How long should my kayak paddle be?

A kayak is a light narrow canoe or a small watercraft that contains a double-bladed paddle. It is used for traveling on water and is much similar to a fishing boat. There are certain types of the kayak which has its paddles and some other kind of kayaks that does not include paddles. Just like the kayaks, the paddles are also equally important. To navigate in the water and safety return back, the kayakers will depend on the paddles. If the paddle is not the right size, it will certainly put you at risk by turning your fun adventure into an awful outing and you will end up losing connection over your kayak. So, it is important to choose the paddle that perfectly fits the kayak. The paddles have their advantages and disadvantages. Those paddles that are purchased along with kayaks are beneficial for a specific purpose. It has been designed to fit the model purpose of the kayak. The disadvantage is that it may not be the best paddle for that particular type of kayak.

This article – How Long Should My Kayak Paddle Be? will assist all those who are not sure about the length of the kayak that they need to use. Some of the questions that are answered in this article are :

How long should my kayak paddle be?

The design and purpose of kayaks also need to be considered. Certain kayaks are built to perform well in a particular kind of water. As a result, there are several types of kayaks, like the recreational kayak, touring kayak, performance kayak, white water kayak, etc. They come with different widths and it determines the length of the paddle. A wide kayak will need a long paddle length, the torso also plays a vital role. A short person can’t use the same length of the paddle that is used by a tall person, even though they are in the same kayak.

  • The kayak width may be between 17 to 23 inches and the paddle length will range from 220 to 230 cms.
  • When the kayak width is between 23 to 25 inches, the paddle length ranges between 230 to 240 cms and
  • when the kayak width is 25 inches or more the paddle length ranges between 240to 250cms.

What happens when you use too long of a paddle for kayaking?

When you choose the incorrect paddle size or too long paddle for kayaking,there arefew risks of losing certain things like:

  • Control– you will finally end up stuck in water if you use your kayak paddles incorrectly. The accurate paddle usage involves navigating, turning, and directing the kayak in the path that you prefer.
  • Comfort– For a satisfied kayak tour, comfort is very essential. The way you are going to handle the paddles determines your comfort level. When the kayak paddles are too long to handle, you may find it hard to lift and push them easily. If the paddles are very short, it can create trouble by causing pain on your back, sore hands, and feet since you have to tilt far away from reaching the water.
  • Usability – The ankling and experience level also needs to be considered when choosing the paddle size. The paddles that are specially designed for deep-sea kayaking and active boasters will make it difficult to handle particularly if you are a learner who is excited to go on your first casual tour.

What length kayak paddle should be used?

Paddle Length

When choosing the kayak paddle, one must analyze various factors like the width of the kayak, if you are a high or low angle paddler, the measurements of the body, etc. After easing the kayak, you need to record all the measurements. The measurement of the torso height and the height of the body must be calculated. To measure the torso height, by bending your head downwards to locate your vertebra, to get the bottom, take measurement of your lumbar area.

Measure the length from the top vertebra to the lumbar area. Measure your body height and compare it with the kayak that you are going to use. If you are still confused with selecting the right kind of paddler, several outdoor shops can guide you. They hire staffs who are experienced in assisting with the paddle sizing. Certain places even have demo days to test various kinds of kayaks and paddles, so that the user will get familiar it with as they drive on water.

How long should a kayak paddle be in inches?

Certain factors need to be considered while determining the length of the paddle. A tall person will need a longer paddle that fits his body size. Depending on the height of the person the kayak paddle must be used. The length of the paddle of a kayak may also vary depending on a person’s height based on his physique or the length of his legs. Two people may have the same height, but their torso and leg may not be the same length. If a person is tall because of his torso, the determining factor must be the torso, if he is tall because of his legs, that should be the determining factor when selecting the length of the paddle. The torso height of a person in inches is given below with the paddle length range.

Paddler Height in InchesPaddle Length in Centimetres
For 22 inchesPaddle length can range from 180 cms
For 24 inchesPaddle length can range between 180 to 200 cms
For 26 inchesPaddle length can range between 190 to 200 cms
For 28 inchesPaddle length can lies between 200 to 220 cms
For 30 inchesPaddle length can range between 210 to 230 cms
For 32 inchesPaddle length can range between 220 cm to 240 cms
For 34 inchesPaddle length can range between 230 and 250 cms
For 36 inchesPaddle length can range between 240 cm to 250 cms

How hard it is to paddle a kayak?

For the kayak to perform well, the material of the paddle and the ability of the user plays a significant role.

  • The most commonly used materials are made out of fiberglass which is durable and lightweight. Compared to other materials it is more economical.
  • For beginners, aluminum is meant to be the best paddle material since it is cost-efficient. But it is very heavy which makes it hard to be handled for a few people.
  • The carbon fiber also known as the graphite paddles are expensive than the other paddles, but they are lightweight.
  • The wooden paddles are durable and stylish at the same time expensive compared to the other paddles.
  • The plastic peddler is a user friendly, especially for learners. It is lightweight and economical even though it may seem less attractive.
  • The shaft connects to the paddle blades where your hands are placed while angling the paddle. Shafts are curved or straight, you can try different blades and shafts to perceive your comfort level.
  • During long excursions, a comfortable shaft is very important to reduce your stress level on your arms and hands.

How to Choose a Paddle

When using a paddle for touring or fishing, a paddle that is easy to operate and easy to paddle without getting tired is the right choice. Follow the below factors to find your right paddle for the next water trip

  1. Lightweight
  2. Paddler Length
  3. The shape of the Blade

Lightweight: The weight of the paddle depends on the material and manufacturing process. The lightest paddle is made of carbon, followed by fiberglass, and then aluminum and plastic paddles. High-grade paddles made of the same material are lighter than other paddles because they are manufactured to be lighter. The lighter it is, the easier to paddle.

Paddler Length: The length of the paddle depends on the type of kayak and your physique.
In the case of sit-on-top kayaks, the length of 230 to 240 cm is easy to use, and in the case of sit-in sea kayaks (touring sea kayaks), the length of 220 to 230 cm is easy to use, and if you are small in this range, you should choose a shorter length, and if you are big in size, you should choose a longer length. Use a height-adjustable paddle for a better experience.

The Shape of the Blade: When you want to speed up in an instant, such as kayak surfing, you can use a paddle with a wider area. When you want to paddle a fairly long distance as easily as possible, choose a long, thin paddle, but I think that a paddle of the above balance type shape is easy to use for general kayak play.

Frequently asked questions about paddle size and kayaks

1. What is the ideal size of kayak for my height and weight?

The height of a person will not be a crucial factor when choosing the kayak and the paddle size as long as you use it for recreational trips, fishing, or white water exploration. Ensure that you are comfortable. The bodyweight of a person does matter since every kayak has a certain weight capacity limit. But various kinds of kayaks go with any body type and weight. Ensure that you have checked on the maximum weight limit, before buying the kayak and see to it that your current body weight is within that limit.

2. Are there any kayak paddles available for kids?

Yes, there are kids friendly kayak paddles especially designed for kids. The aspects that you need to look up while selecting the paddle for your kid are the weight of the child, the length of the paddle and it should be easy for the child to hold. Those kids who are below 4 feet must certainly avoid a paddle that is more than 182 centimeters long. Children between four to four and a half feet tall must select paddle between 182 to 190 centimeters. Those kids who are nearly 5 feet tall can choose paddle between 190 and 210 centimeters and those kids who are above 5 feet just follow the same chart as adults.

3. What is the best method of paddling a kayak?

The paddling of kayak comprises both low and high angling and also using feathered and unfeathered blades. The user has to maintain a good posture and very hard gripping of the paddle must be avoided, allow your physique to do the work as you sit straight and let the torso to do the paddling work. When you make the paddle strokes, you must turn your body rather than just making use of your shoulder and arms.

Final Words about Paddling Size

When you are looking for a suitable kayak paddle, the most important factor is your own height and the width of the kayak. Also, the area of ​​use must be considered. On account of all these above factors, we always recommend you to buy a height-adjustable paddle.

If the paddle length does not fit you, it can be adjusted in a few simple steps. It’s always best to change the length by 5 to 10 centimeters in order to feel a clear & significant difference. Step by step you approach your ideal paddle length. It helps you choose the exact paddle length for your next water trip.

This article has discussed the factors that help to determine the best paddle for adults and kids, the length of the kayak paddle in inches, and some of the frequently asked questions about paddle size and kayaks. Choose the appropriate paddle length for you to enjoy a comfortable kayak trip.

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