ZRE Paddle length?


In looking at Zre medium a straight paddle for paddleing my solo kneeling. It seemed that they recomend a shorter length than some others.Is that because of their shape? I have also noticed that the ones I see in stores are shorter than average also.Any input on these paddles would be appreciated.


Overall paddle versus shaft length
The ZRE medium blade is quite compact with shoulders that are really cut away. The best comparison is between shaft lengths with what you paddle now and the ZRE.

I and many others, will recommend buying an uncut paddle. You can tape the grip to the shaft and test lengths before committing. However, each length you test will be progressively shorter so stop when you find a length you enjoy.

second vote for uncut
the last two zres i bought came uncut. but do be careful. make the cuts slowly. i plan to start my next one at 53 or 54 and very slowly work down from there. paddle it two or three full days at a length before making a decision. and an eighth of an inch can make all the difference in the world.

Straight Shaft?
Am I reading that right? You are getting a straight shaft Zav medium?

I think the shorter lengths refer to the bent shaft paddles. I would not size a Zaveral straight any differently than any other straight shaft paddle.

I may just do the same. Mmm, light as a Zav and no bend.


Slight Exaggeration?!!
and an eighth of an inch can make all the difference in the world

Thanks for the nice chuckle!!

Short Blade
But the length of the blade is really short so in overall paddle length, that will make the paddle seam much longer because the length then is in the shaft.

A shorter overall ZRE that has the same shaft length as a longer “normal” straight shaft should feel the same.

Most “normal” blades are 20". ZRE is 19
So, only an inch difference in blade length between the ZRE and other “normal” blades, such as those on the Bending Branches paddles.

Foxworx has some models with relatively short blades as well.

I assume that the main point you’re making is that it’s the shaft length that counts, not the blade length or overall length.

An 1/8 of inch
more would make me a happy camper…

…a 1/8th of an inch less and I would be

an unhappy camperette…

Length matters…
Did I just type that?

I have found that consistently through a bunch of paddles that the shaft length from top of grip to the throat of the blade is the critical dimension.

I use a Zav power flex at 52". I’d have to check but the above measurement of shaft length is 34" (for me ) this coincides with conventional protocol of sitting on a flat chair and measuring from the seat to the eyebrows.

Now this seems to work for me and I have 60" ottertail paddles and 52" bent shaft. The key for me is a consistent shaft length.

I mostly sit as kneeling is difficult so YMMV.

That said I have a 55" straight shaft on order for mild WW. This presents other considerations.

straight Zav
There are many opinions out there around proper paddle length.

I’ve got 3 straight Zav’s. I’m a bit over 6 feet and for me 56 inches is about right, while I’d prefer a 57 or 58 in most other paddles and I have long bladed lake paddles up to 63 inches. Yes you need a shorter paddle with a Zav because they have a stubbier blade and paddle fit is mostly about shaft length, not total length. Zav used to make a dedicated teardrop-shaped straight…do they still offer it? I have one of those and also two of their bent shaft blades with custom zero degree angle. They have many miles on them. I love straight light carbon paddles because you can use them like a bent and switch sides…or use them like traditional straight shaft paddles.

Even the Zav superlights are durable as heck and can (almost always) take high power rock hits, but the medium has better balance and is still plenty light. One could argue that the superlights are too light for non-racing use and they do feel like they could blow out of your hands on a super windy day.

I agree that it is totally amazing how much you can feel a change of 1/8 of an inch. It changes the paddle. If you are brave buy it without the handle glued and shorten it a bit at a time until it feels perfect. It’s easy…use a hacksaw and put tape around the shaft to help keep the cut clean and paddle with the handle taped in place until you nail the length and then use epoxy…or use (black electrical)tape forever.

Too bad one can’t buy a Black Bart Troublemaker or Pat Moore Cue any more but the Zav’s are really nice. The Wenonah stuff looks like junk…I mean…hmmm…they look durable.

Paddle Fit
Paddle fit has everything to do with shaft length and nothing to do with blade length. That said, our stance in the boat effects which shaft length we want.

Most kneeling paddlers will use cross strokes, so a shaft long enough to reach the water and bury the blade on a cross forward is required. Stand up. Take a suspected proper length paddle, get a good grip on the top grip and droop that hand in front of your body with the blade, hopefully, above your head. The neck of the paddle, where blade meets shaft should be at your hair line or an inch above.

Paddlers sitting in a high seated tripping boat fit their paddles a little shorter, because they cannot use cross strokes and cannot reach as far forward as kneelers to the catch. Standing, with the same real grip on the paddle, [do not let your grip slip], the neck of the 12 dg bent that works best when sitting should be at the paddlers nose; bridge to tip.

Sitting lower in a sit and switch touring canoe, Bell Magic GRE, Savage, WeNoNah, that neck need be between tip of nose and chin,

Sitting really low, in a pack canoe, we often use a paddle with a 28" shaft, ~ 46-47 inches long overall to ascend Adk streams!

well . . .
The lengths may be similar on paper but look at the surface area. The Zav Medium has huge knock outs in the shoulders. consider this the throat of the paddle whereas in a wood paddle, it would be where the blade blends to the shaft. If all you look at is numbers, then you will question this logic, but after paddling, you’ll understand why everyone recommends a shorter paddle from Zaveral.

You should bury the blade on any paddle,
including ZRE, so the shaft measurement is still the pertinant measurement for selecting paddle length. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it :slight_smile:

I have Zavs (including a straight shaft) and wood paddles and I size them the same, YMMV.

"Wenonah stuff looks like junk"
I bought a used Wenonah Black Jack a couple weeks ago and it appears to be identical in construction, weight and balance to my ZRE Medium bent. It appears to me to be a relabeled ZRE.

The Wenonah Black Lite appears to be a much different and heavier paddle, probably similar to the ZRE Black Rec paddle. I have a ZRE Black Rec, but have never handled the Wenonah Black Lite, so I’m speculating here.

I suspect that most people that refer the the Wenonah carbon paddles as junk, crap etc. are referring to the Black Lite and not the Black Jack.

Thanks for the great info.I plan on getting an uncut Z-Medium and following your excellant advice and cut it off gradually.It should be good match for the kneeling seat Savage Wee Lassie I have ordered.


Thanks Charlie I’ve been wondering what
to do with the Zav that I bought with too short a shaft. I haven’t tried it in the Rapidfire.