How to Size a Canoe, Kayak or SUP Paddle from Home

With a few tips it’s easy to size a canoe, kayak or standup paddle from home:

Size a Kayak Fishing Paddle from Home

There are a couple key questions to ask when sizing a paddle for kayak fishing:

  1. How wide is my fishing kayak?
  2. Does it have an adjustable-height seat?

Kayaks designed for fishing are wide and stable, suitable for carrying lots of gear and weight. You’ll need to know the width of your kayak as a starting point. If you don’t have a kayak yet, manufacturers will have the specs on their website, including measurements.

Then the taller you are, the longer you’ll want your paddle to be. This chart is helpful:

kayak paddle sizing guide

If your kayak has an adjustable-height seat, you’ll definitely want an adjustable-length paddle. That way one paddle will serve all your needs, no matter what height you set your seat.

Bending Branches’ adjustable-length kayak fishing paddles feature the Plus Telescoping ferrule system. The Plus gives you 15 cm of variable for the length. All of our kayak fishing paddles are available with the Plus ferrule option except the Angler Scout and Angler Rise.

(Read: The Plus Ferrule System for Ultimate Kayak Paddle Performance)

Size a Recreational Kayak Paddle from Home

As with a kayak fishing paddle, a recreational kayak paddle is also sized based on the width of your kayak. Your height is a consideration, too, as you can see from the same chart above.

A few of our recreational kayak paddles feature the Plus Telescoping ferrule, too. That’s especially handy when several people of different heights will share one paddle or if you have more than one kayak that have different widths.

Size a Canoe Paddle from Home

There are many subtleties—and opinions—regarding the best canoe paddle length. For our purposes here we’ll give you the most general rule of thumb.

The easiest way to measure yourself or a family member for a canoe paddle is to sit on a hard chair. Take a tape measure and measure from the seat of the chair to your nose (that’s your torso size). Then follow the guidelines on this chart below:

canoe paddle sizing guide

Notice the suggested length of the paddle depends on the type of shaft you want. A straight shaft paddle will be about 4 inches longer than a bent shaft paddle for you.

(Read: Bent vs. Straight Shaft Canoe Paddles)

Size a Stand-up Paddle from Home

Sizing a SUP paddle from home is easy, too. Simply add a few inches to your own height, depending on the type of paddle boarding you plan to do. For recreational SUPers on flat water, that’ll be 8-10 inches.

Here’s a chart for standup paddles:

size a sup paddle

Most 2-piece SUP paddles are adjustable-length, including our own Amp and Balance paddles.

So whether it’s COVID and social distancing, or you don’t have paddlesports retailers near you, it’s easy enough to size a paddle from home.

Happy paddling!

Let our friendly Customer Service team help you choose your new paddle today: 715-755-3405 • [email protected]

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