paddles with length adjustment

More and more paddles coming onstream with length and feather adjustments (epic is a good example). Anybody use these and why?

I wouldn’t use any thing but …
an adjustable one.

All my old non adjustable ones are just spares.

Head out into the ocean with large waves and high winds and it is nice to be able to adjust the length and feather.

Load the yak down for a long camping trip and it is nice to be able to change the length.

It is a luxury, but I like it

Jack L

Adjustable Length
Adjustable length paddles are all two-piece paddles (good for portablility). For the negatives, adjustable length adds weight since the shaft needs to be longer than a one piece for support, and the adjustment mechanism adds a small amount of weight.

That said, they are very common even among racers (who often scrutinize every ounce) due to their advantages.

I adjust my wing paddles on the fly often, even during a race – it takes only a moment. Shorten into the wind, lengthen going downwind, etc. It allows you to “change gears” depending on weather, how you are feeling, etc. I don’t adjust my feather angle (I use unfeathered) but an adjustable paddle lets you set any feather angle you choose, rather than a few preset “standards”.

Adjustable length also allows you to adjust for a different kayak as different seat height, deck height, kayak width calls for a different paddle length.

I would even prefer to use an adjustable length on my carbon Greenland paddles if any manufacturer was enlightened enough to offer it. But with a GP you can use a sliding stroke of the paddle shaft is too short.

I wouldn’t buy any wing or spoon blade that did not offer an adjustable length shaft. I’m very sensitive to paddle length, even a centimeter of adjustment makes a noticeable difference.

Greg Stamer

Different boat widths and conditions
If you have the luxury of having different boats (width of boats) having adjustable paddle lengths is a luxury to maintain your paddling form.

If you often paddle in shallow depth water it can force you to alter your stroke if you are a high angle paddler, making a longer paddle an advantage.

A good paddle is often just as expensive as an entry level recreational kayak, having some adjustability is a good way to cut down on the cost of doubling up on a favorite paddle.

we have one, but don’t use
My girlfriend has an Onno (non-wing), which has a 10 cm adjustment. It was good to get a feel for how long a paddle she wants to use, but once that was figured, we never changed it.

We have actually moved on. She prefer larger blades than what the Onno had, and a shorter length. So that Onno doesn’t get used much any more.

For variation, I generally carry two paddles. One large blade short shaft for rock gardening and surfing. One slightly longer and smaller blade for distance. Whichever I am not using I carry as my spare.

I use the Epic Relaxed Tour length
adjustable full carbon with burgundy (flexible) shaft and haven’t tried anything I like better.

I can use it short for the kayak or long for the solo canoe.

I have two different length ranges in the same paddle to accommodate all my boat widths and seat heights.

Hey Greg …
Not to change the subject, but congrats on your Everglades challenge!

Jack L

I paddle 3 different boats on a regular basis, width and length vary.

I’ve got 3 wings, all length and feather adjustable, but blade sizes are different. Also have a kid’s paddle that Pat of ONNO custom made for me. Small plastic blades and carbon 2 piece, adjustable shaft. Last year I converted a one piece paddle to a two piece adjustable length and feather.

EC 2014
Thanks Jack! I didn’t win my class this year in the 300 miler due to solid competition and persistent sleep / food issues (it was hot and my Perpetuem mix kept spoiling), but I will work to resolve the latter two issues next time!


Blame Patrick Cooley of Onno Paddles
Because until the introduction of his Onno Lever Lock, all adjustable paddles had crude adjustments. The Onno Lever Lock was accurate and simple to operate without much hassle, especially in heavy seas racing long distance. The Onno Lever Lock revolutionized the world of two piece telescoping paddles and all the major paddle makers have switched over to this design.

As for single bladed canoe paddle, our adjustable Onno outrigger shaft can be adjusted from 47 inches, that my daughter prefers, to 52 inches that I use. So both of us can use the same paddle.