Paddle length.

I am new to kayaking and bought a Pungo 120 today after trying out several last week. I bought a 220 cm paddle.

I took it out today and the paddle feels short to me but I really do not know what it is supposed to feel like. I am 6’1". Is the 220 a pretty standard length for most people? What determines correct paddle length?

I prefer a longer 230cm paddle. My boat is a bit wider in the coppit area ,but it seems paddle what ya like . Maybe try more if ya can.

I like shorter
I use 215s and may go even shorter, but I use a higher angle stroke. 230 is fine with a lower stroke angle. 220 is a pretty standard beginner length. What kind of paddle is it? I have a 230 Lendal that I may swap.

The Pungo is a wide boat…
…which is why the paddle feels a bit short. If you try it in a narrower boat, it will probably feel fine. It’s possible that you’ll need a longer paddle in the Pungo. Or you can wait to see if you end up switching to a narrower, higher performance boat, which is a very common occurrence.

Paddle length is all relative
I use many different paddles of different sizes.

In a CD Breeze (rec boat) I use a 230cm

In a NDK Poseidon I use 213cm

In a Tempest 180 I use 214cm

I just ordered a 215cm Shuna paddle will arrive in a week or so.

Point being, the length of the paddle is determined by the beam of your boat, deck height of your boat, your physical size, personal preference, etc.

Good luck, sorting through all of this and finding the right paddle!


The Shorter the Paddle
the sweeter the stroke.

(somebody had 2)

Try out and keep
what you have either way. Try out different lengths from friends or yak shops and find what’s comfortable. I use a 220 in a Swifty which is just about as wide as a pungo and I’m a lot shorter than you (5’2") But I use a high angle stroke too. If, as a beginner, you use a low angle stroke, you might feel like it’s a bit short. Keep the 220 either way and if you find a longer one is more comfortable get that too. Keep the 220 in case you end up with a narrower boat later on. And I’d also suggest you check out some videos or classes on paddling technique. That can make all the difference in the world. Just one little thing you do with the wrists might leave you with tendonitis. Smoothing out the technique can prevent a lot of trouble down the road. Good luck and happy paddling!

“Sorry” I Joked About This
Hell, with a Pungo, I’d go with a 230 or 240 regardless of my height.

Wide boats need longer paddles (generally). 220 is more for performance yaks…

Paddle length
For several years now I have been using a very precise way of determining optimum paddle length. First of all you should grip the paddle in the correct paddle position. (Angle between fore arm and upper arm at 90 degrees.)Next measure the shaft length from outside of hand to outside of hand. Now sit in boat on water. Measure distance between coaming and water. Double that number and add the sum to the previous length from outside of hand to outside of hand. This is the correct paddleshaft length for YOU and since the blades are to be fully immersed in the water their size, length and shape have no significance in determining correct size. The only variation would be boats over 24" wide where a slightly increased shaft length would be appropriate. Any recommendation such as holding your hand up and over the top of the paddle or inseam size or overall height should be viewed with suspicion.

Another variable
Thanks for posting your formula. Got to be an improvement on paddle length as a function of a person’s height.

One refinement suggested. Wouldn’t you need to factor in the sitting height…or better, height from seat to top of the shoulder? Distance from shoulder joint to the water has got to a factor here. I believe your method assumes a precise correlation between length of the humerus and torso height/forearm length. Such does not, I don’t imagine, exist in nature.

Am I missing something?


Paddle length
You bring up a good point. I am making the assumption that subject paddler has aquired the correct fitting boat and when sitting upright in the boat has the coaming at or near their waist. On average people this is within an inch or two of their elbow. Then with the blade fully immersed in the water the lower arm is bent at or near 90 degrees and the wrist is then straight lessoning the possibility of wrist strain or injury. Try it in your boat and see if it works for you.