Skip to Content

Choosing the Right Size Paddle for Your Kayak Adventures

Choosing the right paddle for your kayak is as important as choosing your kayak. Get every other stuff concerning kayaking and set out for the activity. But if you forget your paddle, you aren’t ever going to enjoy it, and what might have been a day planned for relaxation might be a day full of sighing.

That is if the sea is not nearby so you can rush for your paddle. On the other hand, packing everything, including your paddle, will mean a joy-filled day.

 Even more, so is getting the right paddle. Your paddle size also matters when it comes to kayaking. Do you want to know how to pick the right paddle; the answer is lying right in front of you. But before then, we think you should know why the right size matters.

If this has been your worry, do not worry anymore. In this article, we provide you with information that you will use to choose your paddle and be satisfied. Read on to learn more.

Why does the right paddle size matter?

It gives comfort

You must be comfortable for a great kayak excursion. The manner you wield your paddles accounts for a huge part of that comfort.

You may find it difficult to raise and move your kayak paddles if they are excessively lengthy.

Too-short kayak paddles can cause hurting hands and knuckles from rubbing against the boat and back pain from leaning too far over to reach the water.

It helps you gain control

 If you don’t know how to use your kayak paddles properly, you could become stranded on the water. Correct paddle usage is essential for navigation, turning, and steering your kayak.

Easy usability

When it comes to sizing kayak paddles, several aspects come into play, including angling and skill level.

If you are a beginner planning for your first casual trip on the lake and choose a paddle designed for aggressive boaters or deep-sea kayaking, you will certainly have trouble.

Choosing the wrong paddle size for your kayak risks losing all of the above and messing up your kayaking.

Now that you know why the right size matters, you will take your time to make a choice.

How can you determine the size of a kayak paddle?

When choosing a kayak paddle, you should consider several aspects, including the width of your kayak, your body measurements, and whether you paddle at a high or low angle.

Many outdoor stores hire staffers with experience in paddle sizing if you need additional assistance choosing the correct kayak paddle.

Some locations even have “demo days,” you can try out several kayaks and paddles on the water to see what you prefer.

Fortunately or unfortunately, we will be dealing with a lot of numbers here.

Measure the kayak’s width.

Knowing your kayak is the first step in kayak paddle sizing. Measure your kayak’s width at its widest point for the most accurate measurement.

The longer your paddle must reach into the water on both sides without placing too much effort on your body, the wider your kayak must be.

Once you have the right width of your kayak, compare it to your torso and body heights to determine the ideal paddle length.

Take Your Body Measurements.

Now that you’ve measured your kayak, it’s time to write down your measurements. You can measure yourself for kayak paddles in two ways: the height of your torso and the height of your entire body.

You can use only one measurement system, but for the best results, we recommend measuring your body height and supplementing it with your torso height to find a comparable size that fits both heights ranges on the kayak paddle size chart.

Measure the Height of Your Torso.

Follow the steps below to determine your torso height:

1. Find your top vertebra, where your shoulders meet your neck, by bending your head down and using your hands.

2. Measure your lumbar region to find the bottom of your torso. Rest your hands on your hipbones, index fingers, and thumbs pointing backward.

3. Examine the space between each of your thumbs visually.

4. Stand tall and have someone measure the distance between your top vertebra and the imaginary line across your lumbar region with a soft tape measure.

Use your torso measurement as a starting point for your paddle size by rounding it to the nearest inch. Then, use the pair of measurements on the table below to pick the right paddle.

Height (inches)Paddle length (cm)
  22 inches
180. (This size is often in the youth category).
  24 range between 180 and 200
  26range between 190 and 210
  28 range between 200 to 220
  32 range between 220 and 240
  34 range between 230 and 250
  36 range between 240 and 250
  38 250

Measure the Height of Your Body.

 Round your height to the nearest inch as you did for your torso above. After that, compare it to the width of your kayak to get the exact measurement.

If your height is less than 5 feet 5 inches tall and your kayak is;

  • Twenty-three inches wide or smaller: a 210 centimeters long paddle will do.
  • 24 to 32 inches wide: 220 centimeters long will do.
  • 29 to 33 inches wide: 230 centimeters long will do.
  • Thirty-four inches or wider: 260 centimeters long will do.

If you are taller than or equal to 6 feet and your kayak is;

  • Twenty-three inches wide or smaller: Try a paddle length of 220 centimeters long.
  • twenty-four to thirty-two inches wide: Try a paddle length of 230 centimeters long.
  • Twenty-nine to thirty-three inches wide: Try a paddle length of 250 centimeters long.
  • Thirty-four inches or wider: Try a paddle length of 260 centimeters long.

If you are between 5 feet 5 inches and 5 feet 11 inches tall, your kayak is;

  • Twenty-three inches wide or smaller: Try a paddle length of 230 centimeters long.
  • twenty-four to thirty-two inches wide: Try a paddle length of 240 centimeters long.
  • twenty-nine to thirty-three inches wide: Try a paddle length of 250 centimeters long.

Last but not least, consider if you’ll be doing more low-angle or high-angle paddling. Most manufacturers specify it on the product tag if you’re not sure if a paddle is better for low-angle or high-angle paddling.


No one can be as happy and satisfied as a kayaker who has found the right paddle that matches his kayak and fits his purpose.

The joy of kayaking, like any other sport, is picking the right choice of equipment. Happy and safe kayaking.