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Finding The Right Kayak Paddle

Kayak paddle
Find the right kayak paddle for your next adventure by using these helpful tips from Blain’s Farm & Fleet.

Finding the right kayak paddle can be the difference between an uncomfortable, difficult day on the water and a refreshing adventure. The size of the kayak paddle you need is determined by a few different factors. The size of your kayak and torso, and the type of kayaking you’ll be doing are all keys to picking the right paddle. Even your style of paddling affects which kayak paddle is best for you. Blain’s Farm & Fleet will help you use all of these factors to zero in on the kayak paddle that fits you best.

How To Find The Right Kayak Paddle

Once you’ve selected your kayak, you can use the dimensions and your body height to help you pick the right paddle. Recreational kayaks often have a width of 26″ to 30″. They’re usually short and wide. Touring kayaks generally fall between 22″ and 25″ wide. They are longer and more narrow. Performance kayaks mostly measure 19″ to 22″ and are also long and narrow. For whitewater kayaks, the main key to getting the right paddle for whitewater kayaking is your height. This table will help you narrow down the different lengths of kayak paddles to find the best fit for you.

Body HeightUnder 23" - wide kayak24" to 28" - wide kayak29" to 33" - wide kayak34"(+) - wide kayak
Shorter than 5'5"210cm - 220cm220cm - 230cm230cm - 240cm250cm
5'5" - 5'11"220cm230cm230cm - 240cm250cm
6'+220cm - 230cm230cm - 240cm240cm - 250cm250cm - 260cm

Matching Your Torso Size to A Kayak Paddle

To measure your torso size, sit down in a chair and use a tape measure to measure from the top of the seat between your legs to your nose. Be sure to sit up straight to get an accurate measurement. Once you have your number, compare it to this table to narrow down your ideal paddle length even further.

Torso HeightPaddle Length
22"Youth 180cm
24"Youth 180cm - 200cm
26"190cm - 210cm
28"200cm - 220cm
30"210cm - 230cm
32"220cm - 240cm
34"230cm - 250cm
36"240cm - 250cm
38"250cm

You should now have a range of paddle lengths that only varies by about 10cm. To make the final decision between that 210cm paddle and the 220cm one, go by your fitness level. If you are very active and have good upper body conditioning, go with the shorter paddle. If you don’t work out much and only plan to kayak occasionally, go with the paddle on the longer end of your range.

Be sure to pick up a paddle leash to keep you from losing your new paddle!

For more boat maintenance tips, buyer’s guides, and safety advice, check out our Boats and Boating blog.

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