Paddle Length

Just wondering if anyone can help?

Ive just purchased a single man 13ft kayak, for use on slow rivers and canals in the UK, i need to purchase some paddles, the ones i have been looking at are 215cm long, i am roughly 6ft tall. Just wondering if these will be too long for just normal recreational use?

I am new myself to kayaking, but since you don’t have a response as yet, I’ll tell you what little I know. I have recently bought a kayak and got a Harmony paddle for half price, so that is what I went with. it is an adjustable model. If you get one like that, it will help you on your next purchase. If you know someone that has one of these adjustable paddles, you can try it at different lengths to help make your mind up. I am much shorter than you. I just kept adjusting mine until I think I am at the 213 cm mark now. I think it all depends on the person and the width of the kayak. I hope this has been of some help.

Your stroke angle, boat width and your height determine your paddle width. If you paddle with a high angle stroke (paddle almost vertical while in the water), go shorter. Low angle, go longer. Wide boat, longer, narrow boat shorter. Tall person, shorter, short person , longer. For example, I’m 6’3" paddle a kayak that is 25" wide and use a low angle stroke. I use a 240 cm paddle. I’ve tried 220 and 230, but 240 just feels right. My .02 cents anyway.

Height, width of boat, preferred stroke angle, type and length of blades, etc. The proper length should be the length of the unwetted shaft plus the blades. Blade length and width can vary considerably. The general overall length measurement is misleading.

I started with a 230, now use a 220
with my 29.5" wide kayak. However, with my solo canoe, I use a 250 kayak paddle. The 220 allows me to get a better bite of the blade. However, with the canoe, though its narrower, expecially with the tumblehome gunnels, it is also deeper and it takes more length to comfortably reach the water.

But, it is, to some extent, and individual thing. If you can, see if you can try out different lengths, either those belonging to friends, or as a demo at a kayak dealer. If you can’t, and don’t want to invest in a paddle you may not like, buy an inexpensive one, then upgrade. Don’t know if they sell it in GB, but Calisle makes one called Day Tripper here in the US. Aluminum shaft, its light and is an o.k. paddle, retails for $39 US, but only comes in 220 and 230 lengths. It’ll get you on the water and you can begin to judge for yourself what your needs are.

215cm will do nicely
Go with it.

  • Big D

Thanks everyone for quick and helpful replies, i’ve taken it all on board and will try and find some to sample. The carlilse is one i have been looking at, so that is a high possibility to get me started. All great info thanks very much all.


The Day Tripper has thin shaft walls.
For paddling, its great, but the female tube can be crushed easily at the ends, so be careful with it. Its a great back up paddle.