What SUP Paddle Length Should I Get If
What SUP Paddle Length Should I Get If

If you’re 5’10” and wondering what SUP paddle length is right for you, we’ve got you covered! Picking the perfect paddle length can significantly impact your stand-up paddleboarding experience.

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced paddler, finding the right paddle will enhance your performance and prevent unnecessary strain on your body.

So sit back, grab a cup of coffee, and get ready to discover the ideal SUP paddle length for your height!

Factors to Consider

Height and Reach

When choosing a SUP paddle length, one crucial factor is height and reach. Taller individuals generally require a longer paddle to accommodate their extended reach, while shorter individuals may find a shorter paddle more comfortable. Height is a good starting point for estimating paddle length but should not be the sole determinant.

Paddle Style and Usage

Another factor to consider is your paddle style and intended usage. Different paddling styles and activities may require different paddle lengths. For example, if you primarily engage in touring or recreational paddling, you may prefer a slightly longer paddle for better tracking and efficiency. On the other hand, if you enjoy surfing, a shorter paddle may offer better maneuverability in the waves. Understanding your paddle style and intended usage will help you choose the right length.

Experience and Skill Level

Your experience and skill level also play a role in determining the appropriate paddle length. Beginners may benefit from a slightly shorter paddle to help maintain control and stability. As you gain experience and refine your technique, you may find that a longer paddle allows for increased power and efficiency. It’s essential to consider your comfort level and skill level when selecting a paddle length.

General Guidelines

Stand-Up Paddleboarding Basics

Before delving into paddle length, it’s essential to have a basic understanding of stand-up paddleboarding (SUP). SUP involves standing on a large board and propelling yourself through the water using a paddle. It is a versatile water sport that can be enjoyed in various settings, from calm lakes to challenging ocean waves. Familiarizing yourself with SUP’s basic techniques and principles will give you a solid foundation for choosing the right paddle length.

Proper Paddle Length

When it comes to paddle length, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. The goal is to find a paddle length that allows for comfortable and efficient paddling. Using a too long or short paddle can lead to discomfort, fatigue, and inefficient strokes. Finding the proper paddle length that suits your body, paddling style, and intended activities is essential.

Estimating Paddle Length

Height-Based Estimate

A standard method for estimating paddle length is based on your height. While it is not a foolproof approach, it can provide a good starting point. As a general guideline, you can estimate your paddle length by adding 8 to 10 inches to your height. For example, if you are 5’10” (70 inches) tall, a paddle length of around 78 to 80 inches may be suitable. However, it’s important to remember that individual preferences and differences in arm length and reach can influence the ideal paddle length.

Personal Preference

While height-based estimates can be helpful, personal preference should ultimately guide your paddle length decision. Some paddlers may prefer a longer paddle for a more powerful stroke, while others may opt for a shorter paddle for better maneuverability. It’s crucial to consider what feels comfortable and efficient for you. Experimenting with different paddle lengths and seeking guidance from experienced paddlers can help you find the length that suits your preference.

Adjusting Paddle Length

Demo and Trial

Once you have an estimated paddle length, it’s crucial to demo and trial different paddle lengths before making a final decision. Many paddleboard shops and rental facilities offer paddle demos, allowing you to try different lengths in real-world conditions. Taking the time to paddle with different lengths and paying attention to how it feels and its impact on your stroke can help you better understand your ideal length.


Even after finding a paddle length that feels comfortable, fine-tuning may be necessary. Minor adjustments, such as increasing or decreasing the length by an inch or two, can noticeably impact performance and comfort. Fine-tuning can involve testing different lengths during various SUP activities and observing the differences in efficiency, speed, control, and maneuverability. Paying attention to these factors and making minor adjustments can optimize your paddle length for a better paddling experience.

Impact of Paddle Length

Efficiency and Speed

The length of your paddle can significantly impact your efficiency and speed on the water. A paddle that is too long may require excessive energy to propel and can result in a less efficient stroke. On the other hand, a too-short paddle may not allow for a full range of motion and may compromise your stroke power. Finding the right balance in paddle length will enhance your efficiency and speed, allowing you to glide through the water quickly.

Maneuverability and Control

Paddle length also plays a crucial role in your maneuverability and control of the water. A longer paddle provides more leverage and can offer better control in open water or when dealing with choppy conditions. However, a shorter paddle may be more maneuverable in tight spaces, such as navigating through waves or narrow waterways. Considering your intended activities and preferences will help determine the paddle length that optimizes your maneuverability and control.

Paddle Length for Different SUP Activities

Touring and Recreation

For touring and recreational paddling, a slightly longer paddle is often preferred. A longer paddle allows better tracking, making it easier to maintain a straight line and navigate calm waters. It also provides leverage for efficient and powerful strokes, reducing fatigue during longer paddles. Ultimately, the ideal paddle length for touring and recreational paddling will depend on personal preferences, height, and paddling style.


In the world of SUP surfing, maneuverability is critical. Shorter paddles offer more control and allow for quick adjustments and responsive turns on the waves. When surfing, a shorter paddle lets you keep your hands closer to the board and maintain balance while riding the waves. The ability to rapidly change directions and carve through the surf is essential, making a shorter paddle the preferred choice for many SUP surfers.


SUP racing requires speed, power, and efficiency. Longer paddles are often used to maximize stroke power and maintain a high paddle cadence. The increased shaft length provides greater leverage for powerful strokes, allowing racers to generate more speed and maintain their pace for extended periods. When competing in SUP races, it is expected to see paddlers using paddles that are taller than themselves, reflecting the emphasis on achieving maximum efficiency and speed.

Yoga and Fitness

SUP yoga and fitness activities typically involve various poses and exercises on the board. A paddle length that allows for balance and stability is crucial for these activities. Since stability and control are paramount, a slightly shorter paddle is often chosen. With a shorter paddle, you can easily maintain balance while engaging in yoga poses or performing fitness routines on the water. Finding a paddle length that provides the stability you need for these activities without compromising your comfort is essential.

Choosing the Right Paddle Length

Finding the Perfect Fit

Choosing the right paddle length is a highly individual process. While guidelines based on height and activity can provide a starting point, personal preference and comfort are the ultimate deciding factors. To find the perfect fit, consider demoing and trialing different paddle lengths, paying attention to efficiency, speed, maneuverability, and control factors. Seeking advice from experienced paddlers and instructors can also provide valuable insight into finding the right paddle length for your unique needs.

Considering Personal Goals

When choosing a paddle length, it’s vital to consider your personal goals as a stand-up paddler. Whether you aspire to explore calm lakes, take on challenging surf breaks, engage in races, or focus on yoga and fitness, your goals will shape your ideal paddle length. Assessing your intended activities, skill level, and comfort level will help you align your paddle length with your personal goals, ultimately enhancing your overall SUP experience.

Potential Challenges and Solutions

Soreness and Fatigue

Using an inappropriate paddle length can lead to soreness and fatigue, affecting your enjoyment and endurance on the water. If you find yourself experiencing discomfort or fatigue, it may be a sign that your paddle length should be adjusted. Experimenting with shorter or longer paddle lengths and paying attention to how your body responds can help alleviate discomfort and optimize your paddling experience.

Difficult Control or Maneuvering

Struggling with control or maneuvering can result from using an ill-fitting paddle length. It may be worth exploring different paddle lengths if you have difficulty steering or making precise movements. Adjusting the length can significantly impact your control and maneuverability, allowing you to navigate the water more confidently and effortlessly.

Expert Recommendations

Advice from SUP Instructors

SUP instructors often have extensive experience and knowledge regarding paddle length selection. Seeking advice from certified instructors can provide valuable insights and help you make an informed decision. Instructors can assess your skill level, observe your technique, and make recommendations based on their expertise. Their guidance will help you choose a paddle length that enhances your performance and enjoyment on the water.

Tips from Experienced Paddlers

Experienced paddlers who have spent countless hours on the water can offer valuable tips and insights regarding paddle length. Engaging with the stand-up paddleboarding community through online forums or local groups can connect you with seasoned paddlers willing to share their experiences and knowledge. These experienced individuals can provide valuable advice based on their trial and error, helping you avoid common mistakes and find the optimal paddle length for your needs.


Optimizing Paddle Length

Selecting the correct paddle length is crucial in optimizing your stand-up paddleboarding experience. Considering factors such as height, paddle style, experience, and intended activities, you can narrow down your options and find a paddle length that suits your unique needs. It’s important to remember that while general guidelines can provide a starting point, personal preference and comfort should be the ultimate determinants of your paddle length choice.

Enhancing SUP Experience

Choosing the right paddle length not only improves your efficiency, speed, control, and maneuverability on the water but also enhances your overall stand-up paddleboarding experience.

The perfect length will allow you to paddle efficiently, comfortably, and confidently, whether exploring serene lakes, riding thrilling waves, competing in races, or practicing yoga on your board. With the right paddle length in hand, you can unlock the full potential of SUP and enjoy the countless benefits this exciting water sport offers.

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Jake Walker
Hi, I'm Jake Walker, a passionate outdoor sports enthusiast and SUP Board expert. With years of experience in the field, I have gained extensive knowledge and expertise in all things related to SUP Boards. I am dedicated to providing valuable tips and advice to help fellow enthusiasts make informed decisions when it comes to choosing the right SUP Board gear. Throughout my journey in the SUP Board community, I have been recognized for my contributions and have received several prizes and rewards for my expertise. These accolades have further motivated me to continue sharing my knowledge and helping others navigate the exciting world of SUP Boarding. I believe in the transformative power of outdoor sports and how they can enhance our connection with nature. My writing philosophy revolves around inspiring individuals to embark on their own SUP Board adventures and embrace the thrill of exploring new waters. When it comes to my writing style, I strive to inject a personal touch into every piece I create. I want my readers to feel like they're having a conversation with a friend, providing them with relatable and practical advice that they can apply to their own SUP Boarding experiences. I am excited to be a part of SUPBoardGear.com, where I can engage with a community of like-minded individuals who share the same passion for SUP Boarding. Connect with me on this platform, and together, let's explore the world of SUP Boarding and make unforgettable memories on the water. Don't hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or need assistance in choosing the perfect SUP Board gear for your next adventure. Let's embark on this incredible journey together!