How to Size Whitewater Canoe Paddles

How to Size Whitewater Canoe Paddles
Properly sized whitewater canoe paddle allow you to maintain proper control of a canoe and paddle comfortably across long distances. As a general rule of thumb, whitewater paddles are short with square blades. The shape is designed to allow quick, powerful strokes in aerated, shallow water, according to the, a Internet retailer specializing in kayaking and canoeing. Paddlers can choose among paddles made from wood, fiberglass, carbon and Kevlar.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Tape measure
Step 1
Kneel on the floor and place your butt on a stool or other object that is 6 inches high--the typical height of a canoe seat. This allows you to simulate your position in a canoe while in the store.
Step 2
Flip the canoe paddle upside down so the end of the grip is on the floor and the blade is near your face. The blade is the flat or slightly curved wide piece at the bottom of the paddle.
Step 3
Align the tip, or start, of the paddle blade with your face. If the tip is even with your nose, the paddle length is correct. A whitewater canoe paddle typically measures 52 to 60 inches. Bent-shaft paddles, which are curved from the tip to about halfway up the shaft, are shorter; common paddle lengths range from 48 to 54 inches. Measure either paddle type using the same sizing technique.
Step 4
Increase of decrease paddle length, as needed, until you find a paddle blade that is even with your nose. While some paddles feature a telescoping shaft that allows for adjustments, not all do.

Article Written By Charlie Gaston

Charlie Gaston has written numerous instructional articles on topics ranging from business to communications and estate planning. Gaston holds a bachelor's degree in international business and a master's degree in communications. She is fluent in Spanish and has extensive travel experience.

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