Broke my AT Std 197 between the bent grip area and blade on the ugly little overhang rock move below Staircase on Tremont on Sunday. I've considered my options. I'm definitely going to repair this stick (either to keep as a backup / race / big water paddle, or shorten for my up and coming creekin' daughter), but am thinking of moving up to the Superduty model with the lifetime shaft warranty for a new primary creekin paddle. I got down the rest of the run OK with my breakdown Sherpa, but would prefer not to rely on it again! If I get a new stick, can't decided between the 194 / 197. I'm 5'7" but my arm span is 5'9", meaning I'm not quite in symmetry and maybe need a longer stick than the sizing charts suggest (both AT / Werner are based on height). According to the charts I'm at the upper range of 194 for creek / river runner paddle, but my arm span may put me in the low range of 197. I've always felt comfortable with the 197. A much more experienced friend (btw, congrats on your successful first Kick Your Dog plunge on Sat Clay!) is about my size and more comfy with a much shorter stick - he uses a 191 and reasons he can move the blade faster for quick moves in creekin'. This seems logical, but thought I would get some more input from you guys before I make that kind of investment. I'm wondering if I would miss the additional leverage for braces / rolls / power moves even in tight creeks.
In case anyone is interested in what I like to boat - I prefer tight creeks though I'm not that great at them yet. From the bridge down on Sat, Elkmont hike up on Sat, and Upper Tremont on Sun was near my current limit of comfort. I also like lower Big Creek, Greenbriar at high flow, Plateau creeks, Sect IV, Russell Fork, UY, TY, LBS, MF / Tygart in WV and would like to get on the Green some more missing the big moves of course. Basically class IV creekin with a few ventures into Class V rapids.
I'd appreciate any advice that may help me decide.