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LoopyLoons
member (20)member
 
01/22/2021 11:07PM  
Hello,
Does anyone know any good tips and tricks for getting the correct paddle size? I've heard up to your chin on the length of your arm. What's the best way you know of? I have always just used preowned paddles off craigslist but I will be buying the correct size one for my upcoming trip. Happy paddling.
 
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MidwestFirecraft
distinguished member(589)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/23/2021 07:20AM  
Solo or tandem? Bent or straight shaft paddle?
 
01/23/2021 07:24AM  
You can get a good start by checking paddle maker websites.
 
01/23/2021 07:58AM  
The "correct" paddle size for you is the size that is most comfortable and effective.

Sizing charts and methods are no substitute for being on the water and paying attention to what feels good, especially if you are ready to shell out $ for new. Measure your Craigslist paddles for a reference point (do they feel short or long?), borrow some paddles if possible, then spend a little time on the lake dialing in what feels best.

Paddle design is also a factor - straight, bent, beavertail, etc.

This is just opinion based on my own experience of using general sizing methods to buy my first paddles. They all turned out to be much longer than I prefer now. Some this is probably because I have perfect posture when taking a size test but not so much when I'm actually in the boat.

Get some different paddles in your hands, even if just on dry land, before you spend the dough.


 
01/23/2021 08:40AM  
I have always read to sit in a chair and measure from your forehead to the flat surface of the chair and do some other math there also. It's fairly easy to find with some searching here
 
schweady
distinguished member(7199)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
01/23/2021 09:05AM  
Works for us:

 
01/23/2021 12:10PM  
Here is sizing advice from 2 paddle companies:
Bending Branches paddle sizing advice
Grey Owl paddles

There are 3 separate links on the Grey Owl Paddles webpage for sizing their 3 general types of paddles (traditional, straight shaft, bent shaft).
 
01/23/2021 12:29PM  
fadersup, hit the question squarely outa the park! All listed formulas just get close. Actual use by the person in question and situation will be the final determination. I also settle on shorter paddles than recommended, but that fits my paddling style and desires.

butthead
 
LoopyLoons
member (20)member
 
01/23/2021 05:18PM  
Tandem I am usually the bow paddler. I do go solo sometimes. I was giving an adjustable kayak paddle by another forum members that I was going to try come spring for that. As for my tandem paddle I just have the generic metal and plastic paddles. They seem to be a bit oversized.
 
LoopyLoons
member (20)member
 
01/23/2021 05:22PM  
Good information to have! I will make sure to put it to good use the next time I am in a shop. Thanks.
 
MidwestFirecraft
distinguished member(589)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/23/2021 05:30PM  
LoopyLoons: "Tandem I am usually the bow paddler. I do go solo sometimes. "

As stated by others it is a personal preference, but the seated method was right on for my tandem paddle. I prefer a longer paddle when soloing, so I add two inches.
 
OldScout48
distinguished member (364)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/23/2021 07:30PM  
I always use "This is a hold-up" method.
Hold your arms up with 90 degree bend in your elbows.
Grab the paddle that you are measuring by the grip and other hand should fit at the throat just above the start of the blade.
This method works with any style paddle blade.
Give it a try on your favorite paddle.
 
justpaddlin
distinguished member (362)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/25/2021 04:53PM  
How tall are you? Do you plan to sit or kneel? Are there specific paddles that you are considering?
 
LoopyLoons
member (20)member
 
01/25/2021 05:37PM  
Justpaddling I am 6'2 200 lbs. I generally switch between kneeling and sitting. I have had multiple back injuries from years of playing rugby, and this seems to minimize the pain. I plan on picking up traditional beaver and otter tail paddles for my next trip. Thanks happy paddling.
 
BrianDay
member (29)member
 
01/26/2021 08:33AM  
LoopyLoons: "Justpaddling I am 6'2 200 lbs. I generally switch between kneeling and sitting. I have had multiple back injuries from years of playing rugby, and this seems to minimize the pain. I plan on picking up traditional beaver and otter tail paddles for my next trip. Thanks happy paddling. "

My quick hacks to get in the ballpark below. As others have said, you may go a little longer or shorter from here:

Bent shaft: Sit on chair. Measure distance from chair to eye level. That's the shaft length from top of grip to blade.

Conventional straight shaft: Grab the paddle by the grip. Hold your arm out straight to the side, 90 degrees from your body at shoulder height. Paddle tip should be close to or touching the ground.

Traditional (beaver tail, otter tail, etc): I size these so the shaft is about the same length as my regular straight shaft paddle. Since the blade is longer, the overall paddle length is longer, too.

I'm 6' tall, fairly long in the torso. Using these methods, I come up with 52 for a bent, 58 for a straight and 63 for traditional.

Blade length varies quite a bit between paddles so it isn't foolproof to go with an overall length for sizing. Best bet is to find a paddle that you enjoy using, measure how long the shaft is, and carry that over to other paddles as you shop for paddle #2 and #3 and #4...

Like potato chips, you can't have only one.

Happy paddling!

Brian
 
THEGrandRapids
distinguished member (223)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/26/2021 11:55AM  


This is the best that is out there
 
01/26/2021 12:14PM  
All the measurements I found online said that I should use a 50 inch bent shaft paddle. Then I added 2 inches because I always sit on a butt pad and another 2 inches because I am most often in the bow and the front seat is located at a wider point than the stern seat. So I ended up getting a 54 inch bent shaft paddle and I am happy with that size.
 
01/26/2021 04:58PM  
If you are unsure what length paddle is "the correct paddle size", I would recommend more canoe paddling before "an upcoming trip". Only you can decide what is right and what you prefer. It's actually a very minor detail... use what you have.
 
justpaddlin
distinguished member (362)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/26/2021 07:44PM  
LoopyLoons: "Justpaddling I am 6'2 200 lbs. I generally switch between kneeling and sitting. I have had multiple back injuries from years of playing rugby, and this seems to minimize the pain. I plan on picking up traditional beaver and otter tail paddles for my next trip. Thanks happy paddling. "

I'm about an inch shorter than you and generally like a 34-35 inch shaft length. I usually kneel...a slightly shorter shaft is usually better for sitting. I have a 6'4" paddling buddy that is perfectly comfy using my paddles. For me a slightly shorter shaft seems better for long blade paddles...I have a 63 inch Grey Owl Chieftain with a shaft around 34 inches that fits me perfectly and I can't imagine that you'd be better off with the 60 or 66. If you're near SW Michigan you can stop by and try some paddles.
 
jhb8426
distinguished member(1251)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/29/2021 12:06AM  
MidwestFirecraft: "As stated by others it is a personal preference, but the seated method was right on for my tandem paddle. I prefer a longer paddle when soloing, so I add two inches. "

Just the opposite for me. I prefer a bit shorter paddle when soloing (Bell Magic). Haven't soloed a tandem in awhile so that may make a difference.
 
HistoryDoc
member (40)member
 
01/29/2021 09:04AM  
Shaw & Tenney, paddle makers since 1858, have a sizing guide on their website. Make great paddles in a number of traditional sizes.

https://www.shawandtenney.com/product-category/canoe-kayak-and-sup-paddles
 
HistoryDoc
member (40)member
 
01/29/2021 09:07AM  
Sorry, meant to say traditional Styles. I think using inches is pretty traditional sizing.
 
02/03/2021 07:58AM  
MidwestFirecraft: "LoopyLoons: "Tandem I am usually the bow paddler. I do go solo sometimes. "


As stated by others it is a personal preference, but the seated method was right on for my tandem paddle. I prefer a longer paddle when soloing, so I add two inches. "


Are we still talking about paddle sizing???
 
02/03/2021 12:25PM  
Depends on the canoe you are paddling. The paddle I use in my wenonah would be way too short for my 18’ prospector, you need a bunch of paddles.
 
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