how 'bout a short person paddle?

Ok, now I need to inquire as to what length paddle is best suited for a 4’11" person. Are there also child size paddles? Are these as good quality? I find that a lot of times childrens products are not made to the same standards of quality as those made for adults.

Thanks for your help guys!

paddle length
If you are talking about a kayak paddle, the length of your paddle is dependent on the width of your boat and your grip on the paddle and your style of paddling (low,mid,high angle stroke). Need to be able to bury your paddle blade in the water.

W/O knowing your boat, it is impossible to determine what the length of your paddle should be.

There are children’s paddles but you are correct in that they are not the high end paddles.


The First Reply Was Right On
Most of us do not get it right on the first try and wind up having to buy more than one paddle. There are many differant styles of paddling but these are usually termed high or low angle paddling. A higher angle stroke takes a shorter paddle and visa versa. Once you are comfortable with whatever is your style of paddling and you paddle your boat you can determine the correct length for you and your boat. The paddle blade should be buried fully into the water but the shaft should stay out of the water.

There are many manufactures who will size a paddle to your specific requirements. I favor ONNO paddles and I know that Patrick will not only make a paddle any length you want but will help with expert size and type help.

All that said a paddle that is ten cm too long or short is not the worst thing that you could do. You might consider a used paddle to start which could become your spare when you get “your” paddle. I would guess that you want to think about paddles on the short size which would be 200-220 cm overall.

Happy Paddling,


Kayak or canoe?


They can be cut down to size
If there’s a paddle you like but it’s only made in medium or long lengths, you can have it cut down.

My one experience with a child’s paddle was OK. Size of blade and overall length were good, but the blade felt too flexy (soft plastic). It was a rental so I didn’t care much about the flex.

if I get an episea my boat will be 20.5" wide.

paddles for small folks

– Last Updated: Sep-01-06 4:23 PM EST –

Here are a couple:

It's fairly easy to shorten a paddle if you don't mind ending up with a one-piece. Cut off the inboard ends to get the length you want, epoxy in a sleeve, and you're good to go.

Remember that you'll also want a proportionally smaller blade size to keep the paddling effort comfortable.

A few paddle makers(Werner, Bending Branches, etc.) offer a small-diameter shaft option for small hands. Some will make custom lengths for a small charge if you're willing to wait a bit.

Given your size and the boat's size, and the experience of my 5' wife, I'd be thinking 200cm max and probably shorter.

Another option is to make your own Greenland-style paddle. Free plans are available here:

Or have one made to fit:

190-200 CM
At 5’3", I find I rather like the wooden Cricket, 190 cm, kid touring paddle I bought ofr my son. It has a smaller blade surface but works for me in long boat since I don’t need quick acceleration. Otherwise, I am using my Greenland paddle (GP) when I am in long boats. My GPs are roughly 205-210 cm. I also have touring paddles in 215 cm. These feel a tad bit long to me these days, mostly because I used to using 180 cm paddles for white water and surf, the type of paddling I do more of these days than tour boating.

190-200 cm length should work for you. It’ll promote a relatively higher angle stroke. Longer paddle and low angle will likely have you yawing (zig zagging) all over the place. My wife (5’2"), who doesn’t really paddle much, used to yaw all over the place with the long boat. I corrected that a bit by letting her use a ww paddle of 194 cm length. If forced her to use a higher angle stroke that is close to the boat and minimized her stroking past the hips.


If you have the bucks

– Last Updated: Sep-02-06 7:25 AM EST –

get an adjustable ferrule one. They adjust in 10 CM length.
Get yours in a 195 to 205 and you should be fine.


How to you have it cut down?
I have a paddle I’d like to shorten, but don’t know where to turn. Not really a do-it-yourselfer and a paddle (230 Swift) is too expensive to get wrong. Thanks!

Onno paddles
Patrick will make it whatever length you want.

Swift cut down
I sent my Mid-Swift to Eddyline to cut down. As I recall they charged about $50. The ferrules are reinforced, so they remove the blades cut the shaft fron the blade ends and re-attch the blades.

I first emailed Eddyline to inquire and they were very responsive.

Talk to Patrick and he will give you a good idea of what you need. 858-272-7859 A Signature runs about $235 and he has paddles for more and less.