Smaller blades and effectiveness

This is a followup on an earlier question I had put here.

I have been trying to suss out whether I should go with a 210 or a 205 cm paddle in the Werner Cyprus. Some had advised 205 here, but per the guide on Werner’s site at 5’4" either could be correct. So I was able to spend Saturday using wetzool’s straight shaft 210 Cyprus, small shaft. Werner is right - I could stay with that or shave 5 cm and both would work. But I think I’ll go for the 205 cm.

But better yet, I was able to verify that with a paddle that makes it easier to switch up cadence, I was having an easier time keeping up with the group than I usually find with my Epic Active Tour paddle and its larger blade, even going into some wind. I also didn’t feel like I’d paddled the marathon at the end.

Granted I was in the Vela, a boat that tends towards the spritely anyway. But part of what I was hoping was that I could make time more easily by having less resistance in the water, and that seemed to work out as hoped.

Epic Relaxed Tour works for me.

– Last Updated: Apr-27-09 12:22 PM EST –

Less effort required for me than with:

Werner Camano
Werner Kalliste
AT Xception OS
Onno Mid Tour
Bending Branches Day blade

Smaller, less heavily loaded, blades work best for me.

Werner Shuna also seems to work well for me, though I don't own one. I own the other six paddles listed above.

I definitely find head and cross winds more of a challenge with larger-bladed paddles. Greenland paddles are great in high winds, and if I gain more confidence in that type of paddle, I could see myself using that in rough stuff more often. Currently I’m not comfortable enough bracing or maneuvering with my GP to rely on it in big stuff.

On Saturday I was out in the islands off Bar Harbor in what turned out to be 21-26 mph winds (according to the WX history at the nearby airport). My partner seemed to have an easy time with the winds using her beloved greenland paddle, and she didn’t have to worry about the crosswind gusts catching her exposed blade. (I’m sure her level of experience was also a big part of how easy she made it look!) :slight_smile: Great day, but it did leave me a little less content with the large bladed paddle which has become my go-to paddle lately.

GP’s, paddle angle
Nate - GP definately solves a lot of the problem, but there are times it’s best to be using a Euro (like at a lot of stuff at the Downeast Symposium).

Yanoer, thanks for the list. I looked at some of those blades. Excellent paddles, just targeted towards a low angle stroke.

Since you can obviously feel this sort of difference and paddle in varied conditions an adjustable shaft seems an easy solution.

Keep and eye on relation of blade length to overall lenghts too. Overall numbers don’t really tell teh story.

For blade size, carry one of each. There will be times when each will shine, and either will be fine as backup.

Large can be good upwind, and so can small due to quicker turnover and less wind interference. Takes a GPS to realy see what speeds they’re giving you. For many, the bigger blades will just have them working harder and tiring sooner. This extra work “feels” like more power (which seems right when your stokes slow and lenghten as many do in headwinds), and will get you to dig in that much more (thus making it so to some degree), but that doesn’t mean the power is being effectively translated to forward mothion as well as it could be. If there’s a heavy feel, likely a good bit is being wasted. If you’re taking longer slower strokes, more still. You’re just not making enough headway for the bigger blade’s bite to come into play (at low speeds but high loads it wll slip/churn more - and longer stroke will add more up/down moving of water), unless it’s just serving as a sea anchor to prevent you going backward.

Anyway, use a GPS and play around. You may be surprised to find smaller works well upwind, at same or even better speeds (over distance) and maybe in ways (easier and shorter strokes at reduced load) that lets you battle that much longer.

Bigger blades clearly rules downwind! The faster the water goes by, the more blade you need to grab it.

Shuna is high angle.
Not too heavily loaded.

Thanks for the update
Didn’t see that one so easily

Should be a little lighter also
Not a reason to switch but a nice side effect.

You could get an adjustable length paddle. I just ordered a 205-215 from Onno for my wife. He can make you any size blade you want and tell you the performance differences between the blade sizes. The adjustable would also give you some options if you were paddling a different boat.

Anything major differences between

– Last Updated: Apr-27-09 2:24 PM EST –

Thoughts on the Adventure Technology Excite (small blade) and the Kalliste? Only reason I ask is that I am aware of the availability of both with the AT being the smaller blade bent shaft and not the OS blade and the Kalliste is a straight shaft so I didn't know if you had anything to offer for a comparison of them to each other.

Paddles as Gears

– Last Updated: Apr-27-09 2:32 PM EST –

Always take two. High and low gears. Upwind and downwind.

I’m not familiar with the AT Excite.
“Thoughts on the Adventure Technology Excite (small blade) and the Kalliste? Only reason I ask is that I am aware of the availability of both with the AT being the smaller blade bent shaft and not the OS blade and the Kalliste is a straight shaft so I didn’t know if you had anything to offer for a comparison of them to each other.”

My Kalliste is 220cm and bent shaft. My Xception SL (smaller blade, not OS) is 230cm, so it’s a little difficult to compare them directly. I use the 220cm Kalliste for kayaks and got the AT Xception for solo canoes. I prefer the bend of the AT paddle better than the bend of the Werner paddle. I’d like to try a straight shaft Kalliste.

I use the Epic Relaxed Tour the most for a couple reasons: 1) It’s easier on my shoulders than my other paddles of similar length. 2) It adjusts from 215cm to 225cm, which works for much of my kayak paddling, though the Onno Mid Tour, which adjusts from 205cm to 215cm is a better length for my narrower kayak (22.25"wide composite Sea Lion).

This season, I’ve been solo canoeing with a single blade much more than I’ve been kayaking.

I use a AT Ergo T4 carbon as my primary paddle surface area 575 sq cm, and a Werner Camano a back up 650 sq cm. I use the small blade so much that the Camano just doesn’t feel right any more. As for being effective, It truly has surprised me at how well it works in various conditions. As far as length, 5 cm to long and it caused shooting pains just below the back of my neck.


– Last Updated: Apr-27-09 4:37 PM EST –

I've used that GP with great success in Sullivan Falls!

To Illustrate My Point
You’re pedaling that beautiful Waterford. You have a nice, smooth cadence going then you start to climb that damn hill. That perfect gear is no longer perfect.

Folks need to start focusing on their perfect paddles instead of their perfect paddle.

Is that a spare paddle in your pocket…
or are you just glad to see me?

My mistake

– Last Updated: Apr-27-09 6:07 PM EST –

It is the Exception, not Excite paddle that I saw. They are both 220's, but I probably would prefer 215's (boat is 22"). Unfortunately not a situation where I can demo them so haven't pursued it. I have tried a Kalliste some years back (nice) but haven't seen or met paddlers using the AT Excite paddles or for that matter seen much feedback on them.

a post above got me thinking more about tail wind and paddle size. I had thought before about how such a wind effectively means the water is moving past you when still (because the wind is pushing your boat over the water a wee bit even without paddling). So the affect of the moving water is less grab. So using a larger paddle could make the grab/resistance back to what a normal/smaller paddle may have. The net affect is better speed with no extra wear on the body. The extra blade may also give a bit better response to directional control strokes.

So smaller paddle for long slogs in still or head winds and larger paddles when a healthy tail wind picks up.