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Kayak Paddle Sizing

Guide With Chart: Choose The Right Kayak Paddle Length

Published November 16, 2022

A kayak paddle is one of the most important pieces of gear for a kayaker. It is necessary to propel your Kayak through the water and provide stability and balance while paddling. Choosing the right paddle length is essential for a comfortable and enjoyable kayaking experience. Everyone needs an ultimate kayak paddle sizing guide with a chart to choose the right length.

There are a few factors to consider when choosing a kayak paddle length, such as your height, the width of your Kayak, and how you will be using your Kayak. This article will provide a kayak paddle sizing guide to help you choose the right length for your needs.

Kayak Paddle Sizing Guide With Chart: Summary

Kayak Paddle Sizing Guide

There are a few things to remember when choosing a kayak paddle length.

Your Height

The first factor to consider when choosing a kayak paddle is your height. You will want a paddle that is comfortable for your height and reach. To find the right paddle length for your height, measure from the ground to your chin while standing upright. This measurement is your height in inches.

So, if you are tall, you will need a taller paddle. If you are shorter, you will need a shorter paddle. It is that simple!

Kayak Width

Another factor to consider when choosing a kayak paddle length is the width of your Kayak. If you have a wider kayak, you will need a longer paddle to reach the water on either side of your Kayak. Conversely, if you have a narrower kayak, you will need a shorter paddle to reach the water on either side of your Kayak comfortably.

How are You Going to Kayak?

When choosing a kayak paddle length, the third factor to consider is how you will use your Kayak. Are you going to be doing a lot of fishing from your Kayak? If so, you will need a longer paddle to reach the water on either side of your Kayak.

Are you going to be racing your Kayak? If so, you will need a shorter paddle to increase your speed and maneuverability.

Are you going to be touring in your Kayak? If so, you will need a longer paddle to provide more power and stability while paddling long distances.

Once you have considered these factors, it is time to choose the right paddle length for your needs!

Here is a chart with suggested paddle lengths based on height and kayak width:

Height (in feet)

Paddle Length (in feet)

6 or under

4’8″ – 5’4″

6’1″ – 6’6″

5’6″ – 6’0″

Over 6’6″


Kayak Width (in feet)

Paddle Length (in feet)

Under 23″

4’8″ – 5’4″

23″ – 26″

5’0″ – 5’6″

26″ – 29″

5’4″ – 6’0″

Over 29″

5’10” – 6’6″

If you are still unsure about what size paddle to choose, there are a few other things you can do to help narrow down your options.

Choose a Kayak Paddle According to the Size Chart given Above

Kayak Paddle Sizing Chart

First, follow the above-given size chart and get yourself a kayak paddle accordingly. This will give you a good starting point and help narrow your options.

Check the Paddle Lengths of Different Brands:

Next, check out the paddle lengths of different brands. Some brands may have longer or shorter paddles than others. This will help you further narrow down your options.

Ask Other Kayakers about Their Ideal Paddle Length

You can also ask other kayakers about their ideal paddle length. This is a great way to get first-hand information about what size paddle works best for different people. Besides, other kayakers are a great resource for information and advice!

Get 3 Different Length Paddles for Different Kayaking Experiences

Another option is to get three different-length paddles and use them for different kayaking experiences. For example, you could get a shorter paddle for fishing, a longer paddle for touring, and an even longer paddle for racing. This way, you will always have the right size paddle for your activity!

Remember, choosing the right kayak paddle length is important for a comfortable and enjoyable kayaking experience. Use this kayak paddle sizing guide to help choose the right paddle length for your needs!

So now you know how to measure for a kayak paddle and what size paddle you need. Let’s discuss some tips while choosing the best paddle kayak according to your needs, situation, and budget.

Helpful Tips to Choose the Right Kayak Paddle

A kayak paddle is one of the most important pieces of equipment for your kayaking adventures. The type of paddle you choose depends on several factors, including your experience level and what kind of water you plan to paddle in. Here are some helpful tips to help you find the right kayak paddle:

Consider Shaft Material

The shaft material of your paddle is the most important thing to consider when choosing a kayak paddle. The shaft will determine how well it works as a tool for you, so it’s important to get durable and not flimsy. If you decide to go with a cheaper paddle, be sure that it has a shaft made of high-quality plastic, which is more durable than metal or wood.

If you have small hands or are shorter than average, consider getting an adjustable paddle. These paddles can be adjusted to fit anyone who uses them comfortably and securely. This allows you to use the same paddle for multiple people without worrying about it being too large for them or too small for anyone else!

Another feature many like about adjustable paddles is that they allow easier storage when not in use. This can be especially useful if there isn’t enough room in your car for something big (like a fishing pole) or small (like a ballpoint pen).

Paddle Blades

If you’re buying a kayak, you probably want to know what kind of paddle you should get. There are many different paddles in the market, but the two most common types are the flat-blade and the round-trip.

The flat-blade is one of the most popular paddles because it’s lightweight and easy to use. If you’re trying to decide between these two blades, go with a flat one because it is easier to maneuver and control.

To choose the right paddle, you need to know what kind of paddling you’re doing. You’ll want to look at the blade length and thickness. The blade length is measured from end to end and should be long enough for you to get a good grip on your paddle.

The blade thickness can vary depending on what you’re using it for—for example, if you’re paddling through shallow waters where there’s not much current, you might only need a thin blade that’s easy to maneuver.

But if you’re going out on open water with lots of waves and currents, you’ll want a thicker paddle that’s more durable and can withstand more abuse before breaking down.

The next thing to consider is whether or not it will be used with other gear like oars or oarlocks (paddles that attach directly to oars). Some paddlers use this type of setup because it allows them to move faster than those who use just their own hands without any extra equipment attached (like a kayak seat).

However, this setup requires additional expense upfront; if you decide against buying one of these types of paddles, don’t worry about it too much because they’re often unnecessary anyway!

Know your Intended Use

You may think that all paddles are the same, but this isn’t true. For example, if you’re planning on using your paddle for whitewater rafting, you’ll need one that’s lightweight and easy to maneuver through rapids while also being strong enough to withstand a lot of abuse.

However, if you intend to use it for recreational purposes, you can get away with something much less expensive.

Consider How Often You'll Be Using Your Kayak Paddles

If you’re planning on using your paddle every day or multiple times a week, then it’s worth spending a little bit more money to get something that will last longer. If you’re only using it once in a while, then there’s no need to spend as much money on one.

The reason is that you won’t use it as often and won’t need something as durable.

You also want a well-balanced paddle: If it is too heavy on one end, it will be more difficult for you to use properly. Besides, a poorly-balanced paddle can be more difficult and even make you sore.

That is why it’s always better first to consider how often you will be using your paddle; it will be helpful for you to choose the right one.

Choosing the Right Kayak Paddle Weight

Weight is key in choosing the right paddle to use while kayaking. You want to ensure that you have a paddle that is light enough to hold comfortably and efficiently but sturdy enough to handle the weight of your Kayak and its contents.

If you’re looking for a lightweight paddle, try one made of plastic or fiberglass. These materials are less likely to break than aluminum or carbon fiber paddles, so they will likely be less expensive.

For more durability and strength, consider using an aluminum or carbon fiber paddle instead. These materials are more expensive than plastic or fiberglass paddles, but they will last longer and provide greater strength to carry more weight without fatigue or injury.

Price and Warranty

The price of a kayak paddle is one of the most important things you’ll want to consider. A cheap paddle may be made from poor materials or missing essential features such as a blade guard. While we do not recommend buying a paddle that costs less than $50, we think spending more than $50 on your paddle is worth it if you’re looking for quality.

The warranty on your new paddle should also be something you consider. The manufacturer typically offers a lifetime warranty on all their products, but this does not always hold for retailers like Amazon or Best Buy. You can often find better warranties when buying directly from the manufacturer and reading reviews about that specific model before purchasing it online.


What Happens When You Use Too Long a Paddle for Kayaking?

The answer is simple: you don’t get the same performance out of your Kayak as you would with a shorter paddle.

This is because longer paddles provide less leverage than shorter ones, which means that they require more effort to propel.

Why are Kayak Paddles Different Lengths?

Kayak paddles are different lengths because they are designed to fit the paddler’s needs.

The length of a kayak paddle will vary depending on the length of your arms and torso and your level of experience. A longer paddle may be better for you if you’re taller than average or have longer arms than most people because it will help prevent fatigue from extended use.

However, if you are shorter than average or have shorter arms, a longer paddle may be better for you because it will allow you to reach further out with less effort.

Do Kayak Paddles Make a Difference?

Yes, they do make a difference. A good kayak paddle will be lightweight and easy to use. It should have a comfortable grip and an ergonomic design that fits your hand size and shape. The paddle blade should also be tapered for maximum efficiency in the water.

What Shape of the Kayak Paddle is Best?

A round-tipped kayak paddle is best for beginners because it provides a lot of power with less effort on your part. It’s also easier to use because you can get more leverage when paddling.

However, if you have more experience or are looking for something that will help you go faster, a blade with a curved tip may be better for you because it will slice through the water with less resistance.

Are More Expensive Kayak Paddles Worth It?

Most people think more expensive paddles are better, but this isn’t always the case. You can find very good paddles in the $50-$75 range, which will work just as well as the more expensive models. You want to look for a paddle that feels comfortable in your hand and performs well on the water.

Kayak Paddle Sizing Chart & Guide: Final Conclusion

Kayak paddles come in all shapes, sizes, and price ranges. Finding one that feels comfortable in your hand and is the right size for your Kayak. You also want to ensure that the paddle you choose is durable and will last many years.

We hope this kayak paddle sizing guide has helped you understand the different types of kayak paddles and what to look for when choosing one. Besides, the above-given kayak paddle size chart should help you choose the right size for your kayaking needs.

Jay Schwartz author of Kayak Guidance

About the Author - Jay Schwartz:

Hey there kayak lovers! I’m Jay Schwartz, the author here at Kayak Guidance! You know water sports – you know me! My life is all about it. Kayaking, Paddleboarding, Fishing, Snorkeling and so much more. I love to share my passion and knowledge with all of you. 

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