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Performance of a paddle is partly built into the design, and partly a matter of making it fit you and your board as well as possible. If your paddle is too short you lose power in the critical first few inches of your stroke. If it’s too long it will toast your shoulders or interfere with a clean recovery.

Once you’ve measured and assembled your KeNalu paddle you should start using it with an eye towards making it perfect for you. Make your reach as long as you are capable of maintaining. Getting the paddle completely in the water is half paddle length and half stroke technique, but make certain that a too-short paddle isn’t holding you back.

If your paddle is too long (and it should be if you took the precaution of cutting it on the long side to begin with) then you need to take the handle off and trim a little more shaft.

If your paddle is too short you might want to opt for an Extended Ergo-T handle, which will give you six inches of added length to play with. It also lets you adjust the paddle to suit different boards and modes of paddling.

Here’s a video on using the Extended Ergo T handle

Once your paddle is the right length you might like to tune up the grip. The KeNalu paddle comes with shaft which is textured with fine angled ridges. These ridges allow your hand to slide down the shaft during paddle transitions but grip your palm when you pull in the power phase of your stroke.

The grip level can be adjusted with light sanding with fine-grained sandpaper–I prefer the superfine grade used to polish pool cues. You can also sand areas to permit slip and leave other areas grippy. Here’s a video on tuning the grip.

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