picking out a good/ great paddle

Hey there,

I know there are a bunch of post about picking out a kayak on this message board… What about paddles though?

I work p/t as a guide and have been doing some multi day trips & hope to do more. I’m using a fiberglass shaft & plastic blade Aquabound which is nice but I’m thinking about getting something with a bit more punch/ maybe lighter?? But I have never found my paddle “heavy”

Most of my kayaking is 4 hr day trips and on multi day stuff I don’t do more paddling than that…

Any reccomendations / suggestions… Another thing I’m wondering is longer vs shorter? I use a 225 cm & a 230… I find the 230 one a bit long and a lot of paddles only come in 220 or 230. Should I go shorter?

Thanks for any advice!

Lendall or Werner 210 longest
Also hear great stuff about ONNO. I like my Lendals very much and also my Ikelos from Werner.

For most Sea Kayaks I’d stay at 210 or less.

Good luck…

Need more info
You don’t say what kind of boat you are paddling and what your height is and the conditions where you are paddling.

If you are in a regular sea kayak, that 230 sounds too long.

If you can afford it, get an adjustable Epic “Length -Lock”. They come in 10 cm increments. Possibly get one that adjusts from 210 to 220.

A lighter paddle is naturally better than a heavy one, but you will pay more for a lighter one, and if you are guiding on rocky rivers, you might want a heavier one for it’s strength.



ONNO paddles
Lots of power, lightweight, great price. He’ll make it to any length ya want. Plus, he’s got the adjustable length option. Works for me.

Choosing a paddle
My thoughts on this are at http://www.touringkayaks.com/choosing_a_paddle.htm

and yes Pat at Onno makes a pretty decent paddle (I’ll say “great” paddle once he agrees to take me on as a dealer again!) :wink:

I second the Ikelos that Salty
mentioned above. I’m 5’9" and use a 210. My dealer wouldn’t sell me a 215 with my height and a 22" beam. The dealer is somewhere near 6’ and also uses a 210.

Length Lock or equiv
My forward stroke seems to be always evolving, so when I was ready to spend real money on a paddle I got an Epic Active Tour Full Carbon Length Lock. Both length and feather is fully adjustable.

When I bought my first paddles years ago I was shown the traditional manner of deciding length and got 230s. (I am 6’ tall) I was also taught to feather my paddle.

I now paddle at 216 unfeathered. I had brought the length down to 212, but Ben Lawry suggested I try a bit longer and 216 seems a good length for my current forward stroke. (My new ww paddle is 197).

It has been very useful for me to not have to replace my paddle as my stroke evolves. Though I like the Epic Active Tour blade a lot, one has to really try different blades and shafts to see what feels right. Onno, Epic, Werner, and Lendal all make good paddles.

Second that
I love my Onno paddle (Carbon signature 210-220 adjustable mid-tour+). The thing about Pat is, you may think you know what you want, but he knows what you NEED.

you have a good dealer…
There’s still kayak retailers out there that will sell a 230 cm paddle to people our height.

Make that 3 votes for ONNO
Great paddles, great service, great price. Tough to beat that combination!

my local dealer…
…sold me a 240 for my first paddle. He said that because I’m 6’ and have a 23" wide boat I couldn’t go with a paddle any shorter. I haven’t bought anything from that dealer since. Now, I’m using a 215 Nimbus Kiska now and like it a lot

Stick with Aqua Bound
I do day, multi day and extended trips and I like Aqua Bound’s 230cm Manta Ray preferring the strength of the blade and shaft.

if you like 220cm and you have a
low angle paddling style I would suggest the AT Ergo Tour OS or the AT Xception SL OS.

You will hear a lot of suggestions/advice when it comes to selecting a paddle. Always take into consideration your paddling style and what type of trips you will be doing.

Height is important but it is your seated height that is really what you want to measure. Seated height would be from your butt to your shoulders. Also measure your arm span. And then compare that to width of your kayak.

For example, paddler A could be 6’2" with a really long torso and short arms, paddler B could be 6’2" with really long legs and long arms. Paddling kayaks of equal widths and using the same paddling style, Paddler A would probably do better with a longer paddle than Paddler B.

If you are 5’9" then you will probably want a shorter paddle than someone who is 6’2". Unless you are in a wider kayak and find it difficult to get the paddle blades in the water cleanly. Then you would want a longer paddle to give you more reach to the water. A taller person’s arms would give them the extra reach to get the blades into the water, so they wouldn’t necessarily need a longer paddle in a wider kayak.

That’s 4 votes now!

Go small

– Last Updated: Aug-02-07 2:07 PM EST –

I use a 208cm Eddy Windswift as my main paddle. I also use Greenland Paddles. Work well for me YMMV.

No One Gonna Say It?
I will.

Try a Greenland paddle.

You might never go back.

ONNO for me too
I guess thats 5 votes for ONNO, at least worth researching for that nova scotian water.

look at an Epic Active Tour with length lock. They have adjustable length and feather ferrules. All shaft types are very light weight. Only caveat is that the fiberglass/carbon hybrid blades will not handle the kind of rock bashing abuse that plastic blades like you are used to will.

If he doesn’t come up with a "screw"
type ferrule on his adjustable ones soon, I am going to start bad mouthing his present method.

I have been waiting about a year and have just about given up.

He makes a fantastic paddle, but I would advise against his adjutable one, and those of you who have it have got to know what I mean.



Another vote for Epic Length Lock.
I have a Relaxed Tour with burgundy shaft and like it a lot. So does my wife.