Paddle Length

Hi, I’m new to the board. I’ve had a canoe for a couple of years, but just got a kayak. I’m not sure what length paddle I should get. I’ve checked all the charts and I’m between a 220 and 230 on most. (for low angle) I’m 6’1 and my boat is 23.5" wide. (Tsunami 160) Since I’m borderline between both sizes, is there a general rule of which way to go when in doubt? I know a demo would be the best option, but I don’t have anywhere to do so. My current paddle came with my boat (craigslist) and it’s way too short. It’s actually a WW paddle. I kind of want to go with the 220 as I could see myself getting a narrower boat one day. (I plan to get a nice paddle.)

I know you can’t give me a definite answer, but maybe a little help. Thanks

Why not get an adjustable one?
Even Aquabound has telescoping ferrules these days.

I agree with Frank. I like mine.

Go with a 4 piece Lendal
and or an adjustable length paddle. You can just buy a new shaft for the Lendal, and 4 piece breaks down for travel.

when in doubt
I would go with the shorter option. Many people tend to go to shorter paddles over time, it seems. You already mentioned a more narrow boat as a potential option.

I started with a 230, then bought a 220, then bought an adjustable (always used it at its shortest length of 215), and now am happy with a 210.

I found the Epic paddle wizard to be a good start. For what it’s worth I’m 6’ 1 and 3/4 and paddle a 23 1/2 wide boat Delta. I quite like my Onno full tour adjustable from 212-222 with a lever lock. I seem to be keeping it on 7 lately which is 219cm.

I started with a 240 and now have an
Onno that adjusts from 217-227.

Conditions matter
I’m 6’-2" and have many paddles to choose from; when I know I’m probably going to be in a lot of wind and rough conditions, I want a longer shaft (230). Depending on the boat, there are some operations that just take pure force and the longer shaft allows better leverage. Playing in big waves and surfing, I’ve found that you can’t have too strong a shaft, so I would caution about adjustable length ferrules.

If you’re mostly paddling in relatively calm water, the paddle only needs to be long enough to allow full submersion of the blade for your paddling style.

Thanks for all the help. I was thinking the 220 would probably be the way to go. From what I’ve read, people tend to go from a longer to shorter paddle much more than the opposite. I’ll probably go with a 220 or an adjustable.

The real variable to consider is…
the shaft length best suited to you and your boat(s). Unfortunately, the industry is generalised around overall length which fails to consider the various blade shapes and dimensions.

My Werner Shuna at 210cm has a shaft over two inches longer than my Werner Ikelos 210cm due to the larger and longer blades of the latter. Actual shaft length is an important aspect of paddle sizing that’s not discussed as often as it should be.

Patrick Onno understands this well and incorporates shaft length into his analysis and recommendations. I believe this is one of the reasons he has a long list of happy clients. They have paddles that fit them - both in terms of length and blade size.

I’ve been using one of his Full Tour paddles for the last month now and I’m very impressed. I’m 6’2" and paddle boats 20-22" wide. I planned on ordering a 215-225cm shaft but after a few discussions regarding my paddling scenarios Pat recommended a shorter 210-220cm range. I’ve been paddling for decades and have a pretty damned good idea of what I want and need but Pat’s call was the better one and I’m glad I took his advice. The paddle is sweet and the range is perfect.

It sounds as if you’re going to be getting more involved with kayaking and a good paddle is an important part of the kit as well as a big investment for most of us. The modern adjustable shafts give us a lot for our hard earned dollars in terms of versatility.

Patrick’s Signature series of paddles represent quite a bargain in the current market considering the adjustable shaft, fully adjustable ferrule and excellent carbon fibre construction suitable for a wide range of conditions/usage. Additionally, one gets a personal evaluation and recommendation to insure a good fit.

I’m a long time Werner fan but I think Pat’s got a better product. I believe it would be well worth your time to touch base with him and discuss paddles.

Good luck and pleasant waters to ya.

My experience is that
shorter ends up being more comfortable for most people. I had an Onno and loved it. Sold it only because I made the switch to a Greenland paddle and I’ve not looked back. Onno is highly recommended.