Selecting a SUP paddle can be an easy decision if cost is the only deciding factor, but choosing a paddle that best balances the trade-offs is the key.
FIxed Paddles - The best performance and weight - cut and glued to desired paddlers height
2 piece paddles - Adjustable so can accommodate different paddlers heights
3 piece paddles - Ideal for the inflatable board as it packs into the bag and can accommodate different paddlers heights
Paddles for SUP are relatively basic, they have three parts:
The shaft is the most important part of the paddle, it can be made of Aluminium, Glass fibre, Carbon and sometimes Kevlar. The difference the material makes is quite dramatic, the most common material is Carbon which characteristic provides the paddle with stiffness and memory. Glass fibre is the cheaper more budget material used which usually bends more making a paddle softer in the paddle stroke.
Aluminium paddle shafts will be rigid to an extent but can be heavy and eventually bend or snap in two.
The blade works by catching water against its surface as the paddle enters the water, paddlers then pull through the water (power phase )and then recover the blade for the next stroke.
Stand up Paddle Blade sizes can vary massively from large to small, a large blade will displace more water in the paddle stroke and offer more power on demand (low cadence) but in the hands of a beginner paddler may disable him/her with shoulder pain for days.
As a rule of thumb smaller blades (high cadence) are generally preferred in the surf and are gentler for all users, ladies especially.
Larger blades are used more in distance or downwind paddling so larger stronger paddlers sometimes use bigger paddles but this is not the rule
Paddle Blades are measured in Square inches - see the below for reference
The handles for SUP paddles can be different but most are ergonomically designed to fit the palm of the hand, some have a more 'T bar' look and others are more ergonomically rounded in shape.
HEIGHT of your Paddle
Using the correct stand up paddle length/height for the type of paddling you decide to do will help you maximize your performance and enjoyment on the water.
Surf SUP paddles are usually at least 6 inches above the paddlers height but this can go down to the exact height of the paddler for the best performance in waves, due to lower stance taken in surfing.
Touring/ Racing and Fitness paddles are usually 7 inches and above the paddlers height for improved reach and power in each paddle stroke, depending on height of standing area from the water's surface.
Distance / Racing sups sometimes have recessed decks lowering the paddlers distance from the water- therefore the above is a general rule.
All of the SUP paddles sold by us here at 'The SUP Hut' come uncut , you can cut and glue them at home to your desired height for use or use our SUP paddle Cut & Glue service.
SIZING AND CUTTING
We offer a cut & glue service if you want us to get your fixed paddle ready for you , saving you time , meaning as soon as your paddle arrives you can get out on the water and paddling.
If you prefer to cut and glue your own paddle you can use epoxy resin (Araldite) to glue the handle to the shaft or modellers hot glue (usually from a hot glue gun ) this will mean you can re-heat the glue joint at a later stage if you feel you've gone too long and want to remove the handle and re-cut the shaft.
The type of material the shaft and blade is made of will usually reflect the price. Cheaper paddles will do the job , but it's like trying to play tennis with a wooden tennis racket , it will do the job , but you'll want a composite or carbon racket to play a proper shot , with this in mind try and stretch your budget it will make all the difference in your stand up paddling experience.
We hope you've found this information useful and look forward to hearing from you with any questions about the range of paddles we have on offer.