What's so important about the paddle size? Everything! Because without the proper paddle size for your kayak, moving from Point A to B becomes a real problem. As you'd struggle to keep that balanced paddling form, hit your knuckles on the sides almost every time you swing or the paddle itself could break due to excess stress.
Luckily I've provided you information on how to pick the right size so you can enjoy a stress-free kayaking experience. Read on as we delve in…
Factors to Consider When Choosing The Right Paddle Size for Your Kayak
It seems pretty simple to find the right size of paddle for your 'Yak. Right? After all, a tall user with a wider kayak will require a longer paddle. This may be true from a general perspective but there are more details to consider before you shop for a paddle. Here they are:
This boils down to two elements, your overall height, and your torso length. These are used to determine the perfect size for your kayak, but it's the torso length that is used preferably. Because a tall person could be such due to an exception such as his or her torso length being longer. This is why two users may not be able to share the same torso length but they do share overall height. This means one of them isn't going to enjoy his/her kayaking experience.
|Kayak Paddle Size Based On Torso Height|
|Paddle Height (inches)||Recommended Paddle Length (cm)|
|24||180 - 200|
|26||190 - 210|
|28||200 - 220|
|32||220 - 240|
|34||230 - 250|
|36||240 - 250|
Your Kayak's Width
Apart from your body length, you Should also consider the width of your Kayak. As the wider it is, the longer the paddle has to be. Because, if the paddle length does not rhyme in this manner, you could end up striking the hull of your 'yak on the sides every time you paddle at a low angle. Or in the case of high angle paddling (power paddling), you could strike or break the paddle against your 'yak.
|Kayak Paddle Size Based On Kayak Width and Paddler' s Height|
|Paddler's Height (feet and inches)||Kayak Width (inches)|
|(Under) 23||23 - 28||28 - 32||(over) 32|
|5 - 5' 6''||215||220||230||240|
|5' 6'' - 6''||220||220||230||250|
Height of Your Seat
Another factor that affects the size of your paddle is your seat's height. This is because it contributes to the total length of your torso. Which in turn increases the length of the paddle that'll provide you with that perfect form or balanced while paddling.
The way you paddle also affects the size. How? If you prefer a paddle with a high angle (power paddling), then the best paddle size is a shorter one with wide paddle blades that offer more control. Especially against rough waters. Or if you prefer to paddle at a low angle, then the best paddle size is one that is longer and has narrow paddle blades.
|Kayak Paddle size Based On Paddling Style|
|Torso Height (Inches)||High Angle Style (Cm)||Low Angle Style (Cm)|
|24||210 - 215||215 - 220|
|26||210 - 215||215 - 220|
|28||210 - 215||215 - 220|
|30||220 - 230||230 - 240|
Preferred Mode of Kayaking
If you're looking to practice some touring, then the best paddle size is one that is long and allows you to paddle at low angles easily. So you can save up on energy throughout your tour. Because lover paddles produce more stroke power with less effort. Unlike the shorter paddles as they are meant for whitewater rapids which demand more control. To which shorter paddles provide when used in high angle style.
How to Find the Right Paddle Size For Your Kayak
Measure Your Height
This involves using your overall height or/and torso height to find the right fit for your kayak. However, torso height is the most accurate form of measuring because two people of the same height can have different experiences about the same paddle size.
How to Measure Your Torso
- stand up straight
- bend your head forward to expose the vertebrae bulging out of your neck
- let your friend or assistant find your lower torso body and place their hands on your hip bone as an indicator for the lower part of your torso
- then your assistant or friend should start measuring your torso length
Measure the Widths of Your Kayak
Just like your body size, the width of your kayak is also an important factor for finding the best paddle size. Because it also determines how long your paddle should be. So that you can maintain the balanced paddling form while the blades are properly placed in water.
This will prevent you from knocking your knuckles around the side of your kayak hull every time you take a swing. Also, it's best to measure your kayak at its widest points. Given that the design is curved, you'll have to take measurements at the very center.
Quickest Ways to Find the Right Paddle Size for Your Kayak (without measurements)
Sometimes it can be quite stressful and somewhat hard to take your measurements before shopping for a kayak paddle. Lucky for you there are easy ways you can find the right paddle size for your kayak without the use of a tape rule.
- Position the paddle next to you in such a way it stands up straight
- try to make sure your hand can reach above blade's tip
- try to wrap your fingers around the tip in such a way your finger joints touches the tip
So, if you're able to wrap your finger joints around the tip, then it's perfect for your kayak. If not, you need to try out another one.
Note: this method is not full proof as it doesn't involve your paddle style or kayak width.
Hold your paddle up in such a way your arms are at a 90° angle. And each of them must be positioned two-thirds from the center of the paddle to its blades.
What Are the Benefits of Getting the Right Paddle Size?
The paddle is a very important part of your kayak's navigation system. So a few centimeters too short or too long can be the major difference between an easy tour from point A to B with a balanced form and a rough and imbalanced one.
Once you acquire the right size and type of paddle for your type of kayaking, there is sure to be an increase in stroke efficiency. Such that the energy you put in will not be wasted and it would take a very long session to have you fatigued. Especially if you're touring. Because it does help a lot in improving your endurance.
When you don't get the appropriate size of paddle for your kayak then the probability of getting blisters, muscle strains, and fatigue skyrockets. To the point that a simple kayak trip will leave you looking like you're done touring. To avoid all these issues with your paddling experience, make sure to get the paddle with the appropriate size to ensure a more comfortable, high-enduring, and less hurtful kayaking experience.
Disadvantages of a Poorly Sized Paddle
If the paddle is much too short or much too long for your kayak, you are sure to break your balanced paddling form. As it would have you shifting to the sides just to make a proper paddle blade placement into the water. This uncomfortable form will have you moving in a zig-zag pattern, rather Than the straight one. To which you'll most likely expel a lot of energy to paddle on a straight path.
Such an experience usually leaves the user feeling fatigue with soreness all over after a session.
Paddle Becomes Heavy
Because it is too long, the paddle would be heavier to carry. This in turn affects your stroking efficiency to the point that more energy will have to be applied to make a successful stroke.
You Lose Form
If the paddle is too short, it becomes very hard to make proper paddle placements into the water. At some point, you could be leaning over the sides to make these placements successful. This will put a lot of strain on your waist and make your kayaking experience seem long and fatigue-full.
Blisters and Knuckle Soreness
With a very short paddle, you are left knocking your hand against the hull of your kayak from time to time. This would then force you to lean over and lose control in the process. But if the paddle is too long, you get to experience Blisters between your thumb and index finger every time you make a stroke.
Other Kayak Paddle Size Tables
|Kayak Paddle Sizes For Recreational Kayaking and Touring|
|Paddler's Height (feet and inches)||Kayak Width (inches)||High Angle Style
(for paddle length in cm)
|Low Angle Style
for paddle length in cm)
|5' - 5' 10''||(under) 22||210||220|
|5' 10'' - 6' 2''||23 - 26||215||230|
|(Over) 6' 3''||23 - 24||220||240|
|Kayak Paddle Sizes For Whitewater|
|Paddle Height (feet and inches)||Paddle Length (cm)|
|5' - 5' 11''||192 - 196|
|6' - 6' 3''||198|
|(Over) 6' 3''||200|
Get yourself a paddle now…
It should be clear now that the wrong paddle size is bad for your kayaking experience, even if it's just a few centimeters. This is why it is important to choose them properly. And from what we've provided, a great way to start is to consider factors such as:
- Your body size
- Seat height
- Kayak width
- Type of kayaking
- Paddling style
With these are noted you should be able to narrow down your options when next you go shopping for a paddle.