I think if you are a finely tuned athlete a cm or even less might make a noticable differnce. Just guessing here, cause I certainly do not fall in to that category.

A LONG time ago I was a fairly competitive age group triathlete and bike racer. For a bicycle I can say that a small size difference makes a huge difference in comfort and a smaller difference in performance over the course of a long race. Suspect the same thing applies to paddles,

different low and high
For a high angle stroke, the length should be set based on your height and stroke geometry, so that the blade does not go too deep but is still fully immersed. Once the length is determined, the paddle with your favorite blade area should be chosen.

With a low angle stroke there is more latitude in choosing length. I alternate between an 220 Werner Kalliste and a 226 AT. In knot meter tests I go faster with the 226 AT, though the AT feels slower.

No deal for low angle paddle
I have a little dipper carbon that is about 230 and I asked Werner if it made sense to get a smaller size. The nice man there told me it would not make any significant difference since it was a low angle paddle.

We talked about high angle paddles and he noted that the more experienced paddlers use more body rotation and so a high angle paddle that a little shorter than the chart could be sized just right.

As far as bracing and boat control as mention in a previous post. I think shorter is better for that too. Consider the white water paddlers and what they need to do. They are less interested in forward speed efficiency, but they really need great boat control and bracing so they use short paddles.

Stroke Change?
How many of you change from a high to low angle stroke in any particular outing or between outings? I don’t go out with the intention of using a high or low angle stroke from one trip to the next? My stoke is my stroke. This string is news to me?

Yep, and everything in between
Depends on what I’m doing. At default/moderate pace in mild conditions, what I mostly do, I mostly go to my default/moderate stroke which is somewhere in between. Even then I change it up a bit for variety/endurance. Also like to have differnt paddles along…

That’s me
I got what I felt was an unexpected comment last weekend. We were lily-dipping along, and I was using a euro paddle. An experienced paddler using a greenland paddle came up alongside and told me I was using almost a perfect greenland paddle stroke with my big blades, and we got a good chuckle out of it. She said my elbows were staying in, paddle low, and torso rotation. I’m sure my stroke varied readily shortly thereafter catching waves in the partial clapotis in the Frying Pan Shoals. I hit one perfectly. I took a short ride down into the trough, and then a wave came under the bow so that the bow and stern waves met just in front of the cockpit. It made that loud, deep popping sound, I dropped into a deep trough, and after landing at the bottom, water came pouring down from the sky on top of me. It was quite cool from where I was sitting. I think that would be a cool picture of someone from right in front, catching the spray bursting into the air, perfectly split, with a paddler sitting in the middle.

Sorry…off subject. I guess I just wanted to share a fun moment. My point was to agree with varying paddling angle at different points during the same trip. I was using a 220 cm. I’ve found that to be my favorite length so far, with 215 and 225 as acceptable alternatives. I paddle a lot, but am pretty sure I’d fall in the camp of never realizing if a cm or two were added or subtracted from a 220. Doesn’t mean someone else wouldn’t notice though.