SUP paddle length – how to get it right

Getting your paddle length right makes everything feel so much better so how do you know where to start with measuring out your paddle before cutting.

Since starting out in paddling I have probably had over 20 paddles and used them in all manner of disciplines.   They have been cheap aluminium, full carbon, adjustables and fibreglass construction with a range of blade sizes and brands.

Quickblade make a range of sup paddles in varying constructions, colours and price ranges

Deciding on the discipline your paddle is going to be used for.

What you are going to use the paddle for has a huge effect on what length it should be.   For surfing you don’t need such a long paddle as you will be wanting to throw it around and grab short fast strokes whilst for racing or touring you will be needing a longer paddle to extend your reach out front.

Qickblade shaft construction showing how strong they areWhat sort of paddle construction are you going for?

Although it doesn’t actually affect what length your paddle should be the construction will have a huge effect on how the paddle feels.  I have been asked again and again about cheap paddles and all I can say is DON’T.   The paddle is more important than your board.   Buy a good paddle, at least a carbon shaft.  Just going that extra mile will make a cheaper board feel better.

Let’s reverse that thought.   Buy a cheap paddle and jump on a really good board.    The board feels terrible.

What blade size do you think suits you?

Paddle sup blade sizes

This is all relative to the paddler size and weight.   I have finally landed on 2 sizes that I use.  The 100 square inch blade for  a faster turnover and the 110 for surf where immediate grunt is needed.   I did try the 90 but being a bigger bloke , about 14 stone plus I found it slipped too much when not paddling flat out.

Does your height and weight matter.

Height means you have more leverage.  With leverage comes increased downforce that you can ascert.  But with an increased shaft length comes more flex so it is even more important to have a higher quality paddle with a quality shaft.

Weight affects things just like height.  You put more weight down the paddle when initiating the “catch”.  Adding weight increases drag so you need a blade that will hold water better.

Quickblade paddles length chart UK

Below is a chart that Quickblade have produced.  It gives a generic measurement for rider heights.  Obviously it doesn’t account for every factor so look at it as a guide only.


Paddler Height
Paddle Length (includes handle & blade)
Foot/InchInchesCentimetersRacingSurfingTouring
4′48″122cm54″53″55″
4′ 1″49″124cm55″54″56″
4′ 2″50″127cm56″55″57″
4′ 3″51″130cm57″56″58″
4′ 4″52″132cm58″57″59″
4′ 5″53″135cm59″58″60″
4′ 6″54″137cm60″59″62″
4′ 7″55″140cm62″61″63″
4′ 8″56″142cm63″62″64″
4′ 9″57″145cm64″63″65″
4′ 10″58″147cm65″64″66″
4′ 11″59″150cm66″65″67″
5′60″152cm67″66″68″
5′ 1″61″155cm68″67″70″
5′ 2″62″157cm69″68″71″
5′ 3″63″160cm71″69″72″
5′ 4″64″163cm72″70″73″
5′ 5″65″165cm73″72″74″
5′ 6″66″168cm74″73″75″
5′ 7″67″170cm75″74″76″
5′ 8″68″173cm76″75″78″
5′ 9″69″175cm77″76″79″
5′ 10″70″178cm78″77″80″
5′ 11″71″180cm80″78″81″
6′72″183cm81″79″82″
6′ 1″73″185cm82″80″83″
6′ 2″74″188cm83″81″84″
6′ 3″75″191cm84″83″86″
6′ 4″76″193cm85″84″87″
6′ 5″77″196cm86″85″88″
6′ 6″78″198cm87″86″89″
6′ 7″79″201cm88″87″90″
6′ 8″80″203cm90″88″91″
6′ 9″81″206cm91″89″92″
6′ 10″82″208cm92″90″93″
6′ 11″83″211cm93″91″95″
7′84″213cm94″92″96″

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