The very first thought that comes after buying a kayak is which paddle length to choose that suits best, and a most frequent challenge that almost every kayak owner comes across. By some means, an ideal kayak paddle length is generally determined by the kayak dimensions, stroke preference, and body stature. However, the appropriate size of paddle length makes the most difference in the kayak experience.
Even so, the size of the paddle of a kayak appears to be quite subjective. But to get it right is what is significant. Nonetheless, the paddles would add extra tension to your torso and shoulders if they are long. Whereas, if it is too short, the sides of your kayak will get abrade with each stroke.
That being said, the height of your torso and the width of the kayak is what helps to get the correct and specific size of kayak paddles. So, before getting deeper into the topic, a few things need to get sorted out so that you will end up leaving the site with a clear mind.
Why Right Size of Kayak Paddle Is Important?
Kayaking is such a mind refreshing activity as long as you do not put yourself into trouble by choosing inappropriate paddles. Having a proper comprehension of choosing unerring paddles that you can clasp and make the most of its use comfortably aid prevent fatigue and lets you become pro in kayaking.
Here are few factors you may run into with inappropriate paddles:
• You may end up go meandering, instead of following the straight track.
• You often feel a mild fatigue and muscle soreness coming on.
• You have to bend over backward to reach the water.
• Struggling to bear the extra weight of paddles.
• You have to put more effort to keep up with stability.
Things To Consider In Paddle Sizing
There is a simple guideline that says, the kayak paddles would be long if the paddler height is tall and the width of the kayak is wider. Still, there are some factors that need to be considered while purchasing kayak paddles.
Check Out: The Best Kayak Paddles Under $100
1. The Body
Undeniably, your entire body, means your overall height and torso length have the biggest impact on kayak pedal size. As written above, the taller you are, the longer will be your kayak pedal. Nonetheless, you will often get to see most of the sizing charts include only paddler’s height while this is not the actual case, some of the time your torso length helps you to attain an accurate match.
2. Width Of The Kayak
The second most crucial factor to keep in consideration is the width of the kayak’s framework when knowing about the size is your intention. Notwithstanding, it is said that the wider your kayak’s hull the longer will be the paddles. Therefore, always consider the width to get the most accurate reading.
3. Preferable Strokes And Paddling
It is vital to get stroke angle preference specified before making a purchase because it has a major effect on paddle selection. No matter if you choose a high-angle stroke that keeps the blade nearer to the kayak and produces more force or opts for a low-angle and more of a horizontal stroke to spend extended days on the water. All other things being equal, the first scenario required a shorter paddle with a wider and shorter blade, whereas for the second one, a longer paddle with a narrow and long blade is preferable.
4. Types Of Kayaking You Want
It is another and most effective way to conclude your paddle sizing. The kind of kayaking you are going to do must be in mind beforehand-touring, recreational or whitewater rapids. That being said, in whitewater kayaking where control is the first priority, a shorter paddle is suitable in this regard. While in tour kayaking longer paddles fit the bill because they tend to generate more power. However, recreational kayaking falls in between.
We want you to check out our guide to the best whitewater inflatable kayaks.
How To Measure Kayak Paddle
But first of all, lets make the conversion simpler for you
Paddle Lengths In Inches:
|Paddle Length (cm)||Paddle Length (inches)|
When time is not allowing you to spend hours then quickly grab the measuring tape and follow these quick and easy methods to help you get the exact match for your kayak.
1. Hook The Finger Method
Stand the paddle against the wall next to you, now try to reach the edge of a paddle with your fully extended arm, and check if you bend the first joint of your fingers over the edge of the paddle. If you cannot make it to the edge of the paddle, then you need a different kayak paddle of a different size.
Note: Keep in mind the following method does not consider the kayak width and paddling style.
2. Measure The Width of Your Kayak
Both the frame width and paddler height together can help you achieve the exact idea according to your needs. As a matter of fact, the kayak design vary a lot more so as to get the right measurement, it is best to find the frame’s widest point and measure from there and note it down.
Here are the lengths and widths of different kayak types.
|Kayak Type||Length Of Kayak||Width Of Kayak|
|Recreational Kayak||6-12 feet||26”-30”|
|Touring Kayak||12-15 feet||22”-25”|
|Whitewater Kayak||8-12 feet||Width isn’t critical|
|Performance Kayak||15-18 feet||19”-22”|
3. Measure Your Torso Height
Our Torso height is a pretty decent way to get to know the optimal size you need. That being said our body is built slightly different from one another, which means neither our torso measures the same nor does our legs length. So as to say that your torso is a great predictor in comparison to your overall height.
Generally, the torso is measured in a sitting position which is from the crotch (center of your legs) to the tip of the nose. Why it is important because it lets you know how high your arms are above the sides of the kayak.
|Torso Height||High Angle (cm)||Low Angle (cm)|
|24”-28”||210 cm – 215 cm||215 cm – 220 cm|
|28”-30”||220 cm – 230 cm||230 cm|
|Above 30”||230 cm||230 cm|
4. Low-Angle Paddle Size Guide
Follow this sizing guide if you are intended to use low-angle strokes and if you use touring, fishing, and recreational kayaking.
|Kayak Width||Under 24″||24”-28”||29”-33”||Above 33”|
|Paddler Height||Paddle Length (cm)|
|5 feet and less||210 cm||220 cm||230 cm||240 cm|
|5 feet – 5 feet 6 inches||215 cm||220 cm||230 cm||240 cm|
|5 feet 6 inches – 6 feet||220 cm||220 cm||230 cm||250 cm|
|6 feet and above||220 cm||230 cm||250 cm||250 cm|
5. High-Angle Paddle Size Guide
If you have sea kayaking and your intended strokes are high-angle then follow this chart to get accurate paddle size.
|Kayak Width||17”-23”||23”-25”||Over 25″|
|Paddler Height||Paddle Length (cm)|
|5 feet and less||200 cm||210 cm||220 cm|
|5 feet – 5 feet 6 inches||210 cm||220 cm||230 cm|
|5 feet 6 inches – 6 feet 2 inches||220 cm||230 cm||240 cm|
|Above 6 feet 3 inches||230 cm||240 cm||250 cm|
6. Whitewater Paddle Size Guide
To determine the right paddle size required, follow this sizing chart while using a Whitewater kayak.
|Paddler Height||Paddle Length (cm)|
|Under 5 feet 2 inches||188 cm – 194 cm|
|5 feet 2 inches – 5 feet 8 inches||190 cm – 196 cm|
|5 feet 8 inches – 6 feet 1 inch||192 cm – 200 cm|
|Below 6 feet 1 inche||196 cm – 204 cm|
Seemingly, an average height and size kayaker would be perfect with a 230 cm kayak paddle. However, these paddles are a convenient choice for those who do not want an aggressive stroke, rather, use a low-angle and smooth paddling. Whereas, for those who are seeking out slightly aggressive and high-angle paddling, 220 to 210 cm kayak paddles seem working cooperatively.
Hope that all your confusion regarding kayak paddle size will be eliminated while scrolling through the article. Leaving you with the fact that the right size of kayak paddle does wonders to your kayak experience, and you will become a better kayaker if you follow these simple guidelines the way it is told.
Moreover, this brief video can help you clear your mind while choosing the right paddle size for your body and kayaking purpose.
Hi, I’m Randy R. Lios and the owner of Floating Kayaks. I’ve always been adventuresome at heart. From the time, I got my first kayak at age 18 until now when I have multiple kayaks with accessories and spend 5-6 hours researching all the new related stuff in the market. I have always been fond of fishing since my childhood and kayaking is part of my weekend routine.