Wide SOT paddle question

I have a Hurricane Skimmer which is around 32” wide. I haven’t had a chance to paddle it yet because I don’t have a paddle. I am 5’4”, with a slightly short torso. I believe my last paddle was 230cm, and I used that with a Hurricane Phoenix and a Tarpon 100. I’m a low-ish angle paddler with not the strongest shoulders. 220 or 230?

The best way to tell is borrow a paddle and perform a normal forward stroke. See where the waterline shows up on the paddle. With the proper paddle length the entire blade, no more nad no less, should be completely submerged yet the paddle should not be hitting the boat. Measure the distance from the center of the paddle to where the waterline on the paddle is.

Use this distance on a paddle that you are thinking of buying and find a paddle where this distance goes to where the blade begins. That is the paddle you want.

Just trying to go by the manufacturer’s paddle length alone does not always work because that is the total length and the blade length can vary quite a bit.

Correct paddle length depends on a number of factors such a paddle length, blade length, paddling angle, boat dimensions, paddler measurements, and the position of the paddler in the boat.

All that being said, being off a little bit isn’t going to result in death and misery. Most stores that sell paddles seem to err on the side of a paddle that is too long for some reason.

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You didn’t say which Skimmer you have, but a check of the specs indicates that the solo skimmers have the same beam as the Tarpon. If the 230 worked for that boat, it should feel the same with the Skimmer.

I’ve got similar proportions (almost 5’ 5" and short upper body) and I use a 230 kayak paddle with my 32" solo canoe and with a 28" sit on top.

One thing about having a short upper body is that large blade paddles can end up making you have to reach a little farther to clear the gunwales. The fact that you also say you have “not the strongest shoulders” also suggests you should be more concerned with blade size than shaft length. Wide blades put more strain in your stroke. Choose a longer and narrower blade rather a short wide one. In fact, I often use a very narrow Greenland paddle even with the canoe and sit on top.

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I’m 5’6" with a 28.5 inch torso and when I use my Crescent CK1 SOT, which is 34 inches wide, I use a 240 cm paddle which is related to those extra couple inches beam. But like others have said, it is dependent on a host of combined factors in addition to having a fairly wide margin for error (i.e., actual paddle test is best)

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Thank you for the replies! My Skimmer 116 is 30.5 inches wide, I think. My torso is 29ish inches. I might have to find a paddle to rent. The Camano has longer blades than the Aquabound Tango, so I do think I need to go by shaft length instead of total length.

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Also, if you have a Tarpon 100, can you give me your paddle info and stats?