Sizing Canoe Paddles
Regardless of the model of straight or bent shaft paddle you have selected, the overall length should be determined by the shaft length from the top of the grip to the throat of the paddle.
The following formula applies: the shaft length should equal the distance from ones shoulder to the water line of the canoe. This will allow you to paddle below your eyes with your upper hand while keeping your lower hand close to the throat.
To determine the approximate length sit erect on a flat hard chair or the floor and measure the distance from the surface to your chin. Add 6” for the approximate distance the canoe seat would be from the waterline. Thus a person whose chin to chair measurement is 26” would add 6” to arrive at a 32” shaft length. Looking at the specifications of our various models you would find that you would probably use a 50” Touring Bent Shaft, a 54” Voyageur or a 56” Chieftain. A one or two inch variation would not have much effect in usage so try for the closest shaft length for the model chosen. Remember to consider that canoe seat heights vary as might a ‘comfort range’ that you might feel more suited to.
The only exception to this rule would be our Hammerhead paddle. A completely different technique is used for white water canoeing and you may end up adding approximately 12” to your chin to chair length.
Sizing Kayak Paddles
Sizing Stand Up Paddles
For an efficient paddle stroke on a stand up paddleboard, your top hand should be between your chin and your eyes at the catch of the stroke with the full blade in the water. To choose a paddle size, put the paddle grip on the floor and while you’re standing, the blade should start at your chin to eyes. Use the longer end of the range for racing or a more aggressive stroke and closer to the chin for a more relaxed stroke or for surfing. A person at 5’10” should be using a 78” – 82” paddle.
Another method is to add 8” to 10” to your height for the overall paddle length.