Kayak Paddle Length

KAYAK PADDLE LENGTH: INTRO

The kayak paddle length greatly impacts your performance in the water. This is why it is so important for you to become knowledgeable on the factors that go into choosing a paddle of proper length. Once you know how choose a kayak fishing paddle of proper length, you’ll have an outstanding kayak fishing experience – and the fish won’t be able to “out run” you! Ready to learn more?

Kayak Paddle Length – Overview 

Kayak Paddle Length

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Jump to our Favorite Model of Kayak Paddle

In this post, I have added several details that you might need to consider regarding choosing the correct kayak paddle length. There is also a recommendation for one of my favorite kinds of kayak fishing paddles, if you’d like to skip some of the research and rely on my opinion. My hope is that, at the end of the article, you’ll be a knowledgeable buyer in terms of finding a kayak paddle of proper length for your own kayak fishing outings!

The guide is divided into several small sections. So, you can easily access the particular piece of information you are looking for without wasting precious time. You’ll find a separate section describing how to determine the appropriate kayak paddle length. We’ve also included a brief checklist covering factors that go into determining kayak paddle length, the kayak paddle buying process, and factors to consider when determining length selection.

I mention including a link to the product page for one of my favorite kayak fishing paddles, and I will also provide a review of this particular product along with a listing its positive and negative aspects. You’ll be able to read this information in the “my experience” part.  I like to learn from the experience of others – hopefully it is helpful to you too. So, are you ready to explore all this valuable information to further your ability and knowledge in terms of buying a paddle of proper length? Let’s read along!!

Parts of a Kayak Fishing Paddle

Parts of a Kayak Fishing Paddle

Kayak Paddle Length – Basics  

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Choosing the right kayak paddle length helps in providing propulsion that you’d need to move through the water. As a kayak fisherman, you know you might have to spend a day in water to maximize your catch count and don’t want to waste your energy in paddling!!! A Kayak paddle can only provide its fullest benefits when you choose the right length. 

It was amazing to the authors of KFC how many times kayak fishermen admitted to us that they did not know the importance of proper measuring the kayak paddle length (though some admitted that they were using a kayak fishing pedal kayak). Even some professionals admitted that they gave it little attention, instead putting their focus on expensive gear (like fishing kayak life jackets and saltwater kayak trolling motors) and kayaks. In the course of our discussion, they admitted that they needed to make a change – the consideration of the proper kayak paddle length has simply slipped their mind as the excitement of getting out to the fish took over!

Ok, so what is the big deal about kayak paddle length? Well, what if you choose a wrong paddle length? Your fishing outing would result in fatigue, blisters, and even your decision to depart from the outing early – with, of course, far fewer fish. 

Now, once you have chosen the proper kayak paddle length, including other important details that you need to find in a paddle that is suitable for kayak fishing, kayaking won’t be a difficult task at all! You can direct your energy towards fishing, instead of paddling the kayak, which is the point in the first place! After all, you are participating in kayak fishing (keyword: fishing), not general kayaking!!! There will be no excessive fatigue, disappointment, or early departures for home! 

Overwhelmed? Never realized kayak paddle length was such an important consideration? You might sense a bit of difficulty in choosing a correct kayak paddle because you’ll be overwhelmed with the variety of paddles available in the market. However, if you know your requirements and expertise clearly, things can get a bit easier – and we are going to show you how! After that, you might enjoy our article on How to Use Kayak Paddles!

How Do I Determine the Proper Kayak Paddle Length?

The correct kayak paddle length is based on many factors. It includes your body stature (length of arms, legs and torso) to boat dimensions and paddle stroke preferences. Once you choose the right kayak paddle length, you can start the next journey, and here is how:

  • The length of your torso will determine which paddle length suits you.
  • To measure the length of your torso, sit down on a flat surface.
  • Now measure the length from your nose to the surface between your legs. 
  • The result is your torso height.
  • Don’t use your legs to determine the height of your body.  
  • It is recommended to use the torso height to choose the paddle length because you’ll be sitting in a kayak while paddling, not standing!! 

Proper Kayak Paddle Length: Reference Chart

Torso HeightPaddle Length
24 Inches180 – 200cm
26 Inches190 – 200cm
28 Inches200 – 220cm
30 Inches210 – 230cm
32 Inches220 – 240cm
34 Inches230 – 250cm
36 Inches240 – 250cm

Kayak Paddle Length – Important Considerations

Paddle Length: Body Dimensions + Kayak Width

These two dimensions alone are the two most important things involved in deciding the proper length of your kayak fishing paddle. Without a truthful and accurate measurements of your torso height (use the chart above) and kayak width (available in the spec sheet of your fishing kayak – or just accurately use a tape measure), you’ll be doomed from the start!

Of course, the overall height of a person does play a role for proper paddle length selection, the most crucial thing is the torso length. Why? It will help in identifying the distance between you and water while sitting on the kayak. Read that sentence again. That is key reasoning behind the importance of the torso height measurement!!

Kayak Paddle Length

If you have a longer torso, you’ll need a longer paddle. It will help in covering the additional distance that would occur because of the large torso. Makes sense now that you think of it, right? Your torso height is a little “higher”, so naturally the length of your kayak fishing paddle needs to be a bit longer to account!

The other important deciding factor is Kayak Width. Many kayak fishermen know that a kayak’s width generally depends upon the purpose for which the occupant is using the kayak. There are recreational and fishing kayaks. In general, a fishing kayak is going to be wider (greater width) to provide the fisherman stability, which is especially important if he or she likes to fish from a standing position. 

Just so you know – there are whitewater and touring kayaks too. They are narrower to provide improved paddling performance. So, what is the rule of kayak width for paddle length? The wider your kayak is, the longer paddle you’ll need to accommodate. Easy to remember, right? Take it to the bank!   

So, you need to look for an appropriate paddle length. It is important because it will prevent excessive hard work and fatigue. Moreover, it will help in acquiring the required speed while keeping the kayak on its desired heading and course.  

Ok, ok, you are convinced, you say!!! You know that determining the proper kayak paddle length is important and you now know how to do it. What other features should you look for in your kayak fishing paddle? Good question! We have included them below!!!

Blade Shape

The shape of the blade you want will largely depend upon your paddling style (e.g.: the mechanics of your paddling stroke). There are two types:

High Angle Paddler

These paddlers keep the shaft rather vertical in their strokes. They tend to use a shorter and wider blade with a shorter shaft. Their vertical style allows the fisherman to make strong and athletic stokes. This is the type of paddling style that you’ll often see kayak racers and whitewater adventurers use. So, if you have a similar style, you’d need to go for paddles with a short shaft and wide blades. However, we suspect that you won’t be paddling your fishing kayak quite this aggressively (unless you traverse white water to access your fishing location, of course).

Low Angle Paddler

These paddlers keep the paddle in a horizontal position (e.g.: parallel to the water). This is a style of paddling that is more conducive for a relaxed, kayaking experience. As you might have guess, this style is particularly suitable for long trips and kayak fishing. In this case, you’ll want to choose a longer shaft with a thinner blade. It’s good because it will prevent you from getting exhausted quickly. Remember – the quicker you tire, the fewer fish you’re going to come home with! 

Blade Material

Blade material is going to impact the way your kayak fishing paddle transfers your energy into your paddle stroke. You should prefer blades with lightweight material because it will greatly reduce fatigue when you raise the blade higher than the shaft. However, lighter materials do enhance performance, but they come with a hefty price tag.

The most common paddle material is plastic, but it has variations. You may see blades with polymer or polypropylene material. There are even blades available that have plastic blends infused with fiberglass or nylon. The plastic or nylon blades are good for recreational paddlers. However, they are not very durable. It is prone to crack and degrading under the sun. 

Kayak Paddle Length

On the other side, we have fiberglass blades. They are good performers and durable. This material is also lighter in weight as compared to plastic. In case you go for a rigid fiberglass blade, it will be quite efficient in the water. 

There is another elite material category that is known as carbon-fiber blades. This material is ultra-light and great for transferring stroke energy. Be careful, these type of blades are very expensive and they can damage quite easily when not used properly. If you are just a “basic” or “recreational” kayak fishermen, you could probably save a few dollars here by going with something other than a carbon-fiber blade!

Shaft Material

Aluminum is one of the most common shaft materials. It is durable, affordable, and serviceable. However, it might get very hot or cold in extreme weather. You should, therefore, need to take precautions accordingly. Don’t make the mistake I did, leaving my paddle out in the sun for hours in the summer, then grabbing the shaft, and thus burning my hand pretty severely! I won’t make that mistake twice!

Kayak Paddle Length

Carbon and fiberglass shafts are also available. They are powerful, durable, and lightweight. Look for a paddle with a lightweight shaft as well as a blade material. It is important because it would not only give high-class performance but reduce fatigue as well.  As a general rule, the lighter – the better. Just remember that there is going to be a trade off in terms of durability and expense!

Two-Piece or Four-Piece?

Did you know that almost no kayak fishing paddles are “one-piece”? Yes, they typically come in either two-piece or four-piece. The number of pieces, of course, indicates how many pieces your paddle can break down into. Look for a four-piece paddle, if storage and packed space is your major concern. A four-piece paddle is also better for backpacking trips! Breaking down into a small size also allows you to easily store the paddle with your kayak inside your kayak cover.

Feathering

You need to buy a shaft that allows you to rotate it for alignment (typically one with a 90 degree angle). Most of the high quality models will also give you the freedom to adjust the amount of feathering along with an angle adjustment. These paddles are great as they will allow you to have versatile kayaking experience. Of course, you can mitigate a lack of feathering by adjusting your paddling technique (allowing your wrist to rotate 90 degrees when paddling such that the blade enters the water correctly).

Proper kayak paddle length is even MORE important when you are paddling with a lightweight kayak paddle or a kayak paddle for adults!

Kayak Paddle Length: Which Paddle is Best? 

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We are particularly fond of the model showcased above. This entry-level paddle is suitable to endure tough strokes while providing greater value. Its lightweight greatly reduces the strain on the paddler’s body. With its adjustable feathers, it provides abundant adaptability, and the ergonomically designed oval grip add more to its comfort. Now for the feature that sends it to the #1 spot! This model allows you to purchase the correct kayak paddle length, as it is available in tons of different sizes!

As I have already mentioned, the kayak paddle length just needs to be accurate. This product is great in this aspect, as it is available in different sizes (220 cm, 230 cm, 240 cm, and 250 cm). So, you can just choose the right length and avail of its respective benefits. 

Kayak Paddle Length

This paddle contains aluminum shaft (durable, yet light) along with polymer and fiberglass reinforced blades (perfectly suited for slicing into the water). I love this paddle for its construction materials. The fiberglass-reinforced blades make paddle lightweight and ensure more strength and efficiency on each stroke. Remember – the more efficient the paddle stroke, the further you go per stroke, and the less fatigue at the end of the day!

The feathering adjustability allows you to adapt to the different conditions. This is great as you’ll likely take your kayak to different bodies of water, in different seasons, and thus different conditions, and the adjustability allow this paddle to be somewhat of a “one size fits all”. This paddle also comes with an oval grip to add more to your comfort. Anything with ergonomics, especially in the kayak fishing world, earns a lot of points with yours truly!  

Its distinguishing feature, however, at least with respect to its utility for kayak fishermen, is its high-visibility tape measure that lets you measure your catch immediately even inside the water. It also possesses a hook retrieval system to free snagged hooks. These are two CRITICAL features to find in a kayak fishing paddle. Measure your catch on the spot. Free your line from a snag. All with a kayak paddle, its like three tools in one!

My Experience

Like I said, I like to learn from the experience of others. I have found this kayak fishing paddle to be perfectly suited for entry-level and moderate-level kayak fishermen. It has fulfilled the entire criteria for becoming the a great tool for the average kayak fishermen. I can verify it by checking all its incredible features. It not only gives outstanding performance while showing strength but values the fishermen’s comfort as well. The manufacturers clearly designed this paddle with an eye towards kayak fishing – and for that, we are grateful!

Kayak Paddle Length

Its lightweight yet durable material, along with oval grip, has enhanced my kayaking stamina. Its feathering adjustability allows me to try different paddler experiences. And how can I forget its measuring tape that has simply elevated the fishing fun?

Pros

  • Ergonomic design allows a comfortable grip.
  • Adjustable feathering gives freedom of adaptability.
  • Two amazing color options are available. 
  • Various available sizes to choose right kayak paddle length.
  • Lightweight construction material puts less strain on your body. 
  • Two-piece design allows easy storage and traveling.
  • Hook retrieval system makes rescuing a stuck line or lure easier.

Cons   

  • Measuring tape paint might fade after some time.

Conclusion 

I hope my guide on Kayak paddle length would assist in resolving your queries. I also expect it to help you in buying just a right kayak paddle that would fulfill all your requirements. I haven’t only tried to cover various aspects of kayak paddle but provided a recommendation too that is  Angler Scout Paddle. It is the great kayak paddle option that is capable of fulfilling all your kayaking desires at entry-level. So, what do you think about my recommendation? How did this post help you? It would be great to hear from you. Please leave your valuable suggestions and comments below!

Comments

Did you know that choosing a proper kayak paddle length was of such tremendous importance? We’ll be honest, the first several seasons we went out kayak fishing, the length of the paddle was a total afterthought. After becoming educated on the subject, we measured and chose a paddle of the right shape and size for our respective bodies. Its amazing how much more efficiency this creates! How about you? Have you had a similar experience? Please share your thoughts by posting in the comments section below. We promise to read and reply to every comment!!!!!

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