newbee here! I resently picked up my first ww boat- a used “old school” perception pirouette ss. The only paddles i have are 220/230s i use for my necky manitou 13 and perception tandem which will not work for me with the pirouette. Im am looking for a good paddle in the $200-350 range. I am male of 30 years, 5’8, 150lbs, small hands, longer than average arms, and a shorter than average torso length (all limbs). The pirouette ss is about 10’long and has a 23/24" beam. After more exp. I will be doing mostly 2-6 hours of small creek and river runing in class I-II with lengthy flatwater stretches. I dont see myself doing many playboat tricks with this boat at my exp level. What paddle length and blade design/size do you suggest i start with first? The only paddles available for me to demo are werners. Any and all suggestions and thoughts are much needed and appreciated!!
The Pirouette is a great boat, (edited comment re playboating)... you'll love it for places where there are long flat stretches. It's pretty fast.
As to paddle length - I am 5'4" and paddle a a 191 cm for the class 1 and 2 WW I've done so far, probably could/should probably go to 188 cm. I suspect guys your height are going to come in saying up to 194 cm, but wait and see.
And a very durable paddle of plastic or similarly tough material. Foam core paddles don't do well at bashing rocks.
Celia, a Pirouette will do enders that
would make your heart stop, and it will smash you into the ground on a slalom course.
Paddle length… probably around 196-198. I use a 206 on similar “long” boats, but I’m much taller.
In class 1 and 2 though?
I have a very similar boat. It’s
a Seda Crest and is 11’ by 23". I use an Aquabound paddle that is a fiberglass shaft with plastic blades. The feather angle is 45 degrees and the length is 200 cm.
I wouldn’t go any longer than that. My boat is almost identical in looks to a Piroutte and I agree, that shape hull is fast and turns on a dime. The difficult part is paddling it in a straight line.
The designer of the Pirouette was
considered an ardent playboater. Of course as designs have evolved, so has the repertoire if what playboaters can do.
I’m not sure what you wanted to know about class 1 and 2. There are certainly many play opportunities on class 2 waters, and modern short playboats are better able to take advantage of these than old school playboats like the Pirouette and Aeroquatic. The old school boats are better for slamming from eddy to eddy and doing slalomish things.
what i was trying to say was:
since i am a beginner i will more likely be using the piro to read and understand whitewater currents and learn boat control before i focus on mastering tricks. In the future i will probably pick up a second boat more in tune with todays arsenal of tricks. I am mainly concerned in buying a paddle that will fit me and my boat. Werner’s website as well as others classify blade designs and sizes as “playboat model” or "river/creek runner or “all purpose blade design.” The piro is considered an “old school” style playboat, which are not the marketing focus in the boat world these days. My question is: using todays terminology, which “new style” paddle would match my “old style” boat. Is this a legite question or am i over analizing. I thought about getting a river runner type paddle that matches my boating interests more. But on the other hand would the piro handle better using a paddle geared towards playboating which the piro is/used to be?
Well, you might go down to 192 if you
anticipate changing to a short new school playboat in the near future. But enjoy the Pirouette. It will do things that the newer boats can’t do. Including booming enders.
What I meant, paddle type
What I meant -
First was that enders that I've seen pictured in the older, longer boats were in higher class water than class 1 and 2. Hence my impression that you needed more force of water, and the OPer specified that they'd be in class 1 and 2. Obviously I can be way wrong there.
As to paddle type -
My WW paddle is actually H2O's freestyle rather than river running blade, the diff being that there is a little more surface on their river runner blade. It was on sale and it felt great in my hands from the first moment. The guy at the paddle shop felt it'd be OK for me river running because at 5'4" I am an altogether smaller sized package on the water anyway. (Boat is an Inazone 220.) But some may disagree with that.
The paddle's been fine in class 1 and 2 WW. Issues have been due to the paddler, not the equipment.
You need to carry a spare anyway, so you could always make that a slightly longer or bigger-bladed paddle.
Most WW paddlers don’t carry spares,
except on creekish ventures where paddle breakage is more likely and being without is problematic. I’m sure we’re unrealistic and irresponsible, but in my long experience, paddle breakage and loss are quite infrequent.
Spares normal in my cohort
Regardless of other peoples’ habits, having a spare would give the OPer an option for the longer paddle that some are recommending for the Pirouette.
And perhaps it’s who I paddle with - when on WW there are relatively few without a spare under the float bags in my cohort including some who are good class 5 paddlers. It is likely that, for those of us who are beginning WW paddlers from a long boat background, we are carrying over a habit of spares. But the class 5 paddlers have them under the float bags as reliably in class 2 teaching runs as in bigger stuff.
So our group is odd…
Look at the Aquabound Shred I think you can get it in 192 or 193.
Call Patrick at Ono Paddles and have him make you a 192 Whitewater/surfblade paddle. If you don’t use it in rocks it will be fine.
I’m your height. You will be fine with a 193 - would not go longer than 197.