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Kayak Paddle Size Chart: The Full Guide

Kayak Paddle Size Chart

Kayak Paddle Size Chart

Updated on 6/20/2024
Abigail ScottBy Abigail Scott
Hi, I'm Abigail 👋 Since embarking on my kayaking and boarding adventures in 2010, I've navigated rivers and lakes across North America and beyond. With over a decade of experience and countless waterways explored, I'm here to help enthusiasts like you embark on unforgettable water adventures!
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Having a kayak paddle that is the correct length for your body may significantly impact how comfortable you paddle when you're out on the water. The online sizing reference we have supplied is the most up-to-date and trustworthy information available on the kayak paddle size chart, and who can access it here?

If you buy a kayak with a paddle that is too short for the kayak, your hands will be hitting the sides of the kayak the whole time you are paddling. That holds irrespective of the manufacturer or the specific model you use. If you keep it excessively long, you risk placing more pressure on your shoulders and zigzagging the kayak in the water, both demanding activities. Having it for an overly long period also puts additional strain on your arms.

Selecting the correct dimension is more of an art than a science. You should consider the sort of paddle that best suits the way you live your life, the profile of the blade, and the ferrule you should choose for you. That is in addition to determining the length of your paddle that is ideal for you. Ultimately, you will want to select the most suitable paddle for how you spend your time.

What Length Should I Get For My Paddle?

When selecting the suitable length for your paddle to use in a kayak, the first considerations are your height and the kayak's width. These are the two parameters that are the most crucial to take into account.

If you are unsure about the width of your kayak, you should measure it at the point where it is the widest, which will give you the most accurate reading. The following table offers a reference for the typical widths of a variety of kayaks, including:

Recreational kayaks with a width between 26 and 30 inches. The typical length of these boats is between 6 and 12 feet.

Recreational kayaks

Recreational kayaks

We were touring Kayak widths 22" to 25". These boats generally range in length from 12 to 15 feet.



Performance Kayak width 19" to 22". These boats are significantly longer, measuring between 15 and 18 feet.
Performance Kayak

Performance Kayak

Whitewater Kayak It is more important to consider the paddler's height than the boat's breadth. These boats generally range in length from around 2 to 3 meters.

Whitewater Kayak

Whitewater Kayak

Use the first chart below if your kayak fits recreational, touring, or performance size categories. Who should place the width of your kayak on the top horizontal axis, and who should set your height on the left vertical axis? The point at which these two axes intersect is the size of your paddle.

Kayak Paddle Size Chart

Kayak WidthUnder 23"23" To 27.75"28" To 32"Over 32"
Paddler HeightOptimal Paddle Length
Under 5'200 cm 210 cm 220 cm230 cm
5' To 5'6"210 cm 220 cm 230 cm240 cm
5'7" To 6' 220 cm 220 cm 230 cm240 cm
Over 6' 220 cm 230 cm 240 cm250 cm

You would be able to choose a paddle just based on the kayak width table if the width of your kayak were the sole factor determining your paddle's size. That is a single reference point; we have included it here.



If you plan to paddle a whitewater kayak, consult the chart below. When playboating and freestyling, it is essential to bear in mind that a large number of paddlers prefer the shorter paddle style. When paddling over rivers and streams, it is preferable to use a longer paddle. You may go through the many different paddle alternatives that come standard with whitewater kayaks by following the link in the previous sentence.

Adult Whitewater Paddle Sizing Guide

UNDER 5'2"192 cm
5'2" - 5'7" 194 cm
5'8" - 5'11" 196 cm
6'0" - 6'3" 198 cm
OVER 6'3" 200 cm

Before you commit to making a purchase, it is recommended that you try out paddles of various lengths and shapes using a few different options first, which holds regardless of the sort of kayak you have. On the lake, hosted by local merchants, demonstrations are an excellent opportunity to test a product before making a purchase. Follow the link provided to choose a store situated in an area easily accessible to you.



Which Paddle Categories Suit Me?

Choosing a paddle could look like a difficult chore, but it doesn't have to be that difficult at all.

Choosing a category that fits your paddling lifestyle (performance, touring, recreation, or whitewater) is the simplest method to reduce the number of possibilities you have to evaluate. That is because each category focuses on a different aspect of paddling.

Maritime holidays can involve excursions of varying lengths on still or moving water and can be taken on rivers or lakes.

If you want to spend significant time paddling your kayak, you should consider investing in a touring or performance paddle to get the most out of your time on the water. When it comes to these particular kinds of paddles, the general rule is that as you progress up the line, the paddles will get lighter, which holds for all the different models. Because of this, the weight of the swing is reduced, which, in turn, reduces the amount of pressure exerted on the joints and, as a result, reduces the amount of overall fatigue.

Which Paddle Categories Suit Me?

Which Paddle Categories Suit Me?

True enthusiasts typically choose a paddle with a carbon shaft since this material is renowned for its rigidity, efficiency, and responsiveness. It has the added benefit of drastically decreasing the paddle's total weight. Blades made of carbon or fiberglass that have been compression-molded are both lightweight and robust, giving the user more power with each stroke. A carbon shaft is used in combination with this to achieve the task.

Certain professionals in the industry advise choosing a lightweight paddle made of fiberglass or a carbon composite with blades if you plan to go on extended paddling excursions or frequently experience shoulder discomfort while paddling. This recommendation is given to paddlers who frequently experience shoulder discomfort while swimming.

There Is Involvement From Both Lakes And Rivers.

A touring kayak paddle is an excellent choice if you plan on paddling on lakes and rivers with a sluggish current and spending significant time inside your boat while on your excursion. A touring kayak paddle is designed to accommodate extended periods spent paddling inside the ship. The most popular kind of kayak paddle is called a touring paddle, and it's great for exploring new areas, paddling rapids, going on day trips, and even spending the night at a campsite. Shafts made of aluminum are heavier and feel colder to the touch than beams made of carbon or fiberglass do. The weight of carbon and fiberglass shafts is comparable to that of aluminum.



If you don't want to spend much time on the lake, you only need a recreational paddle because anything more than that will be overkill. This class of paddles is ideal for going on excursions of a shorter duration, fishing, getting some exercise, and discovering new regions along the coastline. These paddles will be the lightest choice, but they will also be the most affordable. The performance or touring paddles will be heavier than these, and they will also have a very long lifespan.

Suppose you spend significant time fishing in shallow water, where you regularly meet impediments such as stones, sand, or gravel. In that case, you will want to pay the utmost attention to durability. Consider purchasing a paddle with a broader blade as well; many paddlers think this provides considerable bite into the water, even when just half of the edge is submerged at any given moment.


Whitewater paddles are an excellent choice to purchase if you are seeking a blade that can slice through the water with relative ease. They should be on your short list of possibilities. They are built to withstand significant use while maintaining their effectiveness and having a high cadence rate. In addition, whitewater shafts made of carbon or fiberglass are frequently thicker than shafts made of other materials since the added strength these materials provide is essential for use in whitewater environments. These paddles are constructed to resist the severe conditions of usage in whitewater, and you'll need one that can withstand some knocks and bruises in this portion of the river. These paddles are made to withstand the harsh circumstances of use in whitewater.

Regardless of how skillfully whitewater paddles were constructed, the intense conditions they are subjected to might lead them to fracture or shatter. That is because the type of paddling done with them can cause the paddles to be subjected to different stresses. A great design will always find a method to balance the two attributes of weight and strength when dealing with a particular collection of materials. You should always be prepared for everything that may come your way, so make sure you have a compact paddle that breaks down into four pieces and is easy to have with you at all times.

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How Do I Choose The Right Blade Shape?

The method in which you generally paddle is the most crucial factor to consider when determining whether to swim with a short, broad blade or a long, narrow blade. That is because the length and width of the blade will directly affect how you paddle.


Paddlers who move their arms at a steeper angle keep the paddle shaft more vertically aligned during the whole action of their stroke (perpendicular to the water). These paddlers often use a blade that is shorter and broader than what is considered normal, as well as a paddle with a shaft that is shorter than what is considered conventional.

Because you paddle in a more upright position, you can generate a more robust and athletic stroke. Whitewater paddlers, racers, and tour paddlers that love swimming at a rapid tempo often prefer shorter shafts and larger blades on their paddling gear. This desire is because shorter posts allow more power to be transferred to the water.


Paddlers who choose low-angle strokes tend to keep their paddles in a position that is somewhat close to horizontal (parallel to the water). Paddlers who adopt a more relaxed stroke and are more favorable to cruising often realize that a paddle with a longer and thinner blade is the most energy-efficient alternative. This may be why stand-up paddleboarding has become North America's most popular form of paddling.

Do I need a ferrule that can feather the feathers on the end? What on earth could be the implication of that?

A ferrule system refers to a kayak paddle constructed out of two distinct components, and the paddle element that connects the two halves of the paddle is referred to as a ferrule.

In addition to having the flexibility for feathering, as the Posi-Lok ferrule does, it also enables a 2-piece paddle to function as if it were a 1-piece paddle. That is possible because the ferrule is made up of two separate pieces.

The two blades of the paddle are feathered in such a way that they are oriented in different directions.

If you feather your paddle and paddle correctly, you will put less strain on your wrists and use less overall energy in your upper body. However, this only applies if you swim perfectly.

best kayak

best kayak

You will have an easier time paddling if the blades of your paddle are not feathered, but as a result, you may feel more strain on your wrists. When there is wind present, paddling becomes more difficult because the face of the top blade needs to push against the wind while the bottom edge is made through the water, and this causes paddling to be more challenging.

Continue reading for more information on feathering, which is provided in the following paragraphs of this article.

Choose The Paddle That Is Best For You.

The fantastic information presented in this blog is elaborated upon in more detail in the featured video, which can be seen below. Check out the links below to select the best paddle for you.

What should I look for In A kayak Paddle?

How to Choose a Kayak Paddle

Choosing the appropriate dimension for a project is more of an art than a science. In addition to the profile of the blade and the ferrule you should select for yourself, you should consider the kayak paddle size chart most appropriate for how you spend your life. In addition to finding the length of your paddle that is most suitable for you, this is another important consideration. Ultimately, you will want to choose the canoe or kayak paddle best suited to how you spend your time.