Using a paddle with the right size is the basis for safe and enjoyable stand-up paddleboarding. The right length depends on the paddler height, the intended use of the paddle, and the thickness of the board. It also requires some testing and adjustments based on personal preference.
Use this calculator to get a first indication of how long your paddle should be. For more background on the calculation steps as well as other (simpler) methods, read this article where we discuss how (and why) to determine the right paddle size.
Calculator for the Right Paddle Size
To calculate the correct paddle size with this tool, you will need to fill in a few parameters.
First of all, select whether you prefer using the calculator based on the imperial or the metric system.
Secondly, you’ll have to enter your height, either in centimeters or inches.
To determine your height in inches, multiply the height in feet with 12 and add the remaining inches. If you’re 5’11”, calculate 5×12+11 and fill in 71 inches.
As a third step, you should select whether you’re using your paddle for surfing, racing, or touring. These three areas require a different length of the paddle. The calculator will consider this in the final result. If you’re a beginner or just doing casual SUP sessions, select ‘touring’.
Lastly, you’ll have to select the thickness of the board. While the impact on the recommended total length of the paddle is comparatively low, it does make a difference whether you’re standing on a 6-inch vs a 4-inch board (source). In the metric system, the difference is >5cm, so it’s not to be ignored either.
If you’re unsure about the thickness of your board, e.g. when you’re about to rent one, select 4 to 4.5 inches for hardboards and 4.5 to 5 inches for inflatables. However, inflatable boards for beginners tend to be thicker with up to 6 inches, so you might have to readjust the paddle length accordingly if you happen to use such boards.
Based on these parameters, the calculator will automatically produce a recommended paddle size.
Treat this length as a recommendation only. Paddlers have different preferences and certain weather or water conditions may also require adjustments. However, you can use this recommendation as a starting point, in particular, if you’re a beginner, and test different deviations until you eventually find the perfect size for you.
SUP Paddle Length Calculator
Considerations around Fixed-Length Paddles
The ideal length of a paddle is normally independent of the type and material of a paddle.
But if you consider buying a fixed-length paddle, you should be pretty sure about the right length as it can’t be changed once you’ve got the paddle.
While this calculator result can be a good first estimate, you should test different lengths with an adjustable shaft before you settle at a certain size and get a fixed-length paddle.
We hope this calculator has been helpful for you in getting a hint of the right paddle size for your needs.
Although the calculation can’t replace the testing of different lengths in practice, it provides you with a point from where you can start your tests.
If you wish to learn more about the underlying calculation, read this article where we also introduce 2 other methods to determine the paddle size.