Kayak Paddle Sizing Guide

How to Size Your Kayak Paddle

The two most important factors in choosing the right size kayak paddle are your kayak’s width and your own height…

Kayaking with the Bounce Paddle

If your paddle is too short you may find yourself banging your knuckles on the edge of your boat or be forced to lean with your strokes. If it’s too long, you’ll be carrying extra swing weight and may have less control over your kayak.

Take a look at the chart below. Our online sizing guide is the most up-to-date and accurate source of sizing information for our paddles.

Kayak Paddle Sizing Guide

As you can see from the chart, the wider your boat, the longer your paddle needs to be. If you’re tall, you’ll need a longer paddle, too.

Consider sizing 5 or more centimeters longer if you have two or more of the following:

  • A more relaxed, casual paddling pace
  • A true low-angle (horizonal) forward paddling stroke
  • Abnormally wider boat width
  • Flare, flat-bottom, or V-shaped (usually beveled outward) boat design
  • High seat position in the kayak/canoe
  • You are taller than 6’ and outside our sizing guide

Consider sizing 5 or more centimeters shorter if you have two or more of the following:

  • A more aggressive, active, or endurance focused paddling pace
  • A true high-angle (vertical) forward paddling stroke
  • Abnormally narrow boat width
  • Tumblehome (usually beveled inward) boat design
  • Lower seat position than most stock boat models
  • You are shorter than 5’ and outside our sizing guide

Recreational kayaks are wide and stable, so you’ll need a longer paddle to be able to reach the water easily. Touring kayaks are narrower, and sea kayaks are narrower yet, meaning your paddle can be shorter since you have less reach toward the water.

Measure your kayak’s width across its widest point. If you’re kayak shopping, the manufacturers will list width as one of the specs of each boat.

Watch this video, below, for more.

High-Angle or Low-Angle Paddling?

One other factor will play a part in your paddle’s length: are you a high-angle or a low-angle paddler?

High-angle paddling is aggressive and fast. Because the strokes are more vertical, your paddle should be shorter. Whitewater kayakers and speed-lovers use high-angle strokes often.

Low-angle paddling is relaxed and meant for long days on the water. Your strokes are more horizontal and so your paddle should be longer. Touring and recreational kayakers use mostly low-angle strokes.

See all of Bending Branches’ kayak paddles


Kayak Fishing Sizing Guide?

Visit the kayak fishing sizing guide here


Do you have more questions about sizing a kayak paddle? Reach out to our friendly Customer Service team today: 715-755-3405 • [email protected]