How long should a kayak paddle be

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After purchasing a kayak, this question enormously comes out how to pick a kayak paddle? How long should my kayak paddle be?  It is the most crucial thing if you are going to make a decent and enjoyable journey on the water. Choosing a kayak paddle is not a tough thing as there are millions of options available. You can easily choose a kayak paddle that is best suited for you. But due to inappropriate selection of kayak paddle, even thousands of strokes may evolve in a short tour, such as difficulties at maneuvering, banging knuckles, etc. Then, stay with me. I’m going to guide you in-depth to find your ideal paddle.

How long should a kayak paddle be

What length kayak paddle do you need: A Brief outline

Three things must consider while choosing a kayak paddle. Such as,

  1. Paddle length
  2. Blade material and design
  3. Shape material and design.

a. Paddle length or How long should your kayak paddle be

Figuring out the right kayak paddle mainly depends on two things. One is Kayak width, and another is Paddler height. It is a universal rule that for a wider boat longer paddle is required and for a narrower boat and taller paddler, a more extended paddle selection is crucial.

You can pick your kayak paddle using these three techniques:

1. By the number

Here is a calculation of the paddler’s height and boat width provided by several paddle manufacturers to estimate the proper length of a paddle to consider. The chart below is for low-angle paddling.

How-to-choose-a-kayak-paddle/Paddle sizing chart

There are other things you must consider while you are searching on How long should a kayak paddle be.

Paddling style: Most kayakers used two extended forms of paddling

a. Low angle: As it is comfortable paddling, most paddlers use this style unintentionally. It is the most general style for touring. Low angle paddling takes less energy at long-distance kayaking so that you will stay relaxed. For small angle paddling, a longer paddle is recommended.

b. High angle: For powerful stroke, demanding situations, or high-speed Most paddlers use this aggressive, more vertical paddling style. A shorter shaft and wider blade paddle are perfect for high angle steady stroking. It needs to substrate 10 cm then low angle paddling style if the manufacturer-provided size chart is geared towards low-angle paddling.

Seat Height:

You need to stretch kayak paddle length if you paddle from the high seating position. Usually, some sit on top kayak, and fishing kayak has a high above seating position from the water level. For this condition, you need to add an extra 10 cm for minimizing the distance from water.

2. Measuring torso height

Most charts based on paddler’s height against paddle length. Sometimes the problem may arise between two paddlers with the same height one does not feel comfortable with the same length paddle. Differences in torso height play a role here. But if you consider torso height, also it would reconfirm that paddle length is suited for you. What is torso height? Wear a regular jacket then sitting up straight on a comfortable sitting position, measure from between the top of the thigh to mid-shoulder. It is called torso height. Look at this sizing chart from combining Aqua-Bound and others.

Measuring torso height for kayak selection

3. Easy selection Method.

a. Bent elbow at a right angle like usual paddling style and gripe paddle normally, then hold your arms out. Keep away your hands from one-third of the blade shoulder and two-third from the center of the shaft.

Kayak paddle selection method

b. After choosing a paddle that seems to the right length for you and stand with it vertically. Extend your arm fully and hook your first finger joints over the top edge of the paddle. If your fingers reach the top, then it’s best suited for you, and if you do not, choose another one.

b. Blade material and design

What blade shape to choose

The shape of the blade plays a vital role in picking a kayak paddle. Choosing a blade shape depends on your paddling style.

1. low angle paddling style

For a low angle paddling, blades should be narrow and long. If you are searching a paddle for touring and recreational kayaking, then this is best for you. Paddlers using this more relaxed and often find cruising stroke as its highly energy efficient. This thinner blade shape adds a high dimension in a casual and long-distance paddling. That is the reason it’s most popular in North America.

2. High angle paddling

High angle blades are usually shorter and broader. It’s designed for those who prefer to use the first speed. Those tall paddlers keep their paddle perpendicular to the water. So making a strong and athletic stroke a wider blade with a slightly shorter paddle must necessary.

Blade material

Blade material comes from two common things, ‘plastic’ or ‘Composite.’ Plastic means made from nylon and polypropylene, and composite refers to fiberglass or carbon fiber. The blade material of your paddle can affect its proficiency in the water. When you take a lighter paddle can do more paddling at less exhaustion. Also, blades from more rigid materials need fewer strokes than plastic paddles at the same distance touring. So, it’s totally upon your motive and budget which kinds of blade material best suits you. Want to know in brief? keep reading. You might be interested in Kayaking in Arizona.

1. Plastic or plastic fortified with fiberglass:

The main feature of a plastic blade is that it’s highly economical. Recreational Kayak paddlers are commonly comfortable with it. But the bad side is when its lefts in the sun can fracture and degrade. Besides, when plastic blades are coated with fiberglass, it can enhance their performance but less than the composite blade.

2. Fiberglass blade

If you are looking for a better option at the middle price range, then go for it. As it provides outstanding performance, I prefer this to the plastic blade. It’s genuinely lightweight, which must be crucial for cushy kayaking. Fiberglass blade usually won’t crack though it has less flexibility than carbon fiber.

3. Carbon-fiber

It’s the best choice for you if you are used to paddling regularly and willing to pay more for superb performance. The ultralight and high durability characteristics of a carbon fiber blade ensure efficient paddling at less fatigue.

c. Shaft material

Two types of shafts material commonly found, such as Aluminum or carbon & fiberglass.


Aluminum shafts are highly durable and do not need to pay more. It will be a valuable idea if you are purchasing it for paddling at cold water. As it can get stiff or hot so, graving it is sometimes difficult. You need to glove up before paddling with it.

Carbon and fiberglass shaft.

Those composite material blades do an excellent favor, separating your hands from the cold or hot water temperature. It’s the most lightweight, durable, and unique performance shaft.

Shaft design

1.   Straight and vent: Standard Straight shafts are commonly used. Whether Vent shaft provides less stress on your wrists, but it’s reasonably expensive.

2.   Diameter: Shafts come in a standard or small size. Most paddlers feel comfortable with a standard. But Child’s or smaller-handed paddlers need a shorter diameter shaft for a relaxed grip.

3.   Featuring: Most shafts have feature offsetting. It helps to reduce the wind resistance of your upper blade while it’s wandering through the air.

4.   Two pieces or four-piece: Commonly, two fragments of shafts are used as they are comparatively easier for storage and transportation. Besides, four pieces shaft model has a shorter section. It might be highly helpful when you are holding a paddle on a plane or going somewhere for hiking.

Final Thought:

It is always necessary to find a perfect size paddle for an enjoyable day on the water. Most interestingly, Not only your kayak paddle length is important. But also blade, and shaft design, style of your paddling, and which type of activity you want to try out like fishing, touring, surfing, etc. play a significant role in finding the perfect size kayak paddle. So, I could suggest narrow down your selection by considering the above points and then choosing a kayak paddle according to your height. Have a pleasant day on the water! 

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