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Choosing Your Paddle Length

Article Written by Rob Casey

Choosing-Your-Paddle-Length-rob-casey-article

 

SEATTLE, Washington - The wrong paddle length can affect your balance, board control, speed, and can lead to shoulder and back pain. Beginners often end up with the wrong size depending on what’s available as a rental or from what they find on Craigs List.

 

A short paddle can lead to back pain as you find yourself leaning to far forward. You’ll also have less forward reach thus shortening your stroke. A paddle to long can lead to shoulder and rotator cup pain when you reach to far above your head over extending your arm. Paddling is a repetitive motion and stress on your shoulder can lead to injuries such as tendinitis. If you tend to hold your paddle with your top hand on the shaft below the handle, it’s probably to long.

 

The best way to determine proper paddle length is to place a paddle blade on the ground by your feet standing vertically.  Reach one arm above your head and flatten your hand. The paddle handle should tuck comfortably in your palm.  An inch or two either direction is fine. If you want to race, fully stretch your arm above your head and flatten your hand. Many racers prefer a longer paddle for a extended forward reach which leads to a more powerful stroke. Some surfers prefer a shorter paddle for a quick cadence to catch waves easier. If surfers are in a barrel, a long paddle may get in the way. I like a normal sized paddle for surfing as I can get more control, quicker pivot turns, and more power for paddling over incoming waves.

 

Demo paddles before buying to make sure you get what’s best for you. Other important factors in choosing a paddle include blade width, material type (carbon, fiberglass or aluminum), and handle or T-grip design. You will also need to determine if you like a one piece, adjustable, or if you travel, a two or three piece paddle.

 

About the Author:

Pacific Northwest photographer Rob Casey's·wanderlust and appreciation of the outdoors compel him to explore both familiar and out of the way places where he discovers unexpected moments that are revealed through his work. ·Rob is the author of, "Stand Up Paddling Flat Water to Surf and Rivers" and "60 Trips, Kayaking Puget Sound, the San Juans, and the Gulf Islands," both published by Mountaineers Books. ·He teaches Stand Up Paddling and Kayaking through his business, Salmon Bay Paddle, in the Pacific Northwest and beyond. ·

More Informatin: ·www.robcasey.net· · | · ·www.salmonbaypaddle.com (SUP & Kayaking Classes / SUP Certification) · ·| ··www.stokemagazine.blogspot.com (SUP tips) · ·| · ·http://www.facebook.com/pages/Salmon-Bay-Paddle/117400248277184

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Last modified onMonday, 26 January 2015 11:37
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