Our shop is open Mon-Fri: 9am-5.30pm | Sat: 9am-5pm

How to Size up for a Grey Owl Canoe Paddle

How to Size up for a Grey Owl Canoe Paddle

Joshua Telling | Contact

When looking to buy a canoe paddle one of the main decisions you’ll need to make will be what size of paddle to choose. Given the wide variety of shapes and styles available on the market this may seem like a daunting proposition, however this need not be the case, so here is some advice to help make that decision easier for you.

Canoe paddles should be sized not by the overall length of the paddle but from the top of the t-grip to the throat of the paddle, (see diagram below).

 

The most straightforward way to size up a canoe paddle is to bend down onto one knee and hold the paddle upside down with your arm straight out in front of you; keep your back straight head looking up and knee down on the side you’re holding the paddle. If your arm is level the paddle is a good length, if your arm is pitching up the paddle is to long and if your arm is pitching down the paddle is too short (see examples below).

People do have a personal preference on how long a canoe paddle should be and over time yours will probably change. I prefer my white water paddles at a shorter length overall as it forces me to rotate my body more and allows me to use more muscle and bone groups when doing strokes like cross deck strokes. It also forces me to move around my boat more; meaning I can add more edge into the turns, increase my reach so I can get use of my whole blade in the water to give me more grip making my strokes stronger and boat more stable. Below is a table of all the paddles I use, I’m 5ft 7inches tall and all my canoe paddles are 35 inches long from T-grip to throat of the paddle, but their overall lengths are different depending on style, for example the lengths of blade I use for deep water and whitewater are different.

Paddle name & style

T-grip to throat of paddle length.

Overall length.

Werner Nantahala (white water).

35 inches

56 inches

Grey Owl Pathfinder (recreational).

35 inches

56 inches

Grey Owl Guide (deep water).

35 inches

60 inches

Grey Owl Sagamore (deep water).

35 inches

66 inches

 

A lot of people ask does it make a difference in choosing a paddle size whether you kneel or sit in a canoe. Personally, I don’t find a difference and would always recommend sizing up your canoe paddle for when you’re kneeling as this gives you better posture and connectivity within the boat making it easier to perform strokes, be more efficient and more stable.

With white water canoe paddles like the Werner Nantahala you must cut the shaft and glue in the T-grip yourself; this allows you to make the paddle a custom fit to you.

My next posts will be all about how to size up, cut and glue your own paddle made from composite materials and different blade shapes and where/why we use them.