How to Choose a Kayak Paddle Length

How to Choose a Kayak Paddle Length? – The Secret Method

Getting in the kayak and running through the water stroke is a different kind of adventure that we all seek. But to enjoy the adventure, you need to handle the stoke effectively. And doing that can be difficult if you choose the wrong length kayak paddle.

So, the question is how to choose a kayak paddle length. The answer to the question isn’t that much complicated. No! Don’t jump into those online kayak paddle length calculators. Those aren’t always right, of course. You can measure the right length for your paddle on your own.

In this article, we want to select the right length for your paddle. So that you can go through the water without any worry, let’s dig in.

How to Choose a Kayak Paddle Length?

Choosing the right paddle length is the most tricky part. But the process can be easy if you can keep some factors in check.

How to Choose a Kayak Paddle Length
How to Choose a Kayak Paddle Length

Measure the Kayak Width

Measuring the width of your kayak is an important step in choosing the right size paddle for yourself. Knowing the width of your kayak allows you to properly calculate and select a paddle that will efficiently and comfortably suit you. The widest point, usually between the cockpit and bow or stern, should be where you measure using a tape measure with accurate measurements. Kayaks vary in width, so paddles need to be tailored accordingly.

Wider kayaks require longer paddles to ensure easy reach into the water without straining your body too much.
Remember to consider your height when selecting a paddle to ensure it fits properly. With both measurements, you can easily determine what size paddle works best for you personally.

Kayak Design

Kayak design can play an important role in determining paddle size. Wider kayaks require paddles of a longer length so that the blade can stay properly situated in the water while also allowing enough reach to keep knuckles away from the deck.

However, height and width aren’t the only factors to consider when selecting a paddle size for your craft. Solo paddles are typically shorter than tandem kayak paddles. In other situations, individuals may need similar paddle lengths despite having different dimensions. Therefore, it is crucial to understand your vessel’s specific requirements so you can acquire a paddle that suits both your boat and you comfortably and safely.

How to Choose a Kayak Paddle Length
How to Choose a Kayak Paddle Length

Now Measure Your Body

To determine what size paddle is best for you, use two measurements: the height of your torso and your body. It’s important to get accurate readings for these two measurements in both standing and seated postures, as various sizes are suited for each position when reaching the paddle.

The size chart offered by many kayak brands can help you decipher which size range might be most comfortable for you based on your height and torso measurements. It’s important to balance reaching the water adequately while maintaining an appropriate span that won’t cause strain during long-duration paddling sessions. With this information, finding the right fit should become much simpler.

Your Height

Measuring your body height is essential for finding the correct size paddle for your kayak. To measure your body height, round it to the nearest inch and then compare it to the width of your kayak. If you are 5 feet 5 inches or shorter, a paddle that is 210 centimeters long will work best with a kayak 23 inches wide or smaller.

However, if your kayak measures 24 to 32 inches, while trying a paddle that’s 220 centimeters long and 29 to 33 inches wide, select a 230cm kayak paddle.
Paddles come in many sizes, so it’s important to have one that fits you properly. If you buy an incorrect paddle size for your height and kayak width combination, it won’t be as effective as it should be since paddling will be much more difficult.

Therefore, using the information above as a reference can help ensure you get the right size paddle customized just for you!

You’re Sitting Position

The higher you’re sitting in the kayak, the longer the paddle you will use, so Consider your seated posture when choosing a paddle length – if you are sitting lower in your kayak, you will need a shorter paddle. Don’t jump into buying kayaker paddles. Research your kayak, you, and the way your use your kayaker in the water.

How to Know My Kayakers Paddle Is Perfect for Me?

Paddle length is an essential factor to consider when selecting a whitewater kayak. The overall length of your paddle should be based on your body size. Whitewater kayakers are generally recommended to choose paddles between the lengths of 200 and 250cm. If you bend your elbows at 90° and hold the paddle with your hands about a hand’s width from the blade’s beginning, that means the paddle length perfectly suits you.

A longer paddle is ideal for creek boating or general river running, providing more leverage and bracing to roll the boat. On the other hand, if you are playing boating, a shorter paddle might be better to allow quicker strokes and faster re-deployment of the boat. Shorter paddles will also decrease fatigue due to less strain on the arms during a typical day’s paddling.

How to Choose a Kayak Paddle Length
How to Choose a Kayak Paddle Length

What Happens If I Choose Too Long Paddle for Me?

If you choose too long of a paddle for your height, it can be difficult to control and make paddling more difficult than necessary. Too long of a paddle can cause you to strain your shoulders as you reach out to complete each stroke, making it tiring and potentially increasing the risk of injury. Let alone it can reduce your paddle dexterity. Secondly, it can cause strain on your body due to catching water further out.


Lastly, it can have a turning effect on your kayak, causing zigzagging while paddling forward. That knows how you pick a kayak paddle size is that much important.

Question & Answers:

1. Is it better to have a longer or shorter kayak paddle?

Answers: Choosing a shorter paddle can slightly reduce weight if stuck in two sizes. However, a longer paddle may be more useful if you have a shorter torso due to the added reach.

2. What size paddle is best for sitting on a kayak?

Answers: A general rule of thumb is to keep the height between 210 and 230 cm. It is best to aim for a height of 220cm if you are unsure of what height to choose.


Going for a kayak ride on the weekend is the best way to spend your weekend. However, if you buy the wrong size paddle, the story will definitely be different. But not anymore. Buy the perfect paddle while keeping the above factors in mind. So, what are you waiting for? Buy the right length kayak paddle and start your advantage.


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