What Size Kayak Paddle Should I Get?

Kayaking is a popular water sport that offers a great way to explore nature and stay physically active. However, choosing the right equipment can be daunting, especially when it comes to selecting the right size kayak paddle.

The size of your kayak paddle plays a significant role in determining your overall kayaking experience. If you choose a paddle that is too small or too big, you may face problems with maneuverability and control, which can make your kayaking trip less enjoyable.

In this article, we will discuss how to determine the right size kayak paddle for you.

Factors to Consider

Before buying a kayak paddle, consider the following factors:

1. Kayak Type

The type of kayak you own will determine the length of your paddle. For instance, if you have a wider kayak, you’ll need a longer paddle to reach the water efficiently. On the other hand, if you own a narrow kayak, a shorter paddle would suffice.

2. Paddling Style

Your paddling style also influences the size of your kayak paddle. For example, if you prefer low-angle paddling (where the blade stays close to the surface), then longer paddles are ideal. However, high-angle paddling (where the blade travels further from the surface) requires shorter paddles.

3. Your Height and Reach

Your height and reach are essential factors in determining your paddle length. A tall person with long arms will need a longer paddle than someone who is shorter with shorter arms.

Calculating Your Paddle Size

Once you have considered these factors, use this simple calculation to find out what size paddle is best for you:

Paddle Size = Kayak Width + Your Height + Your Reach / 2

For example, suppose you own a kayak that is 30 inches wide, and you are 6 feet tall with a reach of 24 inches. Using the formula above, your ideal paddle size would be:

30 + 72 + 24 / 2 = 63 inches

Therefore, you should look for a paddle that is around 63 inches long.

Paddle Blade Size

The blade size of your kayak paddle also plays a crucial role in determining how efficiently you can maneuver your kayak. A larger blade provides more power but requires more effort to move. On the other hand, a smaller blade offers less power but is more comfortable to use for long periods.

1. High-Angle Paddling

For high-angle paddling, choose a paddle with a smaller blade (around 6-7 inches wide). This will allow you to move the paddle quickly and efficiently through the water. Low-Angle Paddling

For low-angle paddling, select a larger blade (around 7-9 inches wide). This will provide more power with each stroke and help you maintain speed.


Choosing the right size kayak paddle is essential for an enjoyable kayaking experience. Consider your kayak type, paddling style, height, and reach when selecting a paddle length. Also, take into account the blade size based on your paddling technique.

By following these guidelines and using our simple calculation method above, finding the perfect kayak paddle size should be much easier. Happy kayaking!

Photo of author

Lindsay Collins