SUP Paddle Buying Guide
Types Of Paddles
There are two different options for SUP paddles, adjustable or fixed length and several different construction options as well. Advanced paddlers will focus on specifics such as; angle of blade, blade size, blade shape and more advanced shaft shapes.
*It is ideal for beginner paddlers to start with a straight shaft paddle, that is adjustable.
You can purchase two and three piece adjustable paddles. Two piece adjustable paddles are great for a number of people and a variety of conditions. They can be lengthened or shortened based on the needs of the paddler, for this reason they are the most versatile style of paddle. Adjustable paddles tend to be heavier than fixed paddles. Three piece adjustable paddles tend to be best for travel, as you can break them down into three pieces. The longest shaft tube is usually 34-36in. Most three piece paddles have a double or single spring that helps lock the pieces into place.
Fixed paddles come in a standard length with a separate handle. The shaft is cut to the ideal size for the paddler and the handle is then bonded to the shaft with epoxy. Fixed paddles are very lightweight.
* Once you know what length works best for you, fixed paddles are a great option.
There are two different styles to choose from for a handle, an ergonomic design that fits the palm of the paddlers hand or a straighter “T-BAR” feel. Ergonomic handle designs are more popular but some do prefer a traditional grip, such as the “T-BAR”.
This is the most important part of the paddle, and the material of the shaft makes a big difference in the performance ability of the paddle.
Carbon: most common material used, gives the paddle with stiffness and memory, lightweight
Glass Fibre: budget material, bends more thus making the paddle softer in stroke.
Aluminum: rigid material, can be heavy
Kevlar: high impact resistance, is similar in performance to carbon
SUP blades come in a number of sizes ranging from small to large. A larger blade will allow for more water displacement in the paddle stroke, and offer more power immediately. Bigger blades are not recommended for beginners.
*Note that smaller blades are better for surf and more gentile for all users, especially female paddlers. Larger blades are typically used for distance and downwind paddling.
Depending on what type of paddling you prefer, it’s important to have the correct paddle length/height for its intended use. This will help make your paddling experience more enjoyable and enhance performance.
Surf paddles usually range from 6in-8in above the paddler's height, due to the stance taken in surfing.
All Around/Touring Paddles
All-around/Touring paddles usually range from 8in-10in above the paddler’s height, this will help to improve the power and reach in each stroke taken.
Racing paddles usually range from 10in-12in above the paddler's height, this will allow the racer maximum power and reach in each stroke to increase speed.
*If you decide you want to both surf and flatwater paddle, you can either buy two different fixed blade paddles or an adjustable paddle because of its versatility.