Dryland Method for Determining Ideal Paddle Length
Dryland Method for Determining Ideal Paddle Length

Outdoor Education: How to Determine the Correct Length for Your Canoe Paddle

Pat Aitken

Your students will enjoy their canoe trip much more if they operate with a paddle that's the correct size. But how do you determine the correct size? Here are two ways.

Dryland Method
Have your students squat on the ground so their backside is at about the level it will be while paddling—for example, the height it will be while sitting on the canoe seat.

They should place the paddle upside down on the ground, so the blade is on top. The paddle is the correct height if its throat is at the level of their nose.


In-the-Canoe Method
In-the-Canoe Method
In-the-Canoe Method
The following method is especially useful for determining whether a student's paddle is the wrong size while you're en route.

Have your students sit in the canoe in their regular paddling position. Ask them to place their paddle upright and up to its throat in the water.

This position simulates the paddle's position during a regular stroke. In this position, the top of the paddle should be at the level of your student's nose.


1. Laurie Gullion, Canoeing, Human Kinetics Publishers, 1994. 
2. Cliff Jacobson, Canoeing & Camping Beyond the Basics, 3rd: 30th Anniversary Edition (How to Paddle Series),  A Falcon Guide, Morris Book Publishing, 2007.

To download the pdf version of this
article, click here: Download Now

© 2010, Physical Education Update.com, www.peUpdate.com

Bookmark and Share

Printer-Friendly Format