How long must the paddle be?
There are almost as many approaches to length of paddles as are experts in the field. A common rule of thumb is to measure your individual paddles’ optimal length by standing on bare feet and get someone to help measure the distance from the floor up to the last joint of the middle finger.
The Inuit Greenlanders who for centuries have product developed paddles by using empirical accumulated knowledge, through observation of other settlement’s kayak equipment, kayakers in transit and probably developed some industrial espionage by sneak peak on foreign civilizations use and design of boat oars from whalers sailing vessels in recent times, just like the Inuits began using mast rings from sailing ships to cockpit rings on the kayak. The ideal length of the paddle is the same as the length from fingertip to fingertip plus the length from fingertip to elbow. Roughly equivalent to a person’s height added the length from fingertip to the elbow. Try to measure…
Then you will probably ask how these measurements can possibly be used, as you does normally do not stand up in a kayak. And what impact has the length of the legs. Not any, but it is a good indication of your body's proportions. There are certain anthropometric/somatometric proportions between the body parts that can be exploited in this way. Often, a person has long arms if he has long legs, etc. I measure 184 cm and often use a paddle at 220 cm.
Also the use of the paddle plays a significant role. If it’s a paddle for touring to be used with a lower cadence, the rule of length mentioned above, is good to use. If it is for a trip on rough seas and strong winds , I prefer to have a shorter Storm paddle with me, at least as safety on the foredeck secured under the deck strings. Likewise, if I'm playing or surfing at the coast I am best of with a short paddle.