Paddle length

So it was such a nice day today I went out with my new tempest 165 and 210cm werner shuna paddle which I had never used before and kept feeling like it was too long.

Most of the time the water line was a good 3 inches about the blade of the paddle on each side when I took a stroke; It felt a little unwieldy. Is this paddle too long for me ( 5’8" ) and this boat? Is the blade supposed to dip that far into the water on each stroke?

Sounds …
like maybe your stroke is parallel and close to the hull? Ideally, the paddle should angle away from the hull. As a reference point, the paddle should follow along the “V” caused by the bow wake.

I’m 5’8" and use a 210 with 21-23" wide boats and it works fine for me. You could try a 205. Nothing wrong with that.



What size is your old paddle?
You mentioned this was your first time using the 210 Shuna and that it felt too long. What size paddle have you been using? Are you a high-angle paddler, low-angle or something in between? I am 5’ 3" tall and use a 210 Shuna and haven’t had a problem. I have a fairly high angle stroke and, contrary to what Wetzool said, I usually keep the paddle fairly parallel to my boat on the forward stroke. It seems that angly\ing out would make it more difficult to track stright. I would also double check your hand placement on the shaft. Maybe that’s affecting how deep the blade goes.

There isn’t anything wrong with the
blade being a few inches under during the stroke. I’m a high angle paddler, and because of my height, I use a 206 cm paddle in my whitewater kayaks. I try not to exceed a 45 degree angle during the stroke, the high angle style notwithstanding.

If your Shuna shaft is more vertical than 45 degrees, you might work on cutting down to 45 degrees and see if the paddle’s length feels better. It is possible that you will end up a shorter paddle, but that would be toward the low end of what people your size are using.

I was using…
a skaggit before and didn’t really care for low angle paddling.

Similar experience with the Shuna
I’m 5’4" and bought a 205 Shuna, which is the shortest length. It does paddle long; I feel like a 200 would be the right length. A 205 Cypress feels fine, so blade shape must have something to do with it.

I bought the Shuna because it was supposedly a high-angle paddle, but my experience with it suggests it’s somewhere between low & high angle.

As soon as I can afford it, I’m going to get a different paddle and use the Shuna as a spare.

A 210 sounds about right for most people on a boat like that. I’m 6’, use a high angle stroke parallel with the boat (which is about the same width as yours), and prefer a 210.

Paddles shorter than that aren’t very common (in my experience). I’m also wondering if hand placement might be part of it - too close together?

I was…
using a very high angle at some points, probably almost 60 degrees or so where my top hand was at my forehead lvl.

It’s very nice out today as well so I might go out and try and focus on using a 45 degree angle.

The Shuna has a short blade, which makes
the shaft of the paddle seem longer.

I will…
have to play close attention to width and maybe put some electrical tab on the proper spots to remind me where they are.

I did try widening my grip to what I thought was a little too wide but it did feel a little better.

my experience
I’m 6’ and I like a 205 cm Shuna and a 205 cm Ikelos.

Basically it comes down to personal preference. At your size I think you could try 210 or 205, but you really just have to see what size works for you. I’d recommend just using the paddle you’ve got for half dozen days before deciding you do or don’t like it. Sometimes it takes a bit to get used to a new paddle shape, and what feels weird now might feel great after some time.

If you want guidance about your stroke with the new paddle, nothing beats spending a day with a reputable coach.

My 5’4" girlfriend
uses a 200 euro paddle and a 211 Greenland paddle.

paddle length
To avoid injury you lower arm should parallel to the water with the blade fully immersed If you have to bend you elbow to immerse the blade fully this forces you wrist to bend, putting pressure on it. So in order to figure out the optimum length of the paddle simply measure down from the bottom of you hand to the water, while sitting in your boat. This distance then should be the distance between from the bottom of you hand and the blade. Add that measurement to the shaft distance in between your hands and you should have the correct shaft length, which is all you should be concerned about. Any recommendations that using your standing height, inseam length or astrological sign to determine paddle length should be viewed questionably. I have a short video clip on my website that demonstrates this method at elements


Great advice

At your height, 210 sounds too short
even for a high angle stroke.

Could it be your paddle stroke ?

jack L


– Last Updated: Nov-15-10 8:53 AM EST –

Everyone I know who is using a high angle paddle like the shuna prefers either a 210 or 205 length - from people over 6' to people just over 5'. IMO she's definitely not using a paddle that's too short. Also Werner's paddle fit guide suggests a 205 for someone the size of the OP, for whatever that's worth.

I think she's probably in the right ball park, and after getting used to this new paddle, may decide it's right, or needs to be a bit shorter.

I have never used that paddle, but if

– Last Updated: Nov-15-10 8:36 PM EST –

it is no different than other paddles, I'll stick to my post.

And when I see in their fit guide that if you are between (5'4" and 6'); that spread is way too much to recommend accurately.
No way would a person that short properly use the same paddle as a 6 footer

Jack L

I went out…
Yesterday and probably paddled 6 miles or so with it at 45 degree which felt more comfortable but is this still considered high angle?

Given that this is my 5 time paddling, including an all day beginner course, It very well could be my stroke. I’m trying very hard to maintaine my torso rotation and hand placement but I dont really have anyone I know who can observe and tell me if its all wrong.

Shuna/Cypress Similar?
If I’m not mistaken, these two paddle models are both high angle, and the blades are similar if not just the same in shape. The construction is a bit different given the foam core of the Cyress vs. the fiberglass/no core of the Shuna.

It seems curious that they feel so different to you at the same length. Try holding them up together to see if the blade shape is the same.


Atlantic Kayak Tours

high angle/low angle
Hi Delerious,

Since you are new and very interested in starting out right here are couple of things to consider. The lower the angle of your stroke the more your boat will tend to yaw and the more it yaws the more corrective your next stroke has to be. This will diminish your efficiency.

The key element to an efficient forward stroke is the path of the upper hand regardless of the angle. The upper should remain parallel to the waters surface throughout the stroke. When your upper hand dives, so does the blade in the water, making the blades extraction(some call this part the recovery) less efficient. I hope this helps get you going in the right direction. Remember, there will be lots of people willing to give you advice and I would recommend finding out whether the advice actually works for you or not.

Happy paddling.