SUP Paddle Buying Guide
HOW TO CHOOSE A SUP PADDLE
This SUP paddle buying guide is designed to take some of the mystery out of buying a paddle and give you some simple, honest advice on choosing the right paddle for you. Most paddle boards come with a paddle included, and these are ofetn the first thing you’ll want to upgrade.
Just like choosing a paddle board, choosing the right paddle upgrade can be confusing, there’s so many to choose from! There are lots of different types of paddles, differnt sizes, shapes and materials. SUP boards available, and so many different brands.
We only work with brand partners that we believe in, and only stock paddles that we are happy to use ourselves. All of the paddles we sell you’ll see us using for our SUP lessons and SUP Club sessions. Our SUP Club members use a wide variety of paddles, and they are more than happy to let you try them for yourself!
How to Choose the Best SUP Paddle for You
There are 3 common types of SUP paddle. They are 1 piece fixed paddles, 2 piece adjustable paddles and 3 piece adjustable paddles. Some manufacturers are now producing 4 or 5 piece travel paddles for their Compact SUP Boards.
All paddles used for stand up paddle boarding consist of three main parts:
SUP paddle handles are designed to fit neatly and comfortable in the the palm of your hand. The handle pictured above is the most popular design of paddle handle and the one you’ll see on most paddles for sale. The other type of handle you might see is the straighter T bar shaped grip. These are more popular with surf and race paddles as they can give more fine control of the paddle.
The shaft of the paddle is a key element of the design, and could be considered the most important part of the paddle as it takes the majority of the force whilst paddling. Paddles shafts come in different diameters and shapes. Most shafts are round, but some race paddles have an oval shaft.
The materials used for making them differ from the basic aluminium construction to glass fibre and high quality carbon fibre. The materials used have an impact on price, with carbon paddles being more expensive. What your paddle is made of also has a big impacton its performance.
The blade of you SUP paddle is also a really important part of the design. It is the part that goes in the water and propels you forward afterall! Blade sizes vary from very small blades to very large. Blade sizes in general have reduced in recent years as designs have improved the efficiency of paddle performance.
A smaller paddle blade will suit most beginner paddlers as it’s easier with it’s smaller surface area and is less likely to cause elbow and shoulder pain. Larger blades have more surface area and so they displace more water with each paddle stroke. This gives you increased power and speed.
Paddles with a smaller blade are better suited to smaller and lighter paddlers, and those wanting to paddle casually. Large blades are more common for larger and heavier paddlers, and people looking for maximum power and speed, such as in SUP Racing.