Choosing the right sized blade

I know there's no one size fits all but would like to know about the general strategy of paddlers with choosing paddle blade sizes. I currently use a Viper Va'a FSN double bend with a 9.65" blade and feels like it might be too big for an OC-1. I get a lot more resistance per stroke which is great but finding it hard to keep up an aggressive spm. Do most paddlers with the larger Viper blade (or any other larger type of blades) use it for OC-6 with a smaller blade for OC-1? Curious what the thoughts are on this topic. Apologies if this has been posted. Finding it hard to get any results with the search function for the forum.

Submitted by tsuinami on Mon, 07/11/2016 - 4:28am



9.65" = 24.5cm
Don't know about OC1 but that's standard size for V1 practice in Tahiti. Some folke even use 26cm wide blade or more.


#1 Mon, 07/11/2016 - 9:52am


Oh wow. So I guess it's just me then. Seems like most companies like Kialoa make blades much smaller than that.


#2 Thu, 07/14/2016 - 3:14pm


you might want to try slowing your rate down on the one man. once you get your momentum up, your spm can follow suit. its a lot harder when you try and drive the boats speed by increasing your rate.


#3 Fri, 07/15/2016 - 5:22am


tsuinami, perhaps it might be more beneficial to look at the total surface area of your blade, instead of just the width, since some narrower blades actually have more surface area than some wider blades do. Perhaps today, 108 sq.in. is the most popular for both one-man and 6-man?


#4 Tue, 07/19/2016 - 3:41am


Just choose a paddle your comfortable with and you feel like your strongest with.


#5 Wed, 07/20/2016 - 4:48pm


I go with a big blade with lots of bite on 1 man, particular rudderless. Better/faster response. The smaller blades cavitate too much when you REALLY dig in IMO, and tend to have a softer bite.

Most comfortable paddling blade for 6-man. Whatever is most comfortable. Focus is on efficiency.


#6 Mon, 10/10/2016 - 7:43pm


Basically, blade size only determines how much fulcrum you need to efficiently move the canoe forward and fast. Too much, no good. And too little, no good too. So go test out as many different size blades as you can, for get em just right.


#7 Tue, 10/11/2016 - 8:02pm


Ok, so here is probably a dumb question but why would more fulcrum or bite in the water be bad? I'm always looking for the blade that slips the least.


#8 Fri, 10/14/2016 - 10:42am


hwnwhaler: Not dumb and not bad if you get the muscles and the endurance for last. But bite off more than you can chew and you going fatigue out. The primary objective of the forward stroke is to pivot pass the blade, and not to shovel as much water possible behind you. The paddle blade doesn't move through the water straight back from the catch to exit in a straight line or even an arc, so don't worry about "slip." Instead, it remains fixed in location and doesn't move (that's why it is the fulcrum or pivot point). Paddlers come in all sizes and strengths, so it makes sense to use the most appropriate (smallest) paddle for your size. Using more fulcrum or a bigger blade, will not make you any more faster, but, you'll waste energy and not have that "bounce" available for the long run.


#9 Fri, 10/14/2016 - 3:34pm


It is good to remember that when opting for the larger tear drop Tahitian influenced blades...the blades are often two to three inches longer then a more standard paddle. A 52" inch overall length when considering the extra blade length will be more like a 49" as far as shaft length and more length in overall paddle size may be called for.


#10 Sun, 10/16/2016 - 6:50am


Mahalo Koacanoe for the further details! And Poidog, I've only been paddling with teardrop style so the lengths I've become comfortable with are not translating from traditional paddles. But I will def take another look at how that relates to where and how the blade bites. Thank you.


#11 Tue, 10/18/2016 - 11:46am


It's difficult to answer as most paddle makers don't list their blade sizes in square inches. Even then it's hard to tell what paddle you'll like without a demo, you'll end up buying a lot of paddles till you find the one you like best. Sizes listed in square inches and length would make the search a little more ball park.

In the end I think it'll come down to what your most comfortable with


#12 Sun, 10/30/2016 - 6:43am


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