paddle length

After viewing Nigel Foster’s “Vol. 2 Essential Strokes,” I have determined that my 230cm (and my wife’s 220) paddle is too long for my 5’8" 175lb body. The only problem is that when I look at paddle length I find 200,230 & 240, nothing shorter. Am I missing something here?

I paddle a 17’ Perception Eclipse in light to moderate seas.

Shaft length
Your unwetted shaft length plus the blades is the dimention that will work best for you and your style of paddling. Since blades vary in design and size the length can vary quite a bit. I have 2 paddles with the same shaft length but different blade designs and there is a 10cm difference in overall length.

Go with Eric.

– Last Updated: Aug-08-05 10:16 AM EST –

I'm 5'9" and started with a 230 on a 22" wide sea kayak. Next, came a 218 for race boats. I stuck with a 218 for nearly 20 years, until I found out I was really overgeared. I now use a 213 wing with an 18" wide kayak. If you can bury the blade a little before it's even with your knee, you're at a good starting point. Any extra length will only wear you down, take the stroke to far behind your hips & slow the boat. Only you can make the final adjustments for style, boat width and body specs. Good luck!

If you can afford it…
get a “length lock”.

One that adjusts between 210 and 220. In the long run you will make up the cost of buying several padles.

I am an inch taller than you and started out like you did. Way too long.

I now use a 215 for touring and 213 with my wing.



Lendal & Bending Branches
Just two examples of variable length shafts are Lendal and Bending Branches.

If you want to try a “higher end” paddle, check out Lendal. They make a low end of their design with reinforced plastic blades, and fiberglass shafts. The high end of their line is all Carbon Fiber. The nice thing about Lendal is their paddles are 4 piece units. You buy the blades and shafts seperate, and you can mix and match as your needs change. They make a variable length shaft that is really nice. Also their paddle sections join with a snap button, that has a locking screw inside. When you put the paddle together, you tighten the screw and the entire paddle is as solid as a one piece paddle. NO wiggle in the joints at all! Their shafts are available in straight of Crank style, and I love my Lendal Crank! :slight_smile:

Bending Branches make a great line of paddles, and they also have a variable length shaft. Right now they only make a variable straight shaft, but if this works for you, check out their variable length shaft. BB is a great mid grade paddle, and are nicely made. Good Quality!

I started paddling with a 240cm paddle on a 28" wide boat. I went to a 24" wide boat and went to a 230cm paddle. While paddling the 24" boat I could see that I was burying the paddle blade WAY DEEP into the water, so I went to a 215cm length paddle. This worked really well for me then, and and now also in my 22.5" wide boat. I am 5-10" tall.

Hope I have helped!

210 vs 230 vs 240
I use a 210cm and I am 6’2" and paddle a 21 inch wide boat. Its the best for my higher stroke angle and am spoiled and must have a crank shaft.

The 230 is used best for flies and mosquitoes in camp at night, and the 240 for hornets and bears when you want to keep them at a distance.


paddle length
Hard to go wrong with the new Bending Branches telescoping Spirit or Breeze models. Pick your length (210 to 230 cm)and lock em down and there is zero play in the joint. I really like being able to adjust the length for the two boats I paddle. The full carbon Spirit is at least 100 bucks less than most others. I do wish they made it in a crank though.

I e-mailed Bending Branches, and they told me thay were working on a composite type Crank Shaft paddle for 2006.

They would not comment as to “when” in 2006. But they are working on it.