Magooch is right: it finally comes down to what works for each individual. Regarding paddle length, I use my 220-cm Swifts with both my 22-inch beam wooden kayak and my 26-inch (or is it 27-inch?) beam Dirigo, the White Whale. Works just fine with each. However, when I'm making a long crossing in uncertain conditions, or can otherwise see that I've got to get through a patch of dicey water, I have a 20-cm shaft extension that I can insert in the middle of the shaft to yield a 240-cm paddle. Might be all psychological, but it enables me to paddle with a greater degree of security.