Paddle length

I plan on buying a recreational kayak which is 30.5 inches wide. In looking at Werner’s length guide for my height 5’6", it says a 230cm paddle correct is the correct length. I will only be paddling on a small lake (1000 acres) so I decided on a Werner Kalliste paddle for it’s light size. Just want to make sure that 230cm is correct.

Even though that is a wide boat, at …
your height I would get a 220



My rec yak is 24 inches wide, and I was sold the 230 size palldes. Since this was my first season paddling i had no idea of what to buy and went with the outfitters adivce.

After paddling a few months I was not happy, with my paddling/boat control. So I tried out any paddle I could get a hold of and settled on a bending branches paddle at 220.

After this season of paddling with the Bending Branches 220 glide I am finally happy with my boat control.

We have all "been there -done that"
But at least you now have a spare that can also be used as a beater paddle



230 is good
That’s a good size for what you’ve got. I wouldn’t recommend any other size. I use the Ikelos and Cyprus for kayak fishing.

Kalliste is a very nice $ paddle
and is meant for a low angle stroke so a 230 may be a good size on that wide boat. Either size (230 or 220) will work. If you later decide to change boats Werner can cut it down to whatever size you decide on. Easier to do on a straight shaft as opposed to a bent shaft.

How do you plan to padle?

– Last Updated: Nov-13-09 12:40 PM EST –

If you plan to paddle more vigorously, I would definitely consider a little shorter paddle, unless your boat have you sitting way high above the water or if your side deck is too tall and obstructing you from reaching down towards the water.

Even with the rental tandems I've used, which are probably about 30" wide, I've done just fine with 220 or even 210 paddles and 230 was too much for me (and I'm 6'4"). The paddle length also depends on the model. The Ikelos or Cyprus for me would be ideally the 215 length but the Kalliste closer to 220.

Note that, a 220 Kalliste will have longer blades but similar length shaft as the 210 Ikelos probably. And the *shaft* length is what matters more than the overall length, especially for a low angle paddle.

Kalliste is an expensive paddle when bought new (good but still a lot of $$$) and if you are likely to soon upgrade your kayak to a less than 30" boat, you might consider getting a shorter or adjustable length paddle since the 230 will definitely be too long and not work well for the typical 20-25" sea kayak for your height.

Kayak type
Thanks everyone. The Kayaks we will be buying are the Wilderness Systems Tarpon 100 sit-on-top kayaks. I am 58 as is my wife and we will be kayaking at a leisurely pace. Just wanted to make sure the 230 wouldn’t be too long of a paddle.

Paddle length
Lots of people sell their too-long paddles in order to move shorter. No one ever moves longer. 220 is pretty long.

difference of opinion – I prefer longer
Take it or leave it, but I’ve had the opposite experience with paddle length (all flatwater river, ocean and lake paddling.) I’m 5’ 5" with short arms and upper body and have found through trial and error that I prefer a longer paddle, especially with any wider kayak that sits higher. I started with a 220 cm Werner Sultan per the outfitters recommendation 8 years ago with my first boat, a fairly low riding folder with a 24" beam. I quickly found I didn’t like it and traded up to a 230 which I used for years. Then I bought a used boat and the guy threw in a 240 Sultan with it which I only used as a loaner to taller friends at first. Then one day I used it myself and found it worked better with the higher cockpit boat I was then using. I didn’t bang my knuckles on the gunwales as often and was able to get a deeper, more powerful stroke.

I think with shorter arms and shoulder height you need a longer, not shorter paddle to get the geometry of your reach to the water right without banging the gunwales. These are blade style paddles I’ve been talking about. I also use a Greenland paddle but that is only 213 cm (different style paddling but also longer than the “standard” sizing would be for my physical height) and I mostly use it with a 21" beam low-volume Greenland style boat.

I really don’t believe you can generalize about paddle size based on height alone. There is no subsitute for trying varying lengths with your own gear and skill set.

Epic Wizard - try that for an estimate

– Last Updated: Nov-13-09 12:50 PM EST –

I think you should also try the Epic web site for the paddle length wizard. It is more comprehensive than the Werner one and I trust it more.

For you (based on my guestimates from the info you provided), it came with a 218cm length for Epic's relaxed touring paddle.

Ultimately, it is up to you to decide what feels good and as some others pointed out, you might just as well be happy with a 230 paddle. If you are going at a relaxed pace, I do not think it really matters much anyway. Any odd stick of any length that does not weigh a ton would do -;)

It’s okay
It’ll certainly make the boat move forward. When you paddle with others test out other lengths and learn what feels good to you. In my experience, paddling a wide boat with a low angle usually means about 220 to 230cm.


especially sit on tops
Sounds to me like with a wide sit on top - where you are sitting pretty high off the water - a longer paddle like a 230 would be about right.

I know of folks who have used a 220 a couple times and switched to a 230 and the other way around. So all of the charts and recommendations are a starting point. I think the Werner info is pretty good.

On a forum like this you will find many different opinions on paddle length. It can be a hot topic.

No Joe borrow one first!

I’m in NC and will lend you a paddle to try. Those charts are all wrong! Please borrow a paddle that is 230 before you buy one. I’ve got two or three extra paddles around and folks thew them in for free when I bought their used boats because they were too long.

Many white water boats are almost that wide and they use paddles closer to 200cm. Racers used paddles between 205 and 210.

Look up the Carolina Kayak Club online and come to a meeting, we’d be glad to have you.

Hi Frank. Thanks for the offer. The problem is I can get a very good discount if I buy the kayak and paddle as a package together. I’m down in the Seven Lakes area and live on Lake Auman outside of Pinehurst. Great input from everyone, as a newbie kayaker I appreciate all the information I can get.

Go ahead and buy them together
but don’t pick up the paddle until you’ve decided on the length you want. See if they’ve got some used loaner paddled for you to try on your first time out. Then go back and pick the size you want.

In the beginning I was just happy to be paddling but after a couple years I needed longer boats to go faster and farther. And then I wanted shorter paddles for the longer days. I think you can make anything work fine for and hour or two or calm water paddling.

Also try yo test paddle the Tarpon 140. If you can easily lift them and afford them, you will like them better in the long run. They still turn fine but are much faster than the Tarpon 100.

At some point,I realized my 240 was
too long,so I did as suggested.I rented a 220 and 230 to try in my Tarpon.Both worked great except I constantly whacked my knuckles on the boat with the 220.