How Long Should Your Kayak Paddle Be?

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Swimming or paddling in a kayak is a great way to exercise and get your blood flowing. However, the length of your paddle can make all the difference in how comfortable and practical your workout is.

If you are not using the proper length of paddle, you could be experiencing some uncomfortable conditions. In this article, we will go over different lengths of kayak paddles and explain when you should use them.

How To Determine The Right Kayak Paddle Length

When choosing the right kayak paddle, length is one of the most critical factors. The general rule of thumb is that your paddle should be about the same height as you are.

However, a few other things to remember when determining the best paddle length for you.

The first thing to consider is the kayaking you’ll be doing. If you’re planning on mainly doing river kayaking, a shorter paddle will likely be better since maneuverability is more important than stroke power.

On the other hand, if you’re planning on mainly doing lake kayaking, a longer paddle will give you more stroke power and help you cover more ground with each stroke.

Another thing to consider is your own personal paddling style. Some people prefer a shorter paddle because it’s easier to control, while others find that a longer paddle gives them more power and reach.

Ultimately, it’s up to you to experiment with different lengths and see what feels best for you.

Finally, remember that wind and waves can also affect your kayak, so a longer paddle may be necessary for some conditions to keep your kayak moving in a straight line.

If you’re still unsure what length paddle is right for you, ask an expert at your local kayak shop or rental company.

They should be able to help you find the perfect fit based on your height, paddling style, and desired use.

What Are The Consequences Of Having A Paddle That Is Too Long Or Too Short

Having a paddle that is too long or too short can have some pretty severe consequences. If your paddle is too long, it can be challenging to control, and you may go in circles.

If your paddle is too short, you won’t be able to generate enough power to move efficiently.

In either case, you’ll likely end up getting tired quickly and may even put yourself at risk of capsizing.

The best way to avoid these problems is to ensure that your paddle is the right size.

You can measure the distance from your chin to the ground and subtract about 10 inches, and this will give you a good starting point for finding a paddle that is the correct length for you.

Once you have a few paddles that are the right length, try them out and see which one feels the most comfortable and efficient for you.

How Does Paddle Length affect Performance?

Paddle length is an essential factor in kayaking performance. A longer paddle will provide more power and speed, while a shorter paddle will be easier to maneuver.

Paddle length also affects your posture and can cause fatigue if not correctly adjusted.

Most kayakers will opt for a paddle between 210-230 centimeters. This paddle size provides a good balance of power and maneuverability.

A longer paddle will be more efficient if you paddle in open water or long distances. If you are paddling in tight spaces or whitewater, a shorter paddle will be easier to control.

Paddle length also affects your posture while paddling. A longer paddle can cause you to hunch over, which can lead to back pain and fatigue.

A shorter paddle may not provide as much power, but it will allow you to sit up straighter and avoid strain on your back and shoulders.

When choosing a kayak paddle, you must consider your height, arm length, and the type of kayaking you will be doing.

Paddle length is an essential factor in performance and should be chosen based on your individual needs.

What Other Factors Should You Consider When Choosing A Kayak Paddle

When choosing a kayak paddle, you’ll want to consider the length of your kayak and your own height and paddling style.

The length of your kayak will determine the minimum size of paddle you’ll need – generally, the longer the kayak, the longer the paddle should be.

As a rule of thumb, add 10-12 inches to the length of your kayak to get the ideal paddle length. For example, if you have a 12-foot kayak, you’ll want a paddle at least 22 inches long.

Your height also plays a role in choosing the right paddle length. If you’re on the taller side, you may find that a longer paddle gives you more leverage and power when paddling. Conversely, a shorter paddle may be more leisurely for you to control if you’re shorter in stature.

Finally, your paddling style will also affect which paddle is best for you. If you like to go fast and cover a lot of ground quickly, a longer paddle will help you move through the water more efficiently.

A shorter paddle will be easier to maneuver if you prefer a leisurely pace or plan on doing any tricks or stunts.


The length of your kayak paddle is crucial because it affects how well you can paddle and perform.

A paddle that is too long will slow you down and make it harder to paddle, and a paddle that is too short will make it difficult to reach the water and cause you to tip over.

The best way to determine the correct length for your kayak paddle is to try out a few different sizes and see what feels comfortable for you.

Other factors to consider when choosing a kayak paddle include the width of the paddle and the type of kayak you have.