What Size of Kayak Paddle Do I Need?

Kayaking is a great way to explore the great outdoors, and it’s important to have the right equipment, including a kayak paddle. One of the most common questions that people have when they’re getting started with kayaking is, “What size of kayak paddle do I need?” The answer depends on several factors.

Factors to Consider

  • Your height and arm span
  • The width of your kayak
  • Your paddling style

Height and Arm Span

Your height and arm span are two of the most important factors to consider when choosing a kayak paddle size. Generally speaking, taller people will need longer paddles, while shorter people will need shorter paddles.

Your arm span is also an essential factor. To determine the right length for your paddle, measure your arm span by standing up straight with your arms outstretched. Measure from fingertip to fingertip, and then divide that number by two.

Table for reference:

Height Range (ft/in) Paddle Length (in)
Under 5’4″ 210-220 cm
5’4″ – 5’11” 220-230 cm
Above 6′ 230-240 cm or more

Kayak Width

The width of your kayak is another important factor in determining the appropriate paddle size. A wider kayak requires a longer paddle to reach the water effectively. If you have a wider kayak, you should consider getting a paddle that’s 10cm longer than recommended for your height and arm span.

Paddling Style

Your paddling style will also influence your choice of paddle size. If you prefer a high-angle paddling style, which is more upright and involves a quicker stroke rate, you’ll want to use a shorter paddle. If you prefer a low-angle paddling style, which is more horizontal and involves a slower stroke rate, you’ll want to use a longer paddle.


Choosing the right size of kayak paddle is essential for an enjoyable and safe kayaking experience. Remember to consider your height, arm span, kayak width, and paddling style when choosing your paddle size. With the right size of paddle, you’ll be able to navigate the waters with ease and comfort.

Photo of author

Michael Allen