How do I choose the correct size paddle?
While many methods exist, a simple and accurate way is to measure your torso. Sit up straight on a flat surface and measure from the surface in between your legs to your nose. Follow the chart below:
An easy way to measure in the field is to place the grip of the paddle between your legs (while sitting) and mark where the shoulder is (where blade meets shaft). The shoulder on a straight shaft should be at your forehead; the shoulder on a bent shaft should be at your nose.
Note: this is only a guideline to sizing. Seat height, style of paddling, and arm length can all effect the size you need. Demo paddling is always recommended.
When determining paddle length, the kayak width is the limiting factor for recreational kayaking. The sizing chart below should ensure you aren't hitting your knuckles on the hull as you paddle. For sleeker touring/sea kayaks ones paddling style and physical size plays more heavily.
An easy way to measure in the field is to hold a paddle horizontally in your hands with your elbows slightly inside a 90 degree angle (most paddles are ovalized in the area they should be gripped). Your hands should be about two-thirds of the way between the center of the shaft and the shoulder of the blade. Again, always take stroke angle and boat width into consideration, and demo the paddle whenever possible.