What are the recommended paddle lengths for whitewater kayaking?

  • Playboaters or those in kayaks less than 24 inches wide: 192cm to 194cm.
  • River runners in kayaks 24-28 inches wide: 194cm to 196cm.
  • Creek boaters in kayaks 28-32 inches wide: 197cm to 200cm.
  • Those in kayaks wider than 32 inches: 200cm to 204cm.


To further illustrate:

A person with a height of 5’4″ (162cm) using a kayak 24 inches wide might opt for a paddle around 192cm.

Someone 5’10” (178cm) in a kayak 28 inches wide would likely find a 196cm paddle most effective.

A taller individual, say 6’2″ (188cm), using a kayak 32 inches wide would benefit from a paddle length of 200cm.

The precise paddle length for whitewater kayaking is determined by several factors, including the paddler’s height, boat width, and specific paddling style. For instance, a taller individual in a wider kayak might prefer a longer paddle for better reach and power. Conversely, someone shorter or in a narrower kayak might opt for a shorter paddle for quicker maneuverability.

Recommended Paddle Lengths for Whitewater Kayaking Based on Paddler’s Height and Kayak Width:

Kayak Type/Width Paddler’s Height Recommended Paddle Length
Playboat (<24 inches) 5’4″ (162cm) 192cm
Playboat (<24 inches) 5’10” (178cm) 193cm
Playboat (<24 inches) 6’2″ (188cm) 194cm
River Runner (24-28 inches) 5’4″ (162cm) 194cm
River Runner (24-28 inches) 5’10” (178cm) 195cm
River Runner (24-28 inches) 6’2″ (188cm) 196cm
Creek Boat (28-32 inches) 5’4″ (162cm) 197cm
Creek Boat (28-32 inches) 5’10” (178cm) 198cm
Creek Boat (28-32 inches) 6’2″ (188cm) 200cm
Wide Kayak (>32 inches) 5’4″ (162cm) 200cm
Wide Kayak (>32 inches) 5’10” (178cm) 202cm
Wide Kayak (>32 inches) 6’2″ (188cm) 204cm


Additional Considerations

  • Blade Feather Angle: Many whitewater paddles have feathered blades. Typical feather angles are 30, 45, or 60 degrees. The choice of the right angle depends on individual preferences and paddling technique. A 45-degree angle is most popular among whitewater kayakers, but it’s worth testing different angles to find the most comfortable one.
  • Ergonomics of the Handle: Some paddles have ergonomically shaped handles that reduce wrist strain and enhance paddling comfort.
  • Paddle Length Relative to Paddling Technique: If you prefer a high-angle paddling technique (paddle is more vertical in the water), a shorter paddle might be more suitable. For a low-angle technique (paddle more horizontal in the water), a longer paddle would be better. For instance, for a high-angle technique, someone 5’10” in a Playboat might choose a 193cm paddle, while for a low-angle technique, the same person might opt for a 195cm paddle.



At G’Power, we offer a range of paddles designed to cater to different paddling techniques and preferences. Our paddles are crafted with precision, ensuring optimal performance and durability. Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced kayaker, G’Power has the perfect paddle tailored to your needs.