If this is your first Greenland Paddle… And you really have no idea whether a custom size will work, or what size that should be, one option is simply to order a small, medium, or large. A ‘small’ would be 85″ long, 19″ loom length, and 3-1/4″ blade width. A ‘Meduim’ would be 87 x 20 x 3-1/4, and a ‘Large’ would be 89 x 21 x 3-1/4. These sizes are good all-around averages that will fit most paddlers. A kayak with a beam greater than 23″ will require a medium or large paddle.
Custom Sizing the Dimensions, in order of importance:
The most important dimension is the loom length. To measure this, hold a broomstick or yardstick in both hands, with your arms relaxed at your hips. Then bring the arms up by bending the elbows to 90 degrees. Measure to the inside of the hands.
This should yield a measurement that is about the same as measuring across the back of your shoulders. This would be the minimum loom length that fits you. However, many paddlers find a loom length one to four inches longer more comfortable.
A good reason for a slightly longer loom length than measured is if the kayak’s beam is more than four inches wider than the initial loom measurement. Too short on the loom, and your hands can be hitting the kayak beside the cockpit as you paddle. In the photo, I am measuring 18″. I use a 20″ loom. It is OK to make the loom longer than the measurement here, but do not go shorter.
The next dimension is a blade width that’s comfortable. Greenland paddles are designed to use the whole length of the paddle for extended strokes and rolling. It is important to have a secure grip at the widest part of the blade. It should not be easy to twist the paddle out of your hand as you hold it by one end. Average blade widths range from three inches to three and one half inches.
Overall Length is the final dimension.
Here you can see that I can curl my fingers over the end of the blade, reaching up as far as is comfortable. Average overall lengths range from 84″ to 90″. If this is to be a full size paddle for you, then 84″ is as short as is feasible.
A longer paddle will have a lower stroke rate (cadence), while a shorter one will have a higher rate. That is, more strokes per minute to get the same speed. A cadence that is comfortable for you is more important than measuring your reach or height to size the paddle to fit. For a high cadence stroke use a length of 84 – 85″, for a mid-cadence use 86-88″, and for a low cadence use 89″ or longer.