Werner Ikelos – Paddle Length Question

I’m interested in possibly purchasing a Werner Ikelos bent shaft paddle to use with my Necky Chatham 18, which is about 20 inches wide. I’m 5’6” tall. I checked the Werner paddle guide and it suggested I try a 210 cm paddle. Does anyone out there have any practical experience they can share using the Ikelos so I could gain some perspective for my paddle length decision.


205 - 210
I used a 210 with my C-18. I would have been fine with a 205. I’m 5’10".

torso length
If your torso is long, 210, if not 205.

What is your inseam?

210 or maybe 205
I’m 5.9" in a 21.5 beam boat and 210 works great. I can imagine a 205 working for me too. A bit of personal paddling style affects this (somewhat high angle or very high angle). Ideally you should test try 205 vs 210 though not super critical if it’s actually an Ikeolos though should be some high angle style blade. Maybe you know someone with an adjustable length paddle to test.

I did the fit guide
I am 5’10" and my boat is 21" wide. It also recommended a 210 paddle for me. I have a 210 bent shaft (not a Werner) and that seems to work well most of the time but the 205 I tried once also worked well, maybe better. Since you are shorter and have a narrower boat you might want to consider a 205.

not to
horn in but i’ve been posting about my new p+h and i’m only 5’ 2" they sold me a werner camano 210…should i have something different? or is it diff. specs for diff. paddle types? the paddle tag says for lower angle paddling, but i’m getting the gist that to paddle well you want to come in closer with a higher angle. hmmm

Plenty of folks
use a low paddle shaft stroke for touring, so you do not need to have the blade close to the boat to be a “good paddler”. Racers using spoon-bladed paddles usually use a high angle stroke to minimize the need for course correction, but advocates of a low angle stroke point out that using a high angle over distance results in hoisting your off-hand and paddle blade up high in the air hundreds of thousands of times in a day’s paddling, which is a waste of energy unless you positively need to go as fast as you can.

Racers using Greenland paddles seem to use a low angle stroke, and they go plenty fast. It really is a matter of preference.

Hi/low angle

– Last Updated: May-22-09 7:45 PM EST –

If your paddle is a low angle paddle, it may not feel as smooth for high angle paddling. The blade shapes on the better paddles are tuned for a particular type of paddling. The usual add for low angle paddling seems to be 5 to 10 cm from a high angle paddle for the same paddler/boat combo.

As to saying which is better, I am not going there. Suffice to say that those who care dearly about speed like racers will tend towards a high angle paddle stroke. A high angle stroke may require more rotation than a lower angle stroke since the paddle lengths tend to be shorter.

However, only you can decide how much that consideration has to do with your own paddling. Just worry about the basics for now, and maybe you will ultimately be a high angle paddler. At worst the current Werner paddle can become a guest paddle for when you add the inevitable additional boats to your fleet.

High angle/low angle
My personal experience is that I paddle with different angles at different times. If the wind comes up I drop the angle. Shallow water, lower angle. Want to accelerate, higher angle. Long crossing, higher angle for a while, lower angle for a while, etc. Sometimes I paddle backwards for a while. I really don’t think it is a big deal whether you have a high angle paddle or low angle paddle. It is probably more important to have a paddle with an appropriate blade size.

I"m 6’3’'
and the 215 seems a bit long for high angle… a friend about my size also said the same…

I suppose there is some additional reach for sweep strokes and bracing…

It doesn’t make that much difference if my off hand is a little high and the blade is one inch deeper…

I took some classes on fine tuning my forward stroke from some of the best instructors that helped the most… no one ever mentioned paddle length…

Shaft Length
Shaft length will vary quite a bit from model to model.

If you take a 210cm Camano and put it next to a 210 Ikelos, the shaft on the Ikelos will actually be longer because the blades are shorter. Longer shaft=more shaft outside of your hands=lower angle stroke.

Short shafts need to be paired with blade shapes that get into the water quickly with a high angle catch. If you use a long, skinny blade on a short shaft, it takes forever to get the blade in the water. Feels pretty weird.

Low angle paddles should be sized quite a bit longer than the high angle styles. At least 10cm, sometimes longer, because the longer blades on the low angle paddles mean the shaft will be shorter overall.

At 6’1" I like a 210 Ikelos, but would choose a 230cm Camano to get a true low angle stroke.


Give it a fair trial
Since you already bought it, just go out and paddle. The principles of using torso rotation, avoiding arm-paddling, etc. apply to all kayak paddles.

If you can borrow some different paddles of appropriate size for you, that’s good, but don’t get too hung up on whether you got the perfect paddle right away. At least you got a “low angle” model in a decent length for your size; most of them start at 220cm.

Should be fine
There shouldn’t be any issue at that length.

some of the best instructors …
Ben Lawry in a forward stroke class noted that you should be able to plant the blade (blade fully submersed with mimimal shaft under water) at the beginning of your stroke without having to lean forward.

I was using my Epic Active Tour Length Lock set to 210 and he had me lengthen it a bit so I wasn’t leaning forward to plant the blade.

Ikelos length
This is a high angle paddle, it likes to catch pretty straight up and down. The Ikelos paddle face is so large that good techique, good torso rotation are vital.

Your height is just an approximate guide to paddle length, it really is a function of arm length, torso length, boat width and paddling style. See if you can demo a 205, you might prefer that length. Not a huge difference.

This is a great paddle, but you do need fitness and technique.

A bigger question is…
…is not so much 205 - 210 as whether you really want an Ikelos. My Ikelos has taken me to great places and I believe that a 205 would have been better by some very, very small margin. A great paddle but you know what? It lives on my deck now. I use a Cypress day in and day out and the Ikelos is my other gear. It is the paddle that I take out when I expect to be dumped. I like the power when things start to get over my head. It is more work for daily paddling and I only switch when I feel that the extra support out-weighs that extra work. It is a big dog and I have done big miles with it. I look back and realize that if I had the Cypress/Shuna to begin with the Ikelos would have been purchased as a secondary rather than a primary paddle.

I feel that the length of the Ikelos is secondary to the application for the average touring kayaker (I consider myself an average paddler). If you want a big stick to pull through the water for conditioning it’s an elegant one. If you are an average or maybe an above average paddler looking for an everyday paddle I would argue that something smaller is a better choice. I really prefer the Shuna/Cypress profile for everyday paddling.

On the other hand if you have stumbled across a killer deal on an Ikelos it is a really nice paddle and a 205 - 210 will be fine.



for the response. I have a 30in inseam.

Has more to do with boat width.
The hypotenus doesn’t change that much with torso height. I say 205 -210. Enjoy. Good boat, good paddle, good world.

affects catch and recovery
Like WilsoJ says, the idea is to plant the blade up to the thwart, so that the whole blade is submerged at the end of the catch (catch is a phase not a single point). That way there are no bubbles and maximum thrust.

A LONGER shaft favors being able to submerge the blade to the thwart.

A SHORTER shaft favors not going too deep at the end of the recovery and exit phase.

Since the most power comes at the finish of the catch to the point the paddle stops becoming vertical, it is logical to favor a slightly longer shaft in order to make sure that part of your stroke is maximal.

I totally agree with others here that the best way to get the right length paddle is to take several in your boat and turn your torso and plant the blade to the thwart at the correct vertical angle and see which one is just right!

There are adjustments
A shorter paddle means the catch is not as far forward. That is not a problem. With full torso rotation and keeping your arm from bending (the paddle will move gradually away from the side of the boat) you will get a powerful and efficient stroke. A blade that is too large or a shaft that is too long will require more effort than you can provide over a longer period of time.