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Choosing a paddle is largely a matter of personal preference. There are many sizes, shapes and materials available. If possible, try a number of different paddles and choose the one that feels best.

Whitewater kayak paddles range from 194 cm to about 208 cm in length. If you are just about 5 feet tall or a bit over, use a paddle in the lower range; naturally, taller people will want a longer paddle. Given variations in torso length, arm length and boat width, it's a good idea to test different paddle lengths to determine your own personal preference.

Keep in mind, a paddle is an extremely important piece of gear that can make or break the pleasure of a full day on the water. Take the time to decide what works best for you.