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Forums > SUP > Stand Up Paddle Boarding > Paddle Length
Author Paddle Length
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QLD
207 Posts
Posted 17/5/2013, 6:28 pm        Report
Ok guys, in a cross training effort and winter based boards have just become the owner of a 12'6 glide, my problem now is that I have my surf paddle at head height which works awesome, I just couldn't fathom doing some big distances on this board with it. What is the average length, most common measurement I guess to have the paddle at for downwinding / training? Any advice appreciated. Cheers
VIC
13020 Posts
Posted 17/5/2013, 7:57 pm        Report
I think about 8-10" above head height. DJ
NSW
55 Posts
Posted 17/5/2013, 8:21 pm        Report
FlyingKiwi said.. Ok guys, in a cross training effort and winter based boards have just become the owner of a 12'6 glide, my problem now is
wish i had the problem of owning a 12'6 glide feel free to share....
QLD
207 Posts
Posted 17/5/2013, 8:56 pm        Report
DavidJohn said.. I think about 8-10" above head height. DJ
Thanks DJ. I have an adjustable, will have a look at that tomorrow before cutting the new shaft down. @WNW, your too far too share mate
WA
101 Posts
Posted 29/8/2013, 2:34 pm        Report
My two bob's worth 8" - 10" definitely, however, I've just gone from 10" to 12" on my everything except surf paddle (which is 8") so have a good paddle before you cut it down. Everyone's body performs different mechanically and we all have our own style. I find that the extra length (no comments girls) has really opened up my paddling style and I now feel like I'm hardly paddling at all. When I'm putting in the big ones I'm still standing, totally comfortable and in control, so everyone's different. Experiment, you'll know when it feels right. Good luck
QLD
546 Posts
Posted 29/8/2013, 4:48 pm        Report
the correct length with a proper technique will be 7-8 inches above your head. personally I am 6 1/2
VIC
445 Posts
Posted 29/8/2013, 4:57 pm        Report
petedorries said.. the correct length with a proper technique will be 7-8 inches above your head. personally I am 6 1/2
Wouldn't this vary depending on how much foam you have between your feet and the water.....not just the board thickness but also the rider & board weight versus volume thing.
NSW
790 Posts
Posted 29/8/2013, 5:03 pm        Report
I asked the same question 12 months ago on Sea Breeze and got all sorts of lengths back for answers. I then spoke to a host of the top paddlers around the country and the good guys are using anything from 5-8 inches above their head. You can gradually cut your shaft down or use one of the new quality adjustables to work out what's best for you. Ke Nalu have a great handle with a slightly longer male shaft that can be re glued at different intervals until you've found the magic length. I had quite a bit of back trouble during the year and many think it was because my paddle was a little too long. A longer paddle ie 10"-12" is good for cruising but if you're racing it's way too long. Experiment and see what works for you and fits your body shape. Just don't make any big changes. The type of board you paddle has an impact also. Std shapes vs dug outs. The other component here is shaft flex and paddle area - something I'm still playing around with along with just about everyone else I know. On that front my down wind paddle has a smaller area as it enables me to push onto runners quicker. What are you using Mr Dorries? Not sure exactly where you are in Qld "Flying Kiwi" but if you get a chance do one of Pete's paddle clinics. Quite a few of us in NSW have done them. They really help.
90 Posts
Posted 29/8/2013, 5:55 pm        Report
As a beginner I asked a lot of questions and tried a few lengths before I went for an adjustable Quickblade. That was the best move I made as it has taken quite a while to work out my best length and I can use it in the surf and on the flat. Only problem is that fine silt can lock the two slider pieces together requiring me to tie the neck of the blade to a tree and then use my full body weight to pull on the handle in order to separate the two pieces. Absolutely no way they will budge any other way. If you are cruising and want to stay very upright, make it longer, up to around 12" above head height. The more you want to bend your back and power up, the more inches you drop. You want the paddle blade to be deep enough so it doesn't cavitate. No expert here but that's my 2 cents.
QLD
1338 Posts
Posted 30/8/2013, 12:50 am        Report
G'day FlyingKiwi my surfing SUP blade is one inch above the head with the big 10 inch head My DW SUP blade is 18 inches above my head with the big 10 inch head
QLD
12 Posts
Posted 30/8/2013, 10:21 am        Report
petedorries said.. the correct length with a proper technique will be 7-8 inches above your head. personally I am 6 1/2
Are you sure that you are not referring to your summer paddling length v your winter paddling length?
QLD
1352 Posts
Posted 30/8/2013, 11:12 am        Report
Surf paddle 4" overhead. Everything else paddle 8" overhead. Can also recommend Pete Dorries for some coaching. He knows his stuff. Have fun. ET.
VIC
1049 Posts
Posted 30/8/2013, 2:40 pm        Report
The reason why you should use an adjustable paddle to start off with, is due simply to Bio mechanics. As you get increasingly tired on long paddles, your stroke will involuntarily start to shorten. With an adjustable you can adjust the length of the shaft of your paddle to compensate for this natural physiological occurrence. Obviously, if your ability is in the elite category of paddling there is less need to use a paddle with an adjustable paddle length, as the strict training regime and coaching will make this less likely to happen, unless of course you go way, way beyond your comfort zone. Use your adjustable to work ou what you need roughly and then err on the side of caution when cutting your fixed length paddle. It might be worthwhile just using your adjustable until you know how far you wan't to take your paddling. They're very expensive
NSW
41 Posts
Posted 31/8/2013, 11:57 am        Report
Agree with the adjustable. I have had a 14 foot board for about 4 months and still trying to set 'perfect' length. Unless you have a quiver of paddles there probably is no single universal figure. Some mornings I want to paddle a loop at pace for fitness and find about 8 - 9 inches above head good. I have figured this is because of a lot quicker rhythmn and slight more bend at hips. Other times want to cruise at a steady pace for 60 -90 mins and being more upright with paddle about 11 inches is good. During these times I try and replicate the ''reach dammit reach'' tutorials of Dave Kalama as per his website: davidkalama.com I realise very quickly being new to the pasttime that technique is important and the extra length does encourage a reach. His tips about removing the paddle around your feet are also helpful. I can get lazy and reach less, and this is where an adjustable comes in handy as you can again shorten it a bit for comfort. So I reckon an adjustable paddle is a good start for a year or so until you have nailed exactly what you want to do - race, explore, downwind..What you dont want is to be having the paddle so long that your are using your arms repetitively overhead, you want to be working at heart - chin level. I say that as an Orthopaedic shoulder surgeon
NSW
790 Posts
Posted 4/9/2013, 5:23 am        Report
I just pulled this off the web - an even different recommended length. In our opinion there is no ???one size fits all??? formula. Paddle length must be customized to your size, paddle technique, mobility, and SUP board. What we do know, however, is that there is a trend toward using shorter paddle lengths than recommended in the past. According to Laird Hamilton, ???this is partly because the boards we are currently using have less volume, our technique has changed and improved over the years, and we are learning that using a higher stroke rate, for many paddlers, is faster. These factors require using a shorter paddle length.??? As a starting point for determining your paddle length, Laird advises ???I believe that there is a formula for paddle length that is based on anatomy but we do not know the exact formula yet. I am currently recommending a paddle length that is 3-4 inches above your head as a starting point then adjust from there based on your needs, mobility, and experience.??? We agree. Paddle racers and surfers should start their paddle length determination with a paddle that is 3-4 inches above their head. Although this is a significant departure from previous recommendations that were as long as 8-10 inches over head, this length of paddle should be short enough to help your avoid some of the upper back, shoulder, and elbow, injuries we are seeing from paddles that are too long but will be long enough to allow you to race effectively. Most paddlers who we know who use this method find that the shorter paddle allows them to increase their stroke rate for more efficient paddling.
QLD
505 Posts
Posted 4/9/2013, 9:57 am        Report
NNSUP said.. I just pulled this off the web - an even different recommended length. In our opinion there is no ???one size fits all??? formula. Paddle length must be customized to your size, paddle technique, mobility, and SUP board. What we do know, however, is that there is a trend toward using shorter paddle lengths than recommended in the past. According to Laird Hamilton, ???this is partly because the boards we are currently using have less volume, our technique has changed and improved over the years, and we are learning that using a higher stroke rate, for many paddlers, is faster. These factors require using a shorter paddle length.??? As a starting point for determining your paddle length, Laird advises ???I believe that there is a formula for paddle length that is based on anatomy but we do not know the exact formula yet. I am currently recommending a paddle length that is 3-4 inches above your head as a starting point then adjust from there based on your needs, mobility, and experience.??? We agree. Paddle racers and surfers should start their paddle length determination with a paddle that is 3-4 inches above their head. Although this is a significant departure from previous recommendations that were as long as 8-10 inches over head, this length of paddle should be short enough to help your avoid some of the upper back, shoulder, and elbow, injuries we are seeing from paddles that are too long but will be long enough to allow you to race effectively. Most paddlers who we know who use this method find that the shorter paddle allows them to increase their stroke rate for more efficient paddling.
I would start a bit higher than 3-4 inches....no turning back after that.. I run my paddle at 6" inches above the head, and I've been wittling it down slowly from much higher. For me any shorter and I find it effects the position of my lower hand. But I have arms like an ape, so everyone is different...my point being start a bit higher than 3-4" : )
WA
675 Posts
Posted 6/9/2013, 5:50 pm        Report
As a physio I see quite a few SUP paddlers with shoulder pain. This often stems from punching forward with the top hand, rather than pushing down. The stroke is more like pole vaulting, engaging the blade deep and vaulting the board forward (not pulling the blade through the water - which will cavitate - if you are that strong!). Punching forward under load leads to protraction and elevation of the shoulder blade, frequency of this movement can result in an impingement syndrome - usually a sub acromial bursitis or supraspinatus tendinopathy (rotator cuff injury). Controlling the top hand over the catch and 'spearing the fish', engages the ball (humerus) in its socket prior to the load (catch) and allows the top arm then to act as a connector rod pushing down as the bottom arm assists in driving down and aft. Paddle length plays an important role in this. Too long and you cannot avoid punching forward, too short and you will bend forward at your back. My method that I use and get my patients to use is shaft length. The blade on any paddle should be completely covered as that is the bit that is securing the water for you - this applies in any water sport. This limits the effectiveness of the overhead height measurement method, as this doesn't take into account blade length and the thickness of your board. You could be going too deep or not deep enough. I will get a paddler on their board and get them to hold their paddle vertically alongside their body with the tip of the handle level with the shoulder (the acromion - for the anatomically minded). The blade will be in the water in the feathered position so it lies alongside the rail of the board. The gusset or collar of the paddle is the bit that the shaft slots into, this is usually ~5cm long. For racing/paddling the water line should be just below the top of the collar. For surfing it shouldn't be any lower than the bottom of the collar (start of the blade). Out of interest I did a measurement of a group of experienced paddlers that were happy with their paddle length after years of playing and trimming. It was interesting to find all of them measured to this point (level or just below the top of the collar). It works well for my patients. Just another method to throw in the mix.
NSW
41 Posts
Posted 6/9/2013, 6:38 pm        Report
Goochi said... As a physio I see quite a few SUP paddlers with shoulder pain. This often stems from punching forward with the top hand, rather than pushing down. The stroke is more like pole vaulting, engaging the blade deep and vaulting the board forward (not pulling the blade through the water - which will cavitate - if you are that strong!). Punching forward under load leads to protraction and elevation of the shoulder blade, frequency of this movement can result in an impingement syndrome - usually a sub acromial bursitis or supraspinatus tendinopathy (rotator cuff injury). Controlling the top hand over the catch and 'spearing the fish', engages the ball (humerus) in its socket prior to the load (catch) and allows the top arm then to act as a connector rod pushing down as the bottom arm assists in driving down and aft. Paddle length plays an important role in this. Too long and you cannot avoid punching forward, too short and you will bend forward at your back. My method that I use and get my patients to use is shaft length. The blade on any paddle should be completely covered as that is the bit that is securing the water for you - this applies in any water sport. That limits the effectiveness of the overhead height as this doesn't take into account blade length and the thickness of your board. You could be going too deep or not deep enough. I will get a paddler on their board and get them to hold their paddle vertically alongside their body with the tip of the handle level with the shoulder (the acromion - for the anatomically minded). The blade will be in the water in the feathered position so it lies alongside the rail of the board. The gusset or collar of the paddle is the bit that the shaft slots into, this is usually ~5cm long. For racing/paddling the water line should be just below the top of the collar. For surfing it shouldn't be any lower than the bottom of the collar (start of the blade). Out of interest I did a measurement of a group of experienced paddlers that were happy with their paddle length after years of playing and trimming. It was interesting to find all of them measured to this point (level or just below the top of the collar). It works well for my patients. Just another method to throw in the mix.
Great outline Goochi. The key to avoid shoulder problems is to avoid applying substantial repetitious force with the arm overhead. Your vertical paddle assessment test is good and I have tried to apply this principle when playing around with my technique. Not bending too much at the lower back but moreso applying or combining a pelvic thrust just after the catch ie pulling to the planted paddle also seems to give that extra kick of power. As a shoulder surgeon in the Sutherland Shire most of the surfers I see are aging mal riders but with the growth in SUP here it is only a matter of time till I see more Suppers. Your eloquent assessment technique will be helpful in my paddling and practice.
ACT
1106 Posts
Posted 6/9/2013, 7:55 pm        Report
I read that article the other day, I am thinking of hacking a couple of inches off my paddles to give it a try.
 
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