Question re paddle length

I have been trying to make a decision about paddle length for my next one - specifically I want to go to a Werner Cypress to get into something still very light but with less blade surface than my Epic. I need something that makes it a little less strain to switch up cadence than my larger blade Epic.

I’ve tried the Cypress and liked it quite well - I find it to be a pretty flexible paddle so I am sure it’ll work with my angles.

But the next step is length - according to current stuff I probably should be using a 205 cm paddle. I am 5’4", the widest long boat I paddle is 22 1/2 inches.

I tried a friend’s 205 cm Cypress, and aside from Werner’s bent shaft angles not working well for me liked the fit. (I’d go straight shaft). I have set my current paddle to 210 cm and while it works, I keep seeing a little more distance from the hand to the start of the blade than is probably preferable. Definately more than one hand width. I also keep seeing photos where the paddle looks a little long to me these days.

But of course, you can’t make a paddle longer. So I would appreciate hearing from like-sized paddlers, especially women, about what length works for them. I don’t want to order this thing then regret that kind of purchase.

Blades vary in lenght…
So it might work better if you measure the shaft you like. Once the blade is in the water you are swinging the shaft.

Good thought
I will see if I can email Werner to get their shaft lengths, if it’s not on their web site or available to measure up locally. Y’r right, that’s really shat I am seeing.

bent vs straight
hi C. I found that the proper length paddle to be different for bent vs straight shaft paddles. So you might should only compare straight shaft Cypress of various lengths.

Actually it seems to me that the most precise way to know is to get in your widest boat and highest seating position of all your fleet and rotate your torso, place your arms and hands in the highest angle you will ever paddle, i.e., like catching a wave or paddling hard to get across a channel

and look at the blade in the water at stroke entry with your torso all wound up (the paddle will be farther forward than with torso unwound).

This is the least paddle length you can buy to make sure the whole blade is in the water for all your boats. For when you paddle with less torso rotation, at a lower angle, or for wider boats, you should have enough length to still make sure whole blade is in water.

Having a bit extra length does make for less efficiency but not having the whole blade in the water is also quite less efficient. I try to err on the side of not having the ultimately shortest blade as in all practicality, as we paddle and tire out, most of us paddle mid to low angle it seems and this necessitates a bit more paddle length.

Hope thee musing give you some fun in selection. The Cypress is a great great paddle : > )

Simple math
Cypress blade length of 46cm x 2 = 92cm.

Subtract 92cm from total length and you’ll get the functional shaft length. 113 for a 205, 118 for a 210, etc…

Which Epic do you have ?
For sure go for the 205. If the paddles were adjustable suggest 200 - 210 or possibly less for the 22.5" boat for surf / rock type play.

Didn’t know you were using an Epic paddl
Anyway, I use 205cm Shuna and Cyprus, straight shaft regular diameter. I would love to try the same in 200cm, just to compare, but there’s no such thing.

I doubt the 205cm would be too short for you. The people I’ve seen using these paddles in this length ranged from shorter tha me (I’m 5’2") to about 5’6".

have a small diameter straight shaft 210 Cyprus (by Werner) as opposed to a Cypress paddle (which I presume is a GP?). :wink: It’s my winter paddle I use with gloves. I also have a 215 standard diameter straight shaft. I’m smack in the middle on Werner’s hand sizing chart and both diameters feel fine to me. You’re welcome to try them anytime.

Spelling and in answer

– Last Updated: Apr-14-09 12:29 AM EST –

Spelling - Oops Cyprus.

Onno - I believe the Epic is their middle size blade. Length lock, currently 210-220 range. It is, per advice from several and I am beginning to agree, a blade that is on the edge of being too big to be the most efficient for a quick cadence. One thing on the horizon is to send this in to Epic to get it shortened 5cm, but I was thinking of waiting until I had another good blade in hand.

Pikabike - Thanks for the info on your paddles.

Wetzool - I'd like to try that paddle. I might be able to make the jump from that.

Cypress 210, female paddler

– Last Updated: Apr-14-09 9:21 PM EST –

Hi Celia ;-)

you knew I'd check in...

5'3" short torso you are 5'4" IIRC you are one of those alpha females relatively strong in the upper body like pikabike & me :D

I seem to have longer arms than most people my height.

High angle paddler, 60 degrees right and flexy wrists.

My boat is 20" beam, 10.5" deck height.

the 210 Cyprus is working grrreat for me. It's enough blade to get moving, not so big it's shoulder busting.
Drop the drip rings and go ultra light. Swing weight and balance fit for a water diva.

I paddled a 205 also, which sold me on the make.
liked it fine. Could paddle either. The 210 is a little extra bracing insurance. No real diff.

standard shaft is fine for me. My hands are small, but fingers are long enough that my hand size falls right on the Werner diagram line for shaft size. I wear, & suggest, fingerless gloves because they have better grip esp. on supersmooth carbon ferrules like the Werners. I think you do paddle w. gloves...

If your wrists, elbows, shoulders are are in good shape do not spend the $$ nor endure the extra ounces of a bent shaft paddle. That comes not from me, but from a talk on paddle fit by Danny Mongno last August at the Ladies of the Lake symposium. Another thing to like about Werner - informed,experienced no hype reps like Danny. If he's ever in your area catch up w. him. He does custom fittings afterwards.

I also have an Epic Active Tour Level Lock (205-215cm adj) which I move around in length but keep at 210 maybe half the time.It's a fine paddle but if I could only have one the Cyprus would win out. Hope you like yours as much!

sound thoughts

I really like your analysis of how things work best for an individual paddler. There is so much hype and inaccurate stuff out there, especially for women paddlers!

Just want to add to what you said about the bent vs straight shaft. It is extra weight, AND it reduces the paddler’s ability to hold the paddle in different places to ease should strain, for different conditions, for sculling, bracing, and rolling. And, as you say, if you just hold the paddle relaxedly, and with only two or three fingers, the wrist angle will not produce overuse injuries.

As an instructor, I do see a need for bent shaft for some folks though. They simply cannot hold the paddle loose enough, they may have some arthritis in the wrists, and they may not have enough focus to hold the paddle shaft in the most efficient places. For these folks a neutral minimal bent shaft is not a bad solution.

But for strong paddlers like you both finding the really light balanced paddle that allows just the right cadence is a wonderful thing. Paddles along with one’s boat are the two most important things to allow for one’s physical and skill development.

Nice post, love it! Helped me to understand some things that will help students, thanks!