What Size Kayak Paddles to Purchase

What Size Kayak Paddles to Purchase
Kayak paddles are designed for touring or white water and come in measurements of 190cm to 240cm. Finding the correct size paddle is as essential as picking the right kayak for the type of kayaking you plan to do. The right size will be based on your ability, height and kayak model.

Measure Your Height

Take a tape measure or yard stick and measure your height in inches and centimeters. The process in finding the right size is the same whether you are looking for a touring paddle or a white-water paddle.

Check the Size Guide

Using the guide to choose the right paddle length based on your height. For touring paddlers doing tandem touring, if your height is from 5 feet 2 inches to 6 feet 2 inches, use a paddle with a length of 230cm and above. For solo touring, if your height is from 5 feet 2 inches to 6 feet 2 inches, the paddle should be between 200cm and 220cm. White-water paddlers who are 5 feet 9 inches and above should use a paddle length from 197cm to 203cm. For heights between 5 feet 2 inches and 5 feet 8 inches, the paddle should be between 194cm and 197cm. And for those 5 feet 1 inch and under, it's 188cm to 194cm.

Test the Length

Test the paddle length by taking the center of the paddle and resting it on your head. Place your hands on the shaft of the paddle with your elbows at 90 degrees. The blade should be approximately 4 to 5 inches from your hands.

Other Factors

The length of your arms and torso can influence whether you need a shorter or longer paddle. Also, a slower-cadence paddler or one who holds the paddle lower may want more length, while a faster paddler who holds the paddle high may want a shorter paddle.

Article Written By Courtney Johnson

Courtney Johnson is a freelance sports writer and photographer based in California. Her articles and photos appear regularly in newspapers and magazines such as "Triathlete" and "Cross Country Skier." Johnson graduated from the University of Iowa with a B.A. in media production and minor in writing. She is studying for her copy editing certificate at the University of San Diego.

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