What is the main factor? 220 cm vs 230

I have a QCC 700 and I am 6’2". I am a novice and need to decide whether a 230 is best for me. I have a 220 and I am borrowing my friend’s 230. Both are the same model and I like the 230 better. Since I am a novice what should I be considering in keeping the 230? I know if its what I like that should be enough but I still need to work on technique and I will be pulling out the Nigel DVD again tonight. The paddle is a Kalliste and I find myself liking the high angle paddle movement even though the Kalliste is not high angle. Thanks.

Why do you like the 230 better?
Explaining that may help others answer the question of why one over the other.

BTW, I suspect that you are going to get told that the 220 is the better choice. Most guys I know of your height are running that or under these days, including my husband who spent a couple of days working with Ben Lawry. The 230 was the length that was recommended for him when we first got into sea kayaking, but paddle lengths have gotten shorter since.

Do what feels the best for you.
Who cares what is recommended.all my friends like bent shafts;I don’t.

my take (very basic)
I guess the only rigorous factor is this: when you’re sitting happily in the boat, moving the paddle the way you like to move it, is the blade exactly sunk in the water (no shaft in the water, no blade out of the water)? If you’re new to this, there’s probably no way for you to know how you’ll like to move the paddle in the long term, so give it your best shot, and resign yourself to buying a second paddle in a year (and another, and another, …).

How long a paddle that standard dictates will depend on boat width, seat height, paddler height, paddler shoulder width, paddler arm length, blade length (as opposed to overall paddle length), how high the angle of the shaft, and whether you’re trying to move the blade straight back (Euro blades) or away from the boat as you go back (wing blades). Too much for me to analyze, and I probably haven’t covered all the variables.

I haven’t paddled a QCC 700. I think it’s 21 or 22 inches wide. In my 20-inch boat, at 6’0" and a too-low center of gravity (ahem), I like a 219 cm paddle (a wing paddle). I’m no expert, just trying to give you a point of comparison. If I had to recommend 220 versus 230 knowing only a little about you, I’d recommend 220.

– Mark

230 is way too long for you
Start with the 220.

You will be changing to it in a year or so any way.

If you like a high angle stroke, you can’t be paddling correctly with a 230.



Try a very short paddle for an hour
The more experience you get the better a short paddle will feel and perform.

Go with the 220…
You will end up cutting down the 230 in no time.

I started with a 230 and I’m shorter, older and paddle lower angle than you. Now my longest paddle is 220.

I’m no expert by any stretch …
… but since I’m looking at a similar choice, I’ll chime-in. Most “reliable” places tell me 220cm for my 6’4 height and 24" boat. Some say 210cm.

I will be demoing a 210 cm bent shaft tomorrow to compare to my 220 cm. The 220 cm seems OK to a bit long for when I paddle more aggressively. Perfectly fine for more relaxed paddling.

So, depending on how you paddle you may go 220 or shorter IMO. Especially since I think your boat is not too wide.

I’ll let you know how I find the 210 after I get a chance to try it tomorrow.

One more thing, different manufacturers have different shaft lengths for the same paddle overall length and that is important on bent shaft paddles. And the feel in the hand is so different b/w Werner and AT, both same length, full carbon, (AT fits me better on “dry testing” it in the store) that I think one really needs to paddle with it to decide…

Kocho, not sure but might have spoken
with you already on this … if not please feel free to call me … no pressure ever … here to help. There are at least 9 options between 220 and 230 not to mention feather.

Zero agenda other than want people to be happy knowing they have the right thing for their build, boat(s), waters paddled and intended use while factoring in personal preferences and expectations.

That said , 230 is too long unless you have something REALLY wide you paddle as a primary to above boat.

Thank - we did talk (I’m Mike)!

– Last Updated: May-10-08 7:19 AM EST –

Very informative and useful conversation!

The 220 vs. 230 is the original poster's dillema. Mine is 210 vs. up to 220 and more than that, bent vs. straight.

Someone local is selling a 210cm bent shaft Werner Corryvrecken here and I wanted to try it on the water and compare to my 220cm straight shaft Powerflex. And next weekend is the Hudsontrail (HTO) demo day in the Washington DC area I mentioned over the phone.

So, after next weekend I will have either chosen something or you will be getting a call from me for an ONNO paddle -;) I whish I had mroe paddling experience to decide now, but as it is I'm just getting into this more seriously and need paddling time to figure out what I want. Your "return policy" is great but I'd rather not create work for you only because of it -;)

Thanks again for the advice!

I like a 230
I tried for a couple of years to like a 220, but I never got into the same groove with it that I felt with my 230. If you like a low angle, don’t immediately rule out the 230. Try various lengths. I never have shoulder problems with my 230, but I was constantly battling shoulder issues with the 220. Everyone is different and I think paddle length is a very personal thing. The general rule is to start with a 220 but see what works for you.

paddle lenqth is like skirt lenqth
it tends to run according to fashion—sometimes short, sometimes long—it really depends on your individual preference—people who race tend to prefer shorter paddles—215–220 for high angle strokes (where the paddle is held more vertically and the stroke is closer to the boat) People who do a lot of touring sometimes prefer longer paddles for the low angle stoke which affords a bit more stability(when you brace and do the low angled stroke) and less effort, but correspondingly less power. Thats not to say that some touring paddlers don’t use a shorter paddle and some racers use the longer one. My thought is that if you prefer the 230 then by all means stay with it. You can always get a shorter paddle later and BTW the difference in lenqth between them is only 10cm—somewhere in the neighborhood of 4-5".

What about adjustable-length paddle?
Bending Branches is one paddle manufacturer who makes adjustable-length paddles. You can vary the feather angle, too. Short is 215-230 cm and long is 225-240 cm. http://www.bendingbranches.com/telescopingferrule.html

The only problem I’ve had is because it’s a friction lock, once in a while it will come undone if you’re doing a lot of rough stuff e.g. surfing, or paddling for a long time in high swells.

Celia is right. As you paddle more you will probably end up using a shorter paddle. I started with a 230 and i’m now using a 215. I’m also paddling a narrower boat. Also, it depends on whether you paddle low angle 0r high angle. The bottom line is, use what works for you and have fun. Vaughn Fulton

Demo Day Postponed
Kocho-I just got off the phone with HTO in Rockville and they confirmed what is on HTO website under upcoming events that the Bike and Boat Demo Day for next weekend at Lake Needwood has been postponed and they will post new date when they have it.

I was elated when I saw your message about it and unfortunately postponed. If you learn differently from them, please post it. Thanks.


paddle length
Something to think about is the length of the paddle vs. the length of the paddle shaft. As long as you’re not burying the shaft too deep the paddle isn’t too long.

A Kaliste blade is 52cm long, the Cyprus is 46cm long, that means a Kaliste paddle has to be 12cm longer than a Cyprus to have the same shaft length.

Having said all this a 230cm still sounds too long. I used a 230cm for years and once I switched to a 220cm I was much happier.

Tried a 210cm today

– Last Updated: May-11-08 10:29 AM EST –

This morning I briefly paddled a 210 cm Werner Corryvrecken bent shaft all glass paddle. A few observations:
- 210 seems just about perfect for me at 6'4" for high-angle paddling. After switching b/w that and the 220 Powerflex I had with me, the 210 felt a lot better than the 220 in my 24-3/4 wide Tsunami 145.

- As expected, the Werner is noticeably lighter, especially considering the blade weight, so swing weight is much lower as well. A nice feel from this prospective.

- The Werner Corryvrecken seems rather flat and therefore fluttered a lot more than the Powerflex. The two felt similarly powerful though, with the Powerflex being still somewhat more powerful. The flutter is probably due to a combination of several factors - my newness to the bent shaft design, the flattness of the blade, and my less than perfect positioning of the blade in the water. However, my Powerflex never felt as twitchy as the Werner, so I think it is more of a blade design than anything else. With "perfect" strokes there was mostly no flutter, but deviate a little and the thing flutters quite a bit. Not so with the Powerflex, which is a lot more forgiving of imperfect positioning of the paddle and still manages to have more power.

- The Werner made cleaner exits with less attention on my part. The somewhat shorter stroke (towards the end of the stroke) that I tried with it seems to help for this.

- The bent on the shaft on the Werner did not feel good in my hand. The shaft felt the same as in the store - too thin for me (standard shaft, not small) and the bent was not as well placed or ergonomic as the bend on the AT paddles for me.

But to the OP - try 210 to 220 just to make sure.

EDIT: I thought I should add that 210cm was good for very aggressive paddling. The 220 is still good for longer distance and more relaxed mid-angle paddling though. And it allows for a longer stroke. I suppose one needs to consider the primary use and go from there.

HTO postponed - others are up
Just missed one this weekend (did not know about it). Duh!

But there is another way to demo boats, though it is not free:


I plan to check them out for one or two boats later this year, as I am already thinking of upgrading from the Tsunami 145, once I learn the basics in it. $10 for the plastic boats to try is not too bad if you have narrowed it down to only a few…

And here is a “free” demo day next week:


I plan to go there if I can find the time…