How to Extend Kayak Paddle

Have you ever thought of getting a longer kayak paddle because the one you have is seemingly short? Fortunately, you don’t have to go to the market for new equipment. You can learn how to extend a kayak paddle in a few quick steps.

The kayak paddle is as important as the boat itself. The comfort of your ride and the kayak’s maneuverability depends on the paddle size. And you don’t have to struggle with a short paddle anymore!

In this post, we will walk you through steps to follow to extend a kayak paddle. Also, we will offer tips for proper kayak paddle sizing. Let’s dive in for detailed information!

The Size of Your Kayak Paddle Brings Differences

A man is paddling a sit-in kayak with carbon paddle
A man is paddling a sit-in kayak with carbon paddle | Credit: marekuliasz /

The size of your paddle or shaft length sets the angle of the paddle when making forward strokes. That will also determine your comfort, kayak control, and usability.

Comfort is crucial for any kayaking expedition. But it depends on how you handle the paddle and its length. Too long paddles may be heavy to lift and wear you out faster. On the other hand, too short paddles can cause back pain, sore hands, and knuckles.

You can only effectively navigate through the water with the right paddle size and using the appropriate paddling technique. Turning and directing your kayak can be challenging if you don’t correctly size your paddles.

You should consider your paddling technique when looking for a kayak or needing to extend the one you already have. Angling and experience level influences the paddle length to choose. A long paddle shaft for experienced paddlers can prove difficult for you as a beginner.

How to Extend Kayak Paddle

A man is paddling a kayak with a long paddle
A man is paddling a kayak with a long paddle | Credit: serguacom /

If you realize that your paddle has become short, you can increase its length by yourself. The DIY approach can help you to achieve the best paddle length. You can add T-handles to the single ends to give you more control when paddling your boat.

But if you want to extend or upgrade a double paddle, the best approach can be to buy a new one. In this section, we will discuss how to extend the length of your kayak paddle.

Prepare the Needed Tools

Preparation is crucial if you want to extend the length of your paddle. Gather all materials, equipment, and tools you need, which include the following:

With the above items ready, you can proceed to the next step of extending your kayak paddle length.

Crooked Creek 24-inch Kayak Paddle Extension

Cut the Blade Off Your Spare Paddle 

Use a jigsaw to cut off the blade of your paddle, ensuring that you remove the shaft section with glue inside.

Determine Holes to Lock Paddle Shafts Together

Determine the holes and align them by ensuring shafts lock together where the T-handle would be. Use a scribe to measure the distances between the center of the button and the lip of the T-handle. But do that once you have checked and confirmed where you want the new holes.

Using the same scribe and distance measured, locate a hole position on the shaft where you will be drilling. Usually, it is marked from the center of the button. 

Determine Size Drill and Make The Hole

You should get the right drill bit size to use here. Choose the appropriate one from the drill bit set. A small hole won’t fit your button, and a too big one won’t give you enough grip for securing the handle.

Drill a hole at the point on the paddle shaft marked from the previous step. Use a file to smoothen the hole edges and end of the shaft edges. The handle should fit snugly after filing. 

Test if They Fit Along the Way

The next step is fitting the kayak paddle extension and testing it. If you followed the previous steps as expected, this last step should not be a problem. But even if you run into some challenges, a simple filing should be enough to resolve them.

How to Size a Kayak Paddle

The size of your kayak paddle is mainly influenced by the width of the kayak. The wider it is, the longer the paddle shaft should be. However, other factors, such as your height, also come into play. The taller you are, the longer the paddle you need.

Find the details in the chart below:

Recommended Paddle Length
Recommended Paddle Length

Fortunately, you can determine the size of the paddle you need in relation to your height by standing it up next to you. Extend your hands in the air and wrap the first joint of your index, middle, and ring fingers over the top of the paddle blade.

The Golden rule is you should be unable to wrap more than one joint. If you do, the paddle is slightly short. But if you can’t wrap even the first joint, the paddle is longer.

Another way of sizing your paddle is by measuring your torso height. This is the distance from your legs at the crotch to your nose when sitting down. It is relevant because it determines how high your shoulders will be above your kayak.

Consider paddle sizes recommended in the chart below:

Torso HeightHigh AngleLow Angle
24″-28″210cm – 215cm215cm – 220cm
28″-30″220cm – 230CM230cm
Over 30″230cm230cm

Also, consider your paddling technique or style. If you are the type that makes low-angle paddling strokes (paddle slightly tilted in relation to the water surface), your paddle should be about 230 cm long. This is the right size for most recreational paddlers.

But if you make high-angle paddling strokes, the most suitable paddle length for you should be about 210-220. In other words, a low angle of attack requires a longer paddle than a high angle.

Longer paddles at a low angle reduce fatigue and cause less strain on your shoulders. So, you can enjoy longer paddling hours.

What Happens if a Kayak Paddle Is Too Short or Too Long?

Kayak paddles in different sizes
Kayak paddles in different sizes | Credit: sassy1902 /

A paddle shorter than it should be won’t reach out far enough to allow you to paddle in a relaxed, “touring” style. Conversely, a long paddle becomes nearly horizontal in the water and becomes heavy, cumbersome, and inefficient.

The size of the paddler, arm, and torso length are all factors you should consider when buying a paddle or extending the length of the existing one.

Also, sit-on-top kayaks often require a longer paddle than sit-in kayaks. The former requires an about 230 cm long paddle while the latter should be 250 cm long.


What happens if the kayak paddle is too short?

A short kayak paddle makes you rub your hands against the boat, leading to sore hands and knuckles. You use much effort and may not be comfortable in the kayak, which can contribute to back pain.

Is a longer paddle better for kayaking?

The response depends on your height, the width of the boat, and your paddling style. Tall paddlers require long paddles. Similarly, you will go for a longer one if your kayak is wider. Shorter paddles are ideal for short individuals who also make high-angle forward strokes.

How do you adjust kayak paddles?

You can adjust the length of your paddles using a kayak paddle extension. This product is available on Amazon, and you can use the steps outlined in this post to properly extend the paddle.

What happens when you use too long of a paddle for kayaking?

Longer kayak paddles than necessary become heavy to lift and difficult to move. Your hands should also be low to fully immerse blades in the water. That can be challenging for tall paddlers.

Final Sentences

Sizing your kayak paddles makes a difference in the paddling experience. Getting it right guarantees your comfort and the boat also becomes more navigable.

Controlling and directing the kayak becomes easy. Fortunately, you can extend your kayak paddle through the DIY steps outlined in this article.

Thank you for staying at Windpaddle and reading this post to the end. We appreciate your time and believe the content is informational. Kindly share it with fellow paddlers to help us reach a larger audience!