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FIND YOUR FIT

THERE ARE A FEW DETAILS THAT YOU WILL WANT TO ACCOUNT FOR WHEN CHOOSING YOUR STYLE, MODEL, AND LENGTH KAYAK PADDLE. YOUR HEIGHT, BOAT WIDTH (BEAM), AND STYLE OF KAYAK ARE WHAT WILL FACTOR IN TO FINDING THE RIGHT FIT FOR YOU. BELOW WE HAVE PROVIDED SOME HELPFUL INFORMATION AND A SIZING CHART TO ASSIST YOU IN FINDING YOUR APPROPRIATE PADDLE LENGTH. 

PADDLING STYLE

LOW ANGLE

A low angle paddle stroke is the most common type of stroke paddlers use for most TOURING KAYAKS. The stroke is more parallel to the water and remains relatively shallow (your blades will usually not go above your head, and the shaft doesn’t cross your eyeline). Your blades are typically further out from the kayak’s edge, improving stability and reach. You will most likely use this stroke with a sea kayak, recreational kayak, fishing kayak, solo/pack canoe, and pack raft in flat and/or open water paddling.

Our Touring Paddles (including the Quill-Types) are a good fit for most styles of flat/open water kayaking, where low angle paddling is most utilized. However, the Wave Walker and Wave Walker SP may be better suited as an high angle touring paddle. 

HIGH ANGLE

A high angle stroke is typically more vertical to the water with the blade stroke being next to the boat (the blades often go above your head with the shaft crossing your eyeline). This style is typically less stable but provides more powerful forward strokes ideal for rough and moving waters. You are most likely to use this stroke with white water kayaking [and pack rafting], and kayak surfing/ocean play in a sea kayak. 

KAYAK TYPES

SEA KAYAK

These kayaks will be the longest and most slender of any kayak, usually between 14-21 feet long, and a width of 21”-25” (53cm–64cm). A 2-person (double) kayak will usually be wider at 25”-30” (63cm-76cm) for additional capacity and stability. Sea Kayaking focuses on long distances, overnight camping, and open water paddling. 

RECREATIONAL KAYAK

Rec kayaks are generally shorter and wider than a sea kayak, usually between 8-12 feet long, and a width of 25”-30” (63cm-76cm). These kayaks are intended for the day paddler who will be out for short or full day paddles on flat water, and do not have the addition space to support overnight camping. 

FISHING KAYAK

Fishing Kayaks are short and wide similar to a recreation kayak but usually has a much wider beam for added stability as the paddler is often seated higher off the waterline then other boats. They have a larger range of widths from 31”-38” (79cm-96cm). Like rec kayaks they are best suited for short and full day paddles on flat water. 

PACK RAFT

A pack raft is an inflatable alternative to recreational and whitewater kayaks, preferred for their stability and easy of transport. They typically have widths from 34”-38” (86cm-96cm).  Moving water paddlers should refer to the White Water/High Angle chart as a high angle stroke and thus a shorter paddle are preferred for river paddling. A 4-piece paddle is often used with packrafting as they can pack down small for storage and travel with your boat. 

SOLO CANOE

Solo Canoes are a style of canoe made for use with a kayak paddle. They have a width from 27”-31” (68cm-79cm), and require a longer paddle to clear the gunnels. These boats are used for short and full day paddles, as well as overnight camping on flatwater lakes and rivers. A 4-piece paddle can be beneficial as they break down to fit in your portage packs on those long carries. 

WHITE WATER KAYAK

White Water Kayaks are made for use in fast currents, white water, and surf. Lengths vary from 5’5”-9feet based on the type of white water paddling you intend on pursuing. They commonly have a width of 24”-29” (60cm-74cm) and are paddled with a high angle stroke.  Paddles suited for white water paddling typically do not vary in length as much as their flatwater/touring counterparts listed above, as the blades remain close to the kayak's edge and water's surface to avoid rocks in shallow areas. Seating positions and boat widths also do not vary as much from one style of white water kayak to another (with exception to pack rafts). 

PADDLE SIZING CHARTS

These sizing chart suggestions are not a strict rule, more than anything your personal preference is what makes the best fit for you. If you have been paddling a 230cm for ten years, then it may be best for you to continue paddling with the length you are most comfortable with, granted you are not switching kayak types. Some paddlers tend to use a more high angle stroke with a touring paddle like the Wave Walker, in which case it is recommended you reduce your paddle length suggestion by 10cm or refer to the White Water/High Angle sizing chart. 

TOURING/LOW ANGLE

BOAT WIDTH20" - 25"26" - 30"31" - 35"35"+
Paddler Height:
Under 5' (152cm)200-210cm210-220cm220-230cm230-240cm
5'-5'6" (152-168cm)210-220cm220-230cm230-240cm240-250cm
5'7"-6' (170-183cm)
215-225cm225-235cm235-245cm245-255cm
6'+ (183cm+)220-230cm230-240cm240-250cm255cm

WHITEWATER/HIGH ANGLE

BOAT TYPEWHITE WATERPACK RAFT & HIGH ANGLE
Paddler Height:
Under 5' (152cm)188-190cm205cm
5'-5'6" (152-168cm)
190-194cm205-210cm
5'7"-6' (170-183cm)194-198cm210-215cm
6'+ (183cm+)198-200cm215-220cm

BREAKDOWN

ALL NIMBUS PADDLES COME WITH VARIOUS BREAKDOWN OPTIONS TO PROVIDE EASE OF TRANSPORT AND STORAGE FOR WHICHEVER TYPE OF KAYAKING YOU DO. 

ONE PIECE

1-piece paddles are the standard for white water kayaking as it provides additional durability and simplicity to the paddle. White water paddles are also much shorter than your typical touring paddle, so transportation [and shipping cost] is not hindered by its overall length.

TWO PIECE

2-piece paddles are the standard for touring paddles as they come in much longer lengths (over 200cm), making it much more convenient for transport. A 2-piece paddle also makes it convenient for a spare, as it fits well on the deck of most sea kayaks and longer touring kayaks. A 2-piece can also be optioned with our standard 3-hole adjustable ferrule with your touring paddle. 

FOUR PIECE

4-piece paddles provide the most convenience in space savings. Breaking down to a size under 100cm, they can easily fit into standard carry-on luggage. This makes them great as a spare paddle for smaller kayaks with limited storage, like in white water kayaks. If you have a pack raft or folding [bag] kayak, they can also be stowed and transported with the kayak more easily.  They can also be optioned with our standard 3-hole adjustable ferrule with your touring paddle.