Too big of a paddle?

I have been using the Werner Cyprus for a year and put 1000 miles on the water. Never felt any pain. Maybe some whole body soreness in general on long trips of 4 hours. I switched to the Ikelos about 30 days ago and put on around 100 miles.

I been feeling pain in right my hand and some tingling up my arm. I have been pushing to paddle faster and know my techniques are not there yet.

Wondering if I am developing carpal syndrome. I am switching back to my Cyprus for now

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The Ikelos provides a lot of resistance compared to the Cyprus. It also has more buoyancy so you are forcing that downward into the water as well. I get the impression that your 4 hour paddles are covering some distance. That said, the usual rule of thumb is that longer distances trend towards a smaller surface area blade and light swing weight.

I would save the Ikelos for speed interval days if it’s a training regimen. This is al a guess as I don’t know what your goals are, type of craft and typical terrain paddled.


Your pain and tingling may be caused by repetitive wrist flex. It"s possible recent paddling habits and the change in paddles exacerbated the issue.
It is quite popular in sea kayaking to reach the conclusion that a person’s paddling technique is just fine, and the equipment is the problem. Especially if a problem doesn’t seem to rear it’s ugly head so prominently with the right equipment. And this solution can work. But since you’ve said you’re looking to paddle faster, and you do longer 4 hour trips, I would suggest that this is the time, with those two paddles, and every other paddle you ever lay your hand on, to work on straight stable wrists. Decide your wrists cannot bend and flex in any direction. So you can minimize the extent that the paddle shaft changes angles in your hand by maintaining good torso rotation, maintaining the paddlers box, raising or lowering your elbows to match up with your stroke. Even paying attention to all this, the shaft will change angles in your hand. You must let it. You must allow the shaft to change angles in your hand, not grip the paddle shaft and force your wrists to compensate for those repetitive angle changes. Think open hands and hooked fingers. If you develop new blisters, that’s a good sign. That’s the start of calluses on the new parts of your hands that you’ll be using moving forward.
The less you use a firm grip on your paddleshaft, the better - for all performance aspects. In rough water, gripping the paddleshaft tightly and tensing up in general usually coincides perfectly with a breakdown of the forward stroke and forward speed, breakdown of smooth effective use of maneuvering and directional control strokes, and a significant increase in energy consumption to go along with the decreased performance. So there’s not a lot of compromise going along with committing to non-flexing wrists.
I hope you can work your way through this issue and come out of it a better paddler.


When I started out whitewater paddling years ago, it was with a 90 degree feather on my blade, and I never really liked it (paddles tended towards fixed shafts then). After switching to sea kayaking I never used a feathered blade and had no issues. Lately, however, when using a euro blade I started getting elbow and wrist tweaks. Going to a 15 degree feather on the blades made all things new again. So I guess the takeaway there is to experiment and see what works for you.

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I’m in an 18’ Necky Chatham and most of my workout routine are 7-9 miles early in the morning before work for a 2 hour workout. Since getting my Ikelos, I been pushing to maintain a 4.5mph pace for 2 hours and so far successful at it. Though I think that’s what is triggering the pain is this push to go faster and not paddling properly.

I noticed some extended tingling when I went out with the Ikelos for a 19mile 4hr45 minutes three weeks ago for a fun ride averaging at 4mph. In the past I have done multiple 20 miles trip with my Werner Cyprus, I would never felt any pain other then just general soreness and tiredness but I never pushed myself on those trips at all.

This weekend, I spent 16 hours on the water but mostly sitting in one area and testing bracing and various maneuverability in a class with an instructor. No real speed work. Cranked it a little every now then and to test bracing with speed. Since this weekend, the pain I’m feeling is different then a lot of all the prior soreness that generally I wasn’t concerned with. I’m taking a few days off this week for precaution from my morning routine for now.

I don’t think I grip my paddle tight. I do let go of gripping and just relax holding it with 3 fingers every now and then to relax my hand. I know i don’t do enough torso rotation right now but slowly improving on that.

First I don’t know squat!

Looking at you paddle video I see the following

Second I think the paddle is to long . I see your hand over your head at times when you’re paddling.

Third you’re not feathered on your paddle at all. ZERO

Fourth grip is to tight on shaft at times.

Fifth you need to push and pull evenly as possible.

Sixth paddle maybe a bit big for you and you’re forcing it to much.

Seventh lack of torso rotations.

The above items are straining your wrist and possibly one more than the other. One hand is your control hand I assume.

Look at the feather video I posted.

As said above straight stable wrists help.

Further you reach up more angle there is on your wrist. No feather you’re flexing your wrist more also.

I agree with everything you stated except maybe about the feathering. Not against it, just don’t want to add another layer into it. I did try feathering at peer practice last week and was told to stop feathering, its going to screw up learning the other skills. I want to master my braces, torso rotation, and trying to focus on nailing the roll this summer as my main mission above all.

Here’s a 4min clip of the 16 hour on-water training I did on this weekend. I just watched it myself and already I see everything you said is accurate regarding the paddling technique.

I couldn’t paddle high angle anymore without 30° R feather . To much wrist flexing. Feather has nothing to do with other things if you learn your control hand so you know position be lades are in. Watch Wyane H videos.

You were with him no?

You’re using all arms to paddle. Your wrist are bent and flexing more than I am personally comfortable with. Feathered you’d have less bend in your wrist. Also more torso rotations your wrist would be kept straighter. You’re hanging tight on the shaft while just paddling straight, relax the grip unless you’re bracing or it’s real rough.

Faster to pull the blade closer to the hull for me .

Just to throw in another anecdotal data point, I got a bent shaft paddle to see if it would fix the problem and it instantly made all the difference. Happens to be a 230 cm Kalliste. 60 degree feather same as my straight shaft.

I think bent shaft is out of the question for now. I bought the Chatham kayak and the Ikelos already this year plus some other accessories. Plus lessons and trips etc, it adds up!!

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Your not paddling high angle with it are you?

Credit card it all till the music stops and there’s no chairs left :joy::joy::joy:

I have wondered whether high angle stroke with bent shaft paddle made sense.
What say you PD?

Never tried one . I like to be able to slide my hands a bit on the paddle.

Best video series I know. Gordon Brown the master.

Try stiff arm you can’t not rotate and go forward.

If you try stiff arm exaggerated you can’t not rotate your torso and go forward.

Wrist are straight grip is loose.

You need someone to follow you and guide you as you paddle on each stroke until it becomes natural. Most of the time I critic most every stroke I make.