What Size Kayak Paddle Do I Need?

Choosing the right-size paddle can be responsible for increasing your kayaking performance while on the water. It will take more time to reach your destination with a short model even though you try hard. On the other hand, too long paddles can make you exhausted and cause severe pain to your shoulders. Now a question can arrive in your mind- what size kayak paddle do I need.

What Size Kayak Paddle Do I Need?

The following content presents all details which will solve your confusion.

Width of the kayak you are using

The kayak’s width is the main thing you have to keep in mind. As many are not aware of the breadth of their kayak, they can measure the widest point using a tape. Besides, we would like to mention the widths of the regular kind of kayaks.

What Size Kayak Paddle Do I Need?
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Boats that measure 26 to 30-inch in width fall in the category of recreational types. They are small, reasonable, and quite simple to use. You can only use them on short trips and plain water.

All tour kayaks come in the width size of 22 to 25-inch. They are longer, durable, and super practical over distances. As you can assume, they are expensive due to the high cost of their construction. Anglers or fishing kayaks are steady and highly stable. They are spacious enough to hold all the needed tools for catching fish. They generally measure around 42-inch in width.

Lastly, the performance models are longer than the previous ones, and the width lies in the 19 to 22-inch range. Try to figure out the preferred category of your kayak and then choose the paddle size accordingly. In most cases, wider kayaks require longer paddles to reach the liquid surface on each side with minimal effort.


The Height of the Kayaker

The second most crucial factor to notice while determining the paddle length is your height. It is evident that taller riders often need longer ones to get into the water successfully. You can measure yourself in two different ways- the overall height of the body or torso length. We suggest choosing any of them and follow our given charts to know about the most compatible paddle length.

First of all, let’s jump into finding the right size for your body height. We have collected the kayak paddle sizing chart,depending on the user height and kayak width. Select your options from the first vertical and horizontal lines. The one connecting them will be the ideal size of your paddle.

Width of the kayak/

User height

Less than 23-inch 23 to slightly less than 28-inch 28 to 32-inch More than 32-inch
Less than 5ft 200cm /78.7-inch 210 cm /82.7-inch 220 cm /86.6-inch 230 cm /90.5-inch
5ft to 5ft 6inch 210 cm /82.7-inch 220 cm /86.6-inch 230 cm /90.5-inch 240 cm /94.5-inch
5ft 7inch to 6 ft 220 cm /86.6-inch 220 cm /86.6-inch 230 cm /90.5-inch 240 cm /94.5-inch
More than 6ft 220 cm /86.6-inch 230 cm /90.5-inch 240 cm /94.5-inch 250 cm /98.4-inch

Many may prefer picking paddle lengths based on their torso height instead. They can follow the next table:

Torso height Paddle length
22-inch 180 cm
24-inch 180 to 200 cm
26-inch 190 to 210 cm
28-inch 200 to 220 cm
32-inch 220 to 240 cm
34-inch 230 to 250 cm
36-inch 240 to 250 cm
38-inch 250 cm

If the paddlers lie between two consecutive classes, they can choose any of them.

Type of trips

Users who plan to spend quality time on the water should go for either performance or touring boat paddles. The reason is they feel lighter when you lift them from the water. As a result, there will be less chance of facing joint strain or muscle fatigue. These paddles are longer than most other alternatives. If the paddle includes a stiff carbon shaft, it will offer more support with every stroke.

They are also quite beneficial for the injured paddlers. When it comes to slow-moving lakes or, they will be perfect. On the other hand, you can use a recreational kayak paddle for a short journey, fishing, or land exploration. They are shorter, heavier, and cheaper yet very sturdy. Besides, prioritize shorter paddles while going in narrower places regardless of your height and kayak width. Otherwise, there will be more probability of hitting the rocks or sand.

Blade size

It is as essential as the right paddle length. Almost all blades can be classified into two major groups: high angle and low angle. In the first category, the blades come with a shorter shaft. They are short, wide, and suitable for a powerful stroke.

The whitewater paddlers, racers, and extended ride lovers usually love these blades. They maintain the vertical position of the paddle during every stroke while the low-angle users keep it parallel. The low angle blades are long, thin, and can be used in relaxed trips. The paddles of the majority of touring kayaks are designed for low-angle strokes.

Adjustable paddles

Well, this one has been trendy nowadays. Such paddles can be adjusted from a shorter height to a taller version. These versatile paddles are available with some ferrules to join two or more parts. You can easily accommodate them in the boat and create the desired paddle height whenever needed.

Different paddlers can use the same kayak efficiently after adjusting the paddle length according to their comfort. The same paddle can be used with varying sizes of kayak too. Also, you can use it in both short or long trips and several wave conditions.

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Final Words

Both comfort and control are needed for a successful kayak ride. They mostly rely on the way the user handles his/her paddles. If the paddle is not suitable for them, they may end up being stuck in the middle of the river. Because it will not be able to provide proper navigation, support, and direction towards the aim; therefore, make sure of getting the mentioned benefits by getting the appropriate one.

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