How to Size a Kayak Paddle

How to Size a Kayak Paddle
After picking out a kayak, the next step is to get a paddle, something too many novice paddlers don't pay enough attention to. Getting the right kayak paddle involves looking at the blades and getting the right length for the application in which you'll use it. For instance, creek paddlers might prefer a slightly shorter paddle for the narrow confines of the creek, and boaters hitting big water rivers might prefer a longer one.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Step 1
Start by holding the prospective paddle next to your body and reaching your arm above your head.
Step 2
Try to fold your fingers at the knuckle over the kayak blade. The paddle is too long if you can't fold your fingers over the blade and too short if you can fold your hand over the blade.
Step 3
Sit in your kayak, or a kayak the shop has that is similar to yours, while holding the paddle. If you have a wider boat, you might need a longer paddle to clear the boat sides.
Step 4
Try a few practice strokes while sitting with your back straight. A shorter paddle helps make the paddle stroke quick and maneuverable. Longer paddles can reduce the amount of pull needed to move the boat forward.
Step 5
Check the paddle's weight. Lighter paddles are typically more expensive, but the lighter weight will pay dividends with repeated strokes on longer river trips.

Article Written By Candace Horgan

Candace Horgan has worked as a freelance journalist for more than 12 years. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications, including the "Denver Post" and "Mix." Horgan holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and history.

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