Do people feel that the Werner length recommendations by height and boat width to be fairly on target? Any particular reasons for going up or down a size? Would a fishform boat need a longer size than a swede, all things being equal given the width differences in the catch area?
I find Werner’s guide to favor the recreational paddler, advising ~5cm longer than the pros at my local shop recommend for high angle touring or playing. Best to demo if you can. What’s your kayak’s beam and how tall are you? Swede vs fish shape differences are subtle and rarely a factor.
5’8" in a Valley Aquanaut, about 21.5" beam,
I’d think about 205cm. I’m 5’11” in a 22” beam and started at 210cm, but dropping to 205 was a revelation. You could also spring for a Lendal Cadence which at 205cm the leverlock can extend to 210. Best of all worlds.
I found their charts to recommend slightly longer than what turned out best for me. I am a hair under 5’3” with a 19.6” beam sea kayak. Their chart told me 205 cm, which was far better than a different-brand 215 cm I had been using, BUT after several years using the 205, I felt it was still too long. At that time, Werner did not go shorter than 205, so I did nothing. Still later (eight years after I had gone down to the 205), someone on paddling.net posted that a 200 had been added. I called Werner, who said I could get it but it had to be ordered because shops did not stock that size.
My 191cm WW paddle (their Sherpa) had also felt too long even though it, too, was the size recommended on their chart. I special-ordered one in 185cm.
The bottom line is that going shorter was the right way to go. Both paddles are the perfect size for me. I finally got the torso rotation I thought had been hampered by too-long paddles.
Kudos to Werner for making paddle lengths good for short paddlers!
I find their charts recommend longer than I would go.
I am 6’ and had an Aquanaut HV RM for a long time. I have both a Shuna and Corryvrecken at 205 cm that I used with it. Use the same paddles with my wider Dagger Alchemy and Stratos. Most of my paddling is medium angle cruising, though I do switch to higher angle for sprinting.