Just like kayak lengths, kayak paddle lengths also differ from one type to another. When selecting a paddle of the right size, people must take into consideration several important factors. The three most important things to consider are the type of kayak one paddles, the type of kayaking one will be doing, and the height of the paddler.
Lengths in General
When you walk into a store to purchase your brand spanking new paddle, the staff manning the place will generally give you what are considered the usual paddle sizes that everyone uses. For instance, whitewater paddles are usually 188 up to 203 centimeters long. Paddles to be used for inflatable kayaks will be from 220 to 240 centimeters long. On the other hand, recreational and touring paddles are 210 to 240 centimeters in length.
Choosing the right kayak paddle length is very crucial for anyone who is concerned about their performance in the water. Using a sizing guide will help you figure out the right sized paddle for your height. Of course, the other factors will also come into play when it comes to selecting the right kayak paddle. However, there is a general consensus that one should opt for the shorter paddle especially when you’re into whitewater paddling.
According to a standard kayak paddle sizing guide, if one is into whitewater kayak paddling, prefers hard shell paddles, and is under 5’2″ in height then the right size paddle length should be from 188 cm to 194 cm. Now, given the same criteria, if the paddler is from 5′ 0″ to 5′ 8″ tall then the correct paddle length should be from 191 cm up to 197 cm. However, if one is taller than any of the aforementioned height, or at least taller than 5′ 6″, then the correct paddle length should be from 194 cm to 203 cm.
Now, in case one prefers to use inflatable kayak paddles, goes for whitewater paddling, and is under 5′ 2″ then the right paddle length should be 220 cm. Given the same factors except for the paddler being 5′ 0″ to 5′ 8″ in height, then the right sized paddle should be 230 cm in length. Finally, the right paddle length for someone who is taller than 5′ 6″ is 240 cm.
Recreational/Touring Kayak Paddles
Moving away from whitewater paddling, a sizing guide also recommends various kayak paddle lengths for recreational and touring kayaking. Those who prefer low angle paddling and are between 5′ to 5′ 10″ tall should use a paddle that is 220 cm long. But if the paddler is 5′ 6″ to 6′ 2″ then the paddle length should be 230 centimeters. Anyone who is taller than 6′ 3″ should use a paddle that is 240 cm long.
Here are the recommended kayak paddle lengths for those who prefer high angle paddling according to height. Paddlers who are 5′ to 5′ 10″ should use a paddle that is 210 cm in length. Those who are 5′ 6″ to 6′ 2″ should use paddles that are 215 cm long. Anyone over 6′ 3″ should use a paddle that is 220 cm in length.
Getting the right sized paddle is important for optimum performance in the water. Take note of the kayak paddle lengths recommended here.