Correct Paddle Size for Young Girl?

-- Last Updated: Jan-18-09 7:25 PM EST --

Our 13 year-old daughter is ready for her own kayak and I need some assistance selecting a correctly sized paddle for her. She is 5'0" and about 85 pounds.

Offhand, I am thinking 210 CM.

Any suggestions? Thank you....Andrew

what is the width of her kayak? my daughter is the same heigth, and her kayak is 22" wide and her paddle is 200

Correct Paddle Length

– Last Updated: Jan-18-09 8:31 PM EST –

We are buying her a Perception Victory Blast. Overall width is 30". Cockpit width is 22.5".

Also consider
the shaft circumference. Some manufacturers offer shafts in reduced sizes for smaller hands (Werner comes to mind).


Is that the one Dick’s sells?
If so we have one. Don’t waste your money. We bought it thinking it wuld be stable but pddling it is AWFUL. I normally paddle a Necky Manitou Sport. Took the blast one time myself and didn’t even want to do the whole lake when normally I want to paddle it at last 2x.

My $0.02-Karen

Look for a used “kids” kayak
Your daughter is very small. I would look for a used kayak marketed toward kids. My daughter started out with a used WS Piccolo kayak with a Werner Sprite paddle. I even used the Sprite paddle a few times and liked it. She had the kayak for many years before outgrowing it and we sold it for nearly what we paid for it. The nice thing about a kayak that is properly sized for the paddler is that the paddler can keep up with others and learn some skills like edging. She may very well have fun for a while in that wide kayak you are thinking off, but, like others said, it is really too big for her.

Depends on…

…what she did.

Rolling her eyes when you scream, “I’m getting sick

and tired of telling you…,” is only worth a wooden

cooking spoon. Selling heroine and LSD at lunchtime

warrants something bigger.

Hopes this helps.

Wilderness Systems Tsunami SP
I have seen a couple of these for sale recently in the $400-500 range, 12’ long x 21" wide kayak designed for kids 60-120 lbs., dual bulkheads and hatches.

No to Bathtubs
The first boat I bought for my daughter was 27" wide, almost ruined her desire to kayak for the rest of her life.

Look for something that will fit her it will make all the difference in her having fun.


Current Designs Squamish
is what I bought my daughter for her second kayak when she was 15 and she loved it immediately and still uses it years and years later.

Her first (short lived) kayak was a Perception Swifty which we still periodically use for “not going much of anywhere but relaxing in the sun out on the water paddle” similar but better than the Victory Blast. She never really liked paddling it as it was more like a tub. The squamish on the other hand fits small and shorter people and is not too wide which she usually uses a 220cm to paddle it with. It has more length but was never a problem for her to paddle. approx 15.5 feet.

210 is too long -
think about 197.

Unless she has a wide rec kayak then she will need it longer



In the 30 inch wide
boat I agree that 220cm is probably good and look for a paddle designed for low angle strokes (e.g. Aquabound StingRay).

And a lot of folks don’t need bulkheads and a skinny boat to enjoy paddling – especially for small lakes and ponds and relatively short trips. She can probably do great in a narrower boat, but a 30 inch wide boat will be all but impossible for her to flip anyway.

If she gets into it, you can always upgrade boats. And realistically kids and most folks are pretty tolerant of paddles that aren’t an exact fit, so within 10 cm (about 4 inches) give or take, will be fine.


How would you like to paddle 48" wide boat? Look at the difference in you size and the daughters size. I got my grandkids 22" wide boats and they are fine. They are both using 210 cm paddles and I wish I had gone to 200 cm. My daughter has a 28" wide boat but she is 5’10" and carries the 5 year old.

wide boat
When we used rented (wide) rec boats, my daughter was always lagging behind. She is roughly the same size as your daughter. I just got her a used Perception Umiak (now called the carolina 12 XS) and now I can barely keep up with her!! She has so much more fun paddling now. I found at least 2 of these boats listed when I searched and I got this one with a 200cm Bending Branches paddle all for $200. It should last her for a few years ( the boat anyway).

5-foot child
Is anyone taking into consideration that a 5 foot child may become a 6 foot teeager in two or three years?

Happened to us.

Child paddle
The Werner site has a great fit quide. If she has small hands you want a smaller shaft. After alot of research, I am going for a Perception Acadia Scout and a Werner Sprit (210 cm). Both can be had for about $500. My daughter is 10 but only 60lb.

Do you buy shoes that way too? Kids grow but that is no reason to handicap them. Those small boats are available used and sell very well when it is time to go bigger. Some one is always looking for a kids boat.

Agree with Werner Sprite,
although not necessarily the Acadia Scout. Lots of kids I know are plenty stable in the Scout, but it’s a little on the wide side. It’s a great “See! I told you you could do it!” boat. Not as bad as the Swifty for that bathtubby feeling, but a very different boat than the Umiak, Carolina 12XS or the Tsunami SP. Your daughter’s skill level will probably outgrow the Scout quicker than than her size. My younger daughter thought her Scout was pretty boring when she turned six. She had a lot less trouble keeping up when she moved into the above mentioned boats. She’ll be able to grow with these instead of into them or out of them.

Anyone else looking to properly
size kids please let me know as I have a bunch of blades sitting here that I would love to build up for the still growing little ones while keeping them humbly prices for family budgets. Been testing things on on my niece, nephew and now my son for several years now.