How to Calculate Length of Kayak Paddles

How to Calculate Length of Kayak Paddles
Selecting the size of a kayak paddle is not an exact science. The type of kayaking you do, your paddling style, the size of your body and the size of your boat all make a difference, as does personal preference. If you can, try out several paddle sizes as well as blade styles before selecting one.


Difficulty: Moderately Challenging

Things You’ll Need:
  • kayak paddles
Step 1
Stand holding the paddle by your side with the blade resting on the floor and the shaft vertical.
Step 2
Reach your hand up and curl your fingers over the top of the blade.
Step 3
Gauge whether your paddle is a proper fit. If you can just curl your fingers over the blade of the paddle, it is the right size. If you can place your whole hand over it, it is too short. If you can't quite curl you fingers over it, it is too long.
Step 4
Try a bigger or smaller paddle until you find one that is about the right size.
Step 5
Adjust your paddle length to fit your paddling style. If you are planning on touring, use a slightly longer paddle to give you long, slow and easy strokes. If you are planning on whitewater kayaking or have a quick, aggressive paddling style, get a slightly shorter paddle to give you quick acceleration.

Tips & Warnings

Consider the size of your blade as well as the length of your paddle. Wider blades are good for quick acceleration but require more work. Narrow blades move easily through the water, making them good for long kayak tours.

Article Written By Isaiah David

Isaiah David is a freelance writer and musician living in Portland, Ore. He has over five years experience as a professional writer and has been published on various online outlets. He holds a degree in creative writing from the University of Michigan.

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