WW Paddle Poll

-- Last Updated: Jun-24-04 2:56 PM EST --

My sense is that the current trend is for ww paddles that are shorter than what folks previously were using. But every so often I still see folks out there with 200 cm and longer. And I not talking about "taller" folks either.

Just curious, how tall are you? What length paddle are you currently using? What did you use before? What kind of boat are paddling: old style displacement, playboat, river runner, creeker?

I currently use either a 180 cm Big Spoon or 185 cm Werner Freestyle, both 30 degree offset, with my Ultrafuge playboat. I started off with 194cm Werner Quest, 45 degree offset, and quickly went down to a 191 cm Seven2iso, 45 degree offset, and then the 180's. I feel that I have much better control with the shorter paddle and like the faster cadence for attainment.


Still Experimenting
I am 5’10" and paddle a Booster 55, a Disco, and a Dom 47. I use an AT Edge bentshaft paddle at 194 and 45 degree offset. My first paddle was a Werner straight shaft, 205, 60 degree offset. I still have it but use it as a loaner or for pool classes. I tried a Riot bent shaft but it was too heavy and unbalanced. I am now thinking of getting a paddle with 30 degree or less offset, and perhaps as short as 191. There are a couple of manufacturers out there that have adjustable paddles and I may go for one of them.

Hi, my name is…
and I paddle a creek boat and am 6 foot 2 inches. I paddle a bent shaft 192 cm werner and it feels long to me.

When i was paddling a straight shaft I was using a 196cm

Pat/Onno is laying a 185cm 15 degree offset for me. Looking forward to trying that one.

You Gotta Be Using Serious
torso rotation it would seem. Why/what made you switch?


I still use the 204 Silver Creek (wood) 90 deg off set and 204 Gonzo (wood) 90 degree offset paddles that I’ve had for 25 years or so. I’m waiting for them to break before I buy another. You could say I’m “old school” as the newest WW yak I own is a Stikine.

I guess part of getting older is losing the “fire”. These days I prefer to just float/fish class II-III runs in a rec yak than pump adrenaline on the New or Gauley.

I have a 206 New World Backlund paddle
at 90 degree feather, but my everyday paddle is a custom “DoubleTorque” aluminum crank paddle, about 206, at a 75 degree feather, with Double Dutch carbon blades. It was an “au courant” slalom design from the late 80s.

Slalom paddlers, and those of us who try, tend to use longer paddles, even the smaller guys. (I am 6’ 5".) Creekers and especially playboaters prefer shorter paddles.

Lightening 196cm 75 deg
use it alot for touring too. Paddling a an Infrared on the river.

Why Longer For Slalom?
does it help with making faster turns? For awhile I was using the 180 cm Big Spoon which I really like for the big power blades and faster cadence to get on waves. However, I found that I couldn’t quite catch micro eddies behind rocks in the middle of rapids. It just seems that I keep missing that sweet spot behind the rock with the blade to pull myself in. The slightly longer Werner gives me a little more reach. I supposed If I cut closer, I would still get in but the longer reach gives me a “fudge factor.”

Trying to figure out the advantages of shorter/longer paddles. Or is this all just matter of “old school/new school” and personal perferences.


I just found that shorter and shorter made me paddle better. I prefer a very vertical paddle stroke in WW. The main reason I switched is I grabbed the wrong paddle one day leaving the house and had to paddle with my wifes all day. She had a much shorter paddle and it just felt better. Also, after going bent I found I could shave off a few more cm and not feel out of control.

5’ 10", 185 lbs paddling a Big EZ.

– Last Updated: Jun-25-04 6:38 PM EST –

Paddle length I am guessing at maybe in the area of 7 1/2 feet. Using an inexpensive Aquabound fibreglass paddle, unfeathered but really want something light, carbon and sexy.
In terms of going to a smaller boat, yup i follow that trend by going from a Redline to the current boat.

Are You Sure?
7.5’ converts to about 228 cm. Seems pretty long for you and the boat you’re using…


your right;
I just measured it and it is 6’8".


– Last Updated: Jun-27-04 4:44 AM EST –

For those interested, the conversion is 205 cm.

You're right there with Dirty Ed and g2d in terms of the longer paddles being used.


Leverage, both in the forward stroke and
for turns. Obviously if they didn’t need the leverage, it would be a great advantage to use shorter paddles, especially for the kayakers sneaking gates. Slalom paddles are quite light, so the swing weight isn’t much of a problem.

For park-and-play, a very long paddle can be clumsy and will put excessive loads on arms and shoulders. For creeking, a very long paddle will be sticking up in the rhodedendrons and laurels which overhang the stream. Also, long paddles made durable enough for creeking are going to be rather heavy.