Sizing paddles is not an exact science. There are many factors that come into play when choosing a canoe paddle that varies between paddlers including the style of paddling the paddle will be used for, the amount of freeboard in the paddler’s boat, as well as how and where the paddler sits in the canoe.
We all have our individual preferences, but our sizing guide and chart below should give you a good place to start.
After perusing the guide below, if you find you are deciding between two paddle sizes – and do not have a true preference or specific need – we would strongly encourage you to opt towards the shorter length paddle.
Why? Because for many of us, a slightly shorter paddle will actually encourage a stroke that is more parallel to the canoe as opposed to the sweeping action that tends to occur when a paddle is too long for the paddler. Opting for the shorter length paddle will also help to minimize strain on your shoulders and encourage you to use more of your body during the stroke rather than just pulling with your arms.
Remember, for the most part, you want your upper hand to pushing straight out from your shoulder area – not up and over – while gripping the lower shaft with your bottom hand so that it’s about level with your waist.
To measure for a Badger Canoe Paddle, grab a paddle by the grip with one hand and then grab the paddle shaft near the throat – where the paddle blade meets the shaft – with your other hand.
Rest the canoe paddle centred on top of your head and look at the angle of your elbows. They should both be bent at or just under 90º angles.
If the paddle is too short, you will find the angles of your elbows are far less than the suggested 90º. Note: It is totally acceptable to go a little under 90º but not too much!
If the paddle is too long, you will find your arms stretched out farther causing the angle of your elbows to be greater than 90º which is not at all ideal.
Using a broomstick or other appropriate household item, position your hands with one hand near the end of the stick and the other somewhere near the other end of the shaft. Rest the broom or pole centred on the top of your head so that each of your elbows are at a 90º angle. Next, measure from the outside edges of both hands using the BLUE ZONE AREA GUIDE image for reference. Make note of this measurement. Now find your Badger canoe paddle length using your BLUE ZONE measurement and the Paddle Sizing Guide below.
BLUE ZONE AREA GUIDE
If you are using a paddle to measure for your BLUE ZONE, place the paddle centred on the top of your head with both elbows at 90º. Then measure from the end of the paddle grip where your one hand is placed to the outside edge of your opposite hand – where ever it is positioned on the remaining shaft (keeping your elbows at 90º). If there is not enough shaft for you to grip with your opposite hand, it might be more accurate to use another item for measuring instead.
REMINDER: IF YOU FIND YOURSELF BETWEEN TWO PADDLE SIZES - AND DO NOT HAVE A TRUE PREFERENCE OR SPECIFIC NEED - WE WOULD STRONGLY ENCOURAGE YOU TO OPT FOR THE SHORTER LENGTH PADDLE.