The effect of Blade Size

Hi Folks,

I am relatively new to kayaking and am currently looking in to purchasing a new paddle.

Because of some excellent local offers my choice is now down to a Werner Shuna or a Werner Corryvrecken.

If I have understood correctly the main difference between the two lies in the size of the blade.

Shuna = 610 cm2.

Corry = 710 cm2.

I am a relatively solidly built guy, 1.76m, 93Kgs ( 204Lbs). My main interest is flat water touring. My kayak is a Zegul 550 ( 5.5m long, 54cm wide-21.5").

I currently use a Select First ( French made paddle, 690cm blade) which is basically a beginners/intermediate paddle and probably does not require the same strength to pull through the water as the Werners might, because of the softer blade.

Considering my size and strength would the Corryvrecken or any similar sized blade be too much, too tiring for the rando ?

I understand that blade size defintely has an impact but I do not have access to either of these paddles and I will not be able to test them beforehand.

Can anyone, who does day or multi day trips in a similar sized boat, provide me with a little insight as to weher or not I should go for the larger or the smaller sized blade.

I have a feeling that I would regret buying a smaller blade because I would not have the power when I wanted it and I imagine that with the larger blade I can vary the stroke in order to reduce power/fatique. ( I could be wrong on all points though).

Regardless of what the fitting guide says on the Werner site I will be going for a 215cm length paddle. I am confortable with this length.

Quick question : Do the Werner shafts have an “Oval” form, from their website it is not easy to tell ?

Thanks Roy

Never tried the Coryvecken, but I do own the Shuna. It is my go to paddle-use it all the time. For me-- 6’1" and 165 lbs.–the Cory would be too much blade me thinks.

I do a good amount of river paddling going upstream as much aas down. The blade does aid in the faster current I do experience from time to time.

Cadence = power
You are bigger so can manage a bigger blade than someone my size, but blade size goes to two things. One is the amount of water it’ll punch/pull per stroke, the other is the relationship of that amount to the strength of the paddler. Go too high on the first and the paddler will not be able to up their cadence to get more speed, or will destroy their joints if they try. I’ve known people who have done that - very helpful to the bottom line of surgeons.

So for example, the initial desire of guys to put a really big blade into the hands of their significant others of the female persuasion to help them keep up is a bad idea. It doesn’t help the smaller paddler keep up, in fact slows them down, and ultimately it is a miserable experience and the guy often ends up paddling solo…

I can’t tell you what blade, but you need to factor cadence into your thoughts about blade power. Look at the good paddlers with those skinny GP’s - they can smoke most newer paddlers with a big blade, because it is much easier for them to up their cadence.

I’d say Shuna

– Last Updated: Jan-30-12 11:17 AM EST –

The Shuna is the fiberglass-bladed version of the Cyprus. I'd say - go for it and not the Corry.

I recently bought a second hand Cyprus and it is plenty powerful, IMO. I would pick that over a Corryvrekken (the match for the Ikelos) for touring any time. I had the Ikelos for a brief few days and thought the blades were just too wide for an efficient touring stroke. Yes, a bit more power when needed, yes, great feel for maneuvering and play. But in my view the Cyprus has plenty of power for that too and if the primary use is touring, it is more appropriate. I've used it for white water too with my P&H Delphin (in large river waves surfing) and it was more than sufficient in terms of power.

One more thing, the blade area is not all. I have the Werner Desperado for WW (655cm^2 vs the 610 on the Cyprus) and I do not think it is any more powerful than the Cyprus. I've used them back to back on WW and the Cyprus actually feels like it has more bite - the Desperado, being a plastic-with-carbon-reinforced blade has more give to it and does not give such immediate feedback as the stiffer Cyprus. Also, it is amazing how much less tiring the Cyprus is compared to the Desperado, even though the difference in weight is only 10oz (I have the bent shaft Cyprus).

I am 6'4 at 185-190lb if it matters...

And yes, my Werner shafts have a slight oval to them near where you hands would be. They also come in two sizes - regular (not marked as such) and small (labeled as small shaft). The small might be better for smaller hands or with thicker gloves, too small for my long fingers though...

blade size
Unless you are ultra serious about paddling, blade size is mostly a matter of preference. Neither one of those are really big, so if you are fairly stout up top I’m doubting you would have much problem. For me a blade that is too small is more annoying than one that is too big. I don’t like the feeling of overpowering the paddle. If it was me I would go with the bigger one, but it is you. Compare the sizes to your current paddle, and then go from there, or better yet try them if possible. Good luck.

Ryan L.

I’ve paddled both
the Cyprus and Ikelos - the carbon equivalents of the blades your considering. Both are great blades and I would happily paddle with either.

I’m 6’1, 210lb and like to weight train. For my personal taste, I don’t find the Ikelos too much. I also prefer a slightly slower cadence than some people. Using core rotation, the blade doesn’t feel like there’s too much resistance.

I think for most people, the Cyprus would be a better touring blade.

How long do you plan to paddle in a day? The longer you’re out, the more I’d suggest leaning towards a smaller blade.

How fast do you like to paddle? If you prefer pushing yourself and paddling hard and fast, then lean towards a larger blade.

Werner shafts are round.

not a match
Even though the blades of Cyprus/Shuna, Ikelos/Corry look the same, the powerface profiles are a little different.

Difference is definitely there when one tries Shuna and Cyprus back to back.

Personal choice

– Last Updated: Jan-30-12 10:35 AM EST –

It's all about how much power application is desirable for you. When people speak of injuring yourself, or bigger blades are harder on the joints, I think it's like any sport. If you overdo it without being in shape for it, you can injure yourself. Same as folks who don't run and try to get into it by running hard for 4 miles at a time out of the blue. Or going to the gym for the first time in months or years and lifting all you can lift to muscle failure - you likely tear things up pretty good. On the other hand, people can and do use wing paddles all the time without injury, which have a more solid catch than either of these. So if you use proper technique, and progress into it reasonably given your conditioning and age, there's no reason a more solid catch should injure you.
Most strong paddlers don't think of pulling their blade through the water. Their desire is to plant the blade, and use the leverage to propel their kayak past that planted blade. This is very efficient if you have the physical ability - little energy dissipation displacing water around the blade. If you're not strong enough to do that, you probably want your blade to slip through the water more and more, which allows you to more gradually come up to speed, which on the downside, requires you to more gradually come up to speed. The other end is trying to push your speed, especially when you start getting beyond the speed where your hull is particularly efficient. The larger blade, or beyond just considering blade size, the blade designed with a more solid catch (think dihedral shape < neutral shape < spoon shape < wing given the same paddle face surface area) slips less. So you can have a more relaxed cadence than would be required with more slippage. Or from the other lesser catch perspective, you can work up to a comfortable cadence where you didn't have the physical ability to do so comfortably with a more solid catch and less slippage. (You can't possibly go any faster than the cadence speed you're physically able to work up to.) You see how there's no right answer here? There's always a balance. And the balance is ever changing when you deal with wind and currents and different hull speeds. So you have to also have a self awareness and adaptibility to not injure or tire yourself out, for example, having your mind somehow stuck on trying to perform a cadence level that isn't reasonable going with the current and against a strong wind, etc. It's easy to relax your cadence while still maintaining a quick transition between planted blades if you have an awareness and desire to make things easier on yourself.
In my experience, people who feel invigorated by applying a little more force typically prefer a more solid catch. I've always fallen into that camp. I can get comfortable going into a strong wind with a nice, slow cadence and rotation side to side, concentrating on a quick transition of my blade plant from side to side even though my rotation is slow. It's just a learned habit like anything else.

Correlation Blade Area - Weight Mass
Would it be correct to a make a correlation between ones weight/mass + size of blade. None of the sizing charts ever seem to take that into consideration.

Pole is 6’1" for 175Lbs, I am 5’9 for 205lbs. Pole is obviously slender whereas I am stout/solid. I wouldnt make sense to me that we would both use the same size blade, I have an extra 30lbs to propel. ( Ok the boat line would increase for me…)

Hypothetically if the blade area/size changes should the shaft length remain the same or should it also change.

I still dont understand if the Werner shafts are oval or not, one person said yes and the other said no !! Just to clarify I was asking in relation to straight shafts and not bent ones which I presume dont need the ovalisation.

I can easily project that most of my paddling will be between 2 and 6 hour day trips. I may do one or two slightly longer trips but they will remain the exception.


The blades b/w foam core and fiberglass only probably feel somewhat different due to the different thickness and possibly other shape differences on the power and back faces… Have not had them back to back so can’t really ellaborate much on this…

Oval shaft

– Last Updated: Jan-30-12 11:24 AM EST –

I have my Werner Desperado in my hand as I type this (OK, I left it back in the garage by now) - it is most definitely oval at the hand position and round at the ferule area. This is a straight carbon shaft. My Cyprus is a bent shaft and it too is oval at the hand grip area.

Not sure if the Shuna/Corry in straight shaft are round or oval - perhaps someone who owns them can tell you for sure...

EDIT: see here - it is oval, it seems: looks like Shuna is oval...

EDIT: I too thought about you being a bit heavier than me but shorter and that you might have a preference for a bigger blade due to that (assuming the weight diff is not due mainly to flab, that is). Your stroke will be a bit shorter than mine probably, so might as well get more out of it with a bigger blade. But do you need "more" is a question only you can answer, I'm afraid... If the price is right, get both, play with them, then re-sell one in the Spring.

Oval = indexing?
Is that what you mean, that there is a diff at some point that transmits blade orientation clearly thru the shape under your hand?

The Werners are not especially so IMO, but there are lots of ways to increase that feeling that have been heavily explored by the WW crowd.

Celia has it right
Cadence is key, not a big blade. Most racers have gone to smaller blades so they can icrease their cadence. If your goal is speed, then go with a smaller blade. That, along with good technique.

The Epic Paddle Wizard
You may try this wizard as well. Obviously, they only suggest to you the Epic paddles, but you can see where it slots you… Weight would not matter much for blade area but it might for a slightly shorter shaft if you sink the boat more (but that would be I guess a fraction of an inch difference only)…

The worst that could go wrong
"Indexing", Thanks Celia, now I know the correct term, I am still learning.

On my current paddle the “indexing” is very pronounced and I like the idea a lot. As long as the Werner has a least a bit then I will be happy.

Ok so logically, after reading the comments, I should order then Shuna, what is the worst that could happen.

Shuna : If I felt it was too small I could give it to my wife.

Corry : I would be tearing muscles and would gain an expensive 2nd paddle. I couldn’t give to the wife…well I shouldn’t…

The Epic gives me a paddle length of 211 -> 213, just slightly under what I currently use , 215. So the chart seems correct.

Paddles = Gears on Bike

– Last Updated: Jan-30-12 12:52 PM EST –

Many are familiar with the concept of spinning
for bicycling on various terrain conditions.
Paddling is a very similar scenario where technique,
strategy and physical characteristics come into play.
Grinding it out in high gear isn't always best.

Demo a bunch of paddlers at a local kayak demo day.
Sprint a bit to see how they bite into the water,
and then go into touring mode where you'll be doing
that repeated motion for hours upon hours.

I've known people to bring 2 sets of paddles,
not only for redunancy, but for differing conditions.
Paddle A for covering dstances quickly,
Paddle B for lazily touring and sightseeing.

You'll notice drumsticks come in various lengths
as well and musicians will go to shorter sticks
as they tire out during long sessions.

Now your thinkin’ like a true paddler.

Start with the smaller blade
You say you’re new to paddling. Paddling makes your body work in ways that no other activity does, so a smaller blade will give your joints a chance to build up to the task without being as likely to injure them.

Because you’re going to need a spare paddle anyway, you might as well buy the Shuna and give it a good (long-term) tryout. If you honestly think that you need a bigger blade, the Shuna can be either a spare paddle OR (as you stated), your wife could use it.

BTW, the Shuna is not a small blade. It is medium-sized. It should be big enough for your purposes.

Blade Size
It doesn’t seem intuitive, but the larger the blade, the more water (and thus more resistance) the paddle will press against. It is almost exactly like gears on a bicycle. Bigger blade = (slightly) more power at the cost of effort (and stress on tissues, as others point out). My understanding that paddle length has a greater affect upon cadence than blade size (although you will fatigue more quickly with a fat blade).


“For touring kayaks, or kayaks less than, say, 25 inches wide, it seems appropriate to buy a paddle with a long, narrow blade design. It might require a few extra strokes to get your kayak up to speed (compared to a wider paddle), but it will be far more efficient, allowing you to paddle farther with less exhaustion. …stuff deleted

recreational kayaks are so wide that they need a little extra “oomph” in the paddle to make them perform well—especially when accelerating from a dead stop.”

The key is to match a paddle to your personal skills and comfort (and this just ain’t that easy to do). Most of us end up with a first paddle that isn’t a good match for this reason. This is sad because the paddle is the interface between you and the water, and that is at least as important as hull design (IMO, slightly more so).

For long distance touring, a shorter paddle with a narrow blade can be really useful for maintaining a comfortable cadence. For moving/white water, where you have a comparatively wide boat (typically), a fatter blade for leverage against the water and for making quick moves is probably the way to go.

Note also that longer shafts = greater leverage and slower cadence, but that comes at a cost. The leverage point on the human body is the shoulder and which is a really weak joint that is easily damaged. A long lever vs. weak shoulder = trip to bahamas for your surgeon.