Wing paddle for large SOT

I need some feedback on a purchase I’m about to make. I’ve heard two seemingly opposite ideas about wing paddles: (1) a wing paddle just won’t work on a wide kayak; and (2) a wing paddle should increase my stroke efficiency, regardless of kayak size.

I have a Wilderness Systems Tarpon 120. One of the reasons I chose this kayak is because I’ve had two hip replacements and I wanted to be sure I could get back into the boat should I get dumped. I use it primarily for fitness, some river runs, and I’d like to enter a few community races and make a decent showing. I know my boat is too heavy, but for now it’s easier to upgrade my paddle than it would be to show up with another boat.

I currently own a 240cm Aqua-Bound Manta Ray. I’m 5’6", and when I started out I loved it. I tried a 220cm no-name paddle w/ some twist and scoop to it, and I was able to get my boat going right away with that padde, whereas with my Manta Ray it would take about 6 good strong strokes it get it up and running.

The kayak sizing chart (I think it was Epic?) didn’t really give me a straight answer as to size because my boat was too big.

I’ve been looking at the Jantex Gamma Rio & the Jantex Beta Rio. I’d like to hear what you think about these choices.

Thanks in advance!

My two cents worth:
I don’t know about the paddles you mentioned, but I race with a wing and tour with euros.

I have had two different makes of high end wing paddles.

They are made for a high angle stroke, and not for a wide one like you’ll be using it for.

I think you would do much better with an upgrade to a lighter euro

Jack L

Wing paddle for SOT?
Jack L.,

My first reply to you got lost in space, apparently. Thanks for your quick response. I do use a high angle forward stroke and I’m working on improving it. That’s actually what got me more interested in speed. If I switch to a lighter euro, do you have a recommendation for a really good one?


I like the Epic Relaxed Tour full carbon
with burgundy shaft and length lock, but I like smallish blades.

I’m not a racer or even considered fast - I don’t paddle or exercise enough to be fast.

Don’t waste your money
Using a wing on a 12 foot boat won’t increase your speed.

I agree with Andy.
I have a Tarpon 160 .I had a wing and very quickly found out that moving my heavy boat with it put too much stress in my aging joints. I now use a very narrow blade wind paddle.

Won’t increase speed?

Thanks for your input. Why won’t a wing increase speed or efficiency for a 12-foot kayak? Is the kayak too short? What size & type of boat should I move up to eventually?

Width is an issue too
As Jack said. With your hip issues, I’d suggest getting a light weight canoe, I have 15’ 4" Sawyer Summersong that moves quite quickly with a double blade paddle. All my other boats are longer and thinner and I have 3 wing paddles, each for a different boat.

I don’t use a wing, but the physics of the paddle really needs a narrower boat to function. For a lightweight Euro, AT makes some very nice ones - I have a good one, but use a wood GP most of the time.

If you want to go fast and need a SOT for access due to your hip, you might consider a ski. You could start with one of the new shorter/wider offerings like CD Ignite, Epic V5, etc. there are many more - try used.

Wing paddles are worth about 3% gain in speed as far as all I have read. That is from experts as I was going to get one. Still may but only for calm speedy days. That is on a slim kayak. I think you would even see less gain on a wide kayak. Other things become harder with a wind when maneuvering or bracing.

Surfski - Used
Surfskis look like fun! Above my budget for now, but a serious consideration. Thanks for revving up my imagination! I’ll look into a used one. Aside from CraigsList, eBay, &’s online selling, are there any other venues I should be checking for a used one?

I have a surf ski
And they do come up for sale quite often. At least here in NJ. Start with a V5 or V7, reasonably priced and good beginner boats.

Wings Work Fine With SOTs
I’ve been using wings for 28 years paddling my Scupper Classic, Pro and Zuma 2. My 220, 222 and 223cm wings do work great using my low angle side widener stroke. Save the high angle strokes for the Olympians.

ps: If you can find an original fiberglass layup Ocean Kayak Scupper, especially the made in Hawaii stackable ones, buy it, for it won the Molokai Race back in the early 80’s.