Why are paddles getting shorter?
This post is my own opinion I drew from experience. Keep in mind a paddle too long may hurt your shoulders and too short may hurt your back. A good weight workout routine combine with paddle and other cross training will help prevent injury.
Connor Baxter has made the choke down grip popular for a quick speed boost when starting, rounding buoys or just when he needed a quick burst to pass someone. Lately elite paddlers have been shortening their paddle length. Why are they doing it and how short are they going?
Some elite paddlers are shortening their paddles to as much as 3 inches above the head (normally 6-10inch). Shortening your paddle that much changes a few things including stroke rate and your technique.
Obviously choking up on the paddle will force you take more strokes. So using a shorter paddle will cause you to increase your stroke rate & in turn you will have a shorter stroke as well. With your grip on the shaft closer to the blade of the paddle you will have more power in each stroke. The trick is to be able to keep up the stroke rate for duration of the race.
Using a shorter paddle will change your stroke technique a little. Static paddling is paddling with a bigger bend in your waist. This hunched over look will help lengthen you stroke without increasing the length of your paddle. I feel like paddling with a shorter static stroke helps keep your blade in the most effective stroke area which in turn will help increase your speed.
To learn more from professional paddler Alex Mauer check out his blog http://www.alexmauersup.com