Paddle size question?

I am just getting into kayaking and I need some help picking out the right paddle for myself.

Here is a little info:

-I’m looking into a Tarpon 140

-I’m 5’11, about 165 pounds (don’t know if this matters)

-I will be paddling mostly bay’s and costal waters

That said, what are some sizes/brands I should consider. Any help is appreciated.



Very personal item
Your paddle is a very personal item. There is a lot to choose from and the prices range from $50 to over $300. I would say 220 cm or maybe even 230 cm for starters based on your height, SOT, and the width of a Tarpon 160. If you can buy locally with a return policy … then demo a bunch! Onno, Swift, Epic, Bending Branches are a few brands that come to mind. I use a Sea Swift ( and my wife uses a Mid Swift both are 220 cm (I am 6’2" and she is 5’4") so as you can see height is not the tell all guage. Lighter is better for duration paddling. Great things have been said here lately about Onno paddles and they will take the time to talk to you and get the correct paddle for you. Use the search feature to find out more and check thru the product reviews. Bob

I just started paddling this year and purchased some Werner fiberglass paddles. I am 5’9" and 150 lbs. and I think the paddles are 220 cm.

I am very happy that I invested in lightweight paddles because they keep me from tiring.

Many on this website have indicated that the paddle purchase is as important as the yak purchase. Based on my experience, I would tend to agree and recommend you get good lightweight paddles to sustain your interest in the sport and time on the water.

Good luck.

One of the major paddle sites (epic, harmony or werner) has a chart relating your height SEATED (how long your legs are makes no difference) to suggested paddle lenght. It is also important to decide how close to the side of your boat you want to paddle and how vertical you want to hold the paddle. All this may change with time and experience.

We currently have 9 paddles (between the 2 of us) and use different paddles with different boats and on different days depending on how we feel.

I guess this means there are really no “right” answers to your questions.

Another variable that will make a big difference is the size (area) of the blade. It takes more force to pull a bigger blade through the water. Smaller blades need to be used with a higher turnover rate to achieve the same boat speed.

I would start with something in the $100. range, try to paddle with others and try their paddles. Also, demo days are for trying different paddles as well as different boats. Several of the local demo days have more models of paddles than boats.

I use a 215cm Windswift paddle with all my boats. I have a few other paddles too including a GP, a Lendal and a Lightning whitewater paddle. I always go back to my windswift. I have a large bladed Werner in really nice condition on Ebay. It may be too big of a blade for you though. Here is the link

Paddles are personal
I’ve gone through a few. My current favorites are the Carlisle RS Magic, relatively inexpensive, and the more expensive Werner fiberglass touring paddles. 230 cm should be good if you are paddling distance and like a low angle stroke. 220 cm will work if you like a high angle stroke.