Paddles and Shoulder Injuries

Just curious of how many paddlers have had shoulder problems (or other injuries) from using paddles not suited well for them. I have good technique and have been wanting to move up to the Ikelos but the size of the blade makes me nervous. Has this paddle given anyone problems? I am well conditioned but smaller framed and do not want risk an injury that could keep me out of paddling. I have heard nothing but great things from this paddle but has anyone tried this paddle and felt overpowered? Thank you for any information

What paddle are you using now? What do you like/dislike about it?

Have you tried the Cyprus?

more stress with bigger blade
It may not be your shoulders, but sometimes elbows, but there is more stress. If you train hard for racing or such then the Ikelos could be good for you, but otherwise I think you’ll find you can go as far as fast as most folks using a smaller blade. I do like larger one though as a spare and use it on long following seas days.

Depends on how you paddle
If you rotate (really rotate with your belly moving back and forth) and use your core muscles then your likelihood of stress and other problems is reduced. If you arms paddle, you will be in trouble.

Aquabound Eagle Ray
I am using the eagle ray but have not used the Cyprus. The eagle ray is a good paddle but lacks the acceleration and power I want for training and sprints. I’ve been told most people prefer the Ikelos over the Cyprus and can’t go wrong with one for that type of paddling. Trying one or the other on the water would be difficult for me and I want to make the right purchase the first time based on how expensive they are. I have good rotation, angle, and loose grips but the size still makes me hesitant. Thanks for the information so far

I’d suggest the Cypress
The Cyprus blade is plenty big for someone our size. I use a Shuna in glass but will get a Cyprus when I can afford it. The Ikelos is huge and unless you have really good technique you do run the risk of strain injuries. It’s not called the Shoulder-Wrecker for nothing.

It may help if you think more of
planting the blade against an immovable object and then pulling the boat forward. Even with a large blade, if you avoid thinking about ripping the blade through the water, but of pulling the boat forward while grasping un unmoving handhold with the paddle, you will have less tendency to yank and hurt your shoulder. Also, DO rotate, but shorten your stroke a bit. The key work is done in a surprisingly short zone.

Nice Paddle - Other thoughts

– Last Updated: Aug-02-11 11:37 PM EST –

How windy is it where you will be paddling? The big blades do catch the wind, smaller blades are less stress on your joints, but shoulder issues are usually not because of large paddle blades but because of how you paddle.

If you are going to be pushing hard for race times look at some other choices. Onno Wing paddles for example . I like the Onno Full tour for plenty of power for ocean touring. Don't know current pricing but probably a better deal. I have a werner paddle I use as a spare.

Beeg blades…

– Last Updated: Aug-04-11 8:05 AM EST –

I went to a Werner Cyprus from an Epic that had blades sized similarly to the Ikelos. In fact the Ikelos was Werner's answer to that Epic paddle. Both are very light, foam core, and both are high angle. They are about as comparable as you are going to get across two makers.

I was instantly faster with the smaller Cyprus blade because the blade size is better suited to my size and strength, so I can pick up the cadence as needed. And I am not killing myself to do it. If I try the same with the larger Epic blade I am fighting it because it is grabbing more water than I can pull. I am not a big person but I am not a weakling - I do volunteer horse care twice a week as in cleaning stalls.

I made the change before incurring any shoulder injury, so I don't know that would have been an outcome from staying with the bigger blade. But being both faster and less tired at the end of a paddle with the Cyprus is great.

You like to sprint a bigger blade isn’t better. If you find yourself overpowering your blade then maybe. For instance I recently enlarged the blade I paddle a bit because I found myself hitting a wall in terms of speed and I had plenty of energy left to give to each stroke. Cadence and technique will have more effect. If you paddle long distances the smaller the better.

Ryan L.

Shoulder Mechanics Visualization
Understand how your shoulder works - then protect it

Strengthening those vulnerable shoulders is a good idea

When paddling, the power from the power stroke should

come from the trunk,legs, and larger muscles of the body

–versus the arms, forearms, and wrists.

A massive “lever” occurs as hand/arms are extended

away from the body and outside forces like waves

can rip that rotator cuff quite easily.

Shoulder injuries occur easily in kayaking

due to improper technique.

“Attempt to keep the arms tucked in close to the body”

is good advice for beginners.

The shoulders excessive mobility and inherent

lack of stability make the shoulder very vulnerable.

think of it this way
Think of your arms as immovable protrusions from your torso (“paddler’s box”).

If the blade is too large for you to move your boat through the water by rotating your torso to engage the paddle, then the blades are probably too big or wide.

You might be surprised at the force you can generate from your torso given good fit and fotpegs.

Get a Cyprus

– Last Updated: Aug-03-11 3:57 PM EST –

After listening to someone yammer about how they were now using their "Grown Up Blades" ie a Werner Ikelos so they could go "faster" and "keep up", I immediately contacted one of the coaches I've worked with asking if I should move up to an Ikelos.

Absolutely NOT,the coach emailed me back. Not with your size and shoulder issues.

I'm not a large lady and I have a creaky right shoulder; my nickname on the water was "Turtle Woman". However, I've also spent the past two years doing strength and stamina training, plus working very hard on my forward stroke so I could go "faster" and "keep up". There has been a marked improvement, although the AvocetLV does has a "faster" hull than the RomanyLV.

I'm still paddling with a Cyprus (205; I'm thinking of going down to a 200), which is light and allows me to increase my cadence. A bigger blade might well cause injury and, due to the size, perhaps even slow me down.

Like many things in kayaking, it's in the engine not the housing.

Bigger blades will put more stress on your joints especially if your cranking on them. You need to think of the cadence you like to paddle at .

Bigger blades =slower cadence unless you have the engine.

I was using a Correyvrecken and found them too big for me as I struggled to get them up to the cadence I like. I took the surface area down ( no foam core ), I get less tired and speed is up.

Excellent advice
Do any taller paddlers use a 205 Cyprus? How are the hands positions on the bent shaft compared to that of a 210? I’m 5’10 and have the nordkapp. My 210 paddles work fine but was just wondering how a 205 felt

Depends on your angle maybe
5 cm was noticeable to me when I shortened up, but I was going from a high angle paddle to a high angle paddle. The only diff I notice is that the shorter paddle is easier to keep at a better cadence, but then again it’s also smaller blades so hard to guess the chicken and the egg here.

Bent Shaft Length
Are the bent shaft paddles the same overall length as straight shafts? Would a bent 210 be a few inches shorter than a straight 210? Thank you for the help and sorry if these questions have already been answered

No idea…
…as I’ve always used a straight shaft. However, a quick look at the Werner Paddle website should help you out.

They also have excellent customer service and, no, I don’t work for Werner, I’ve just always used their paddles.

Cypress most popular
Of all the paddlers I know, the Cyprus is the most popular paddle size, not the Ikelos. I’m the only one using an Ikelos regularly - I’m 6’ 190#, and very wiry.

I found that my cadence was too fast with the cyprus. The 210 Ikelos is a good fit for me, and allows powerful maneuvering strokes and a good top speed.

I’d be surprised if someone who describes themselves as small framed would benefit from a big-area blade. Trying both would be best, but if you really can’t test them, I think the Cyprus is a safer guess.

Listen to the voices of experience.
Those that speak of body rotation and blade size are right on target. Form is extremely important.

For years I didn’t put a lot of emphasis on body rotation when paddling (my bad!), but finally began to remind myself to pay attention. What a big difference.

As to blades and their size, as well as overall paddle length, I’ve found this too can make a huge difference. For myself and my paddling style (per my torso heighth, arm length, and boat width) I use slim AT paddles. When paddling wider boats, I may change to a different length paddle.

Paddles like boats can make for an enjoyable or unenjoyable paddling experience. Also remember folks; our boats are not recliners. Posture too is important.

If you paddle with others, ask if you can try their paddle.

May you find that ‘happy point’ so your paddling experience is a good one.