The right Stand Up Paddle for you
There are as many paddles as there are SUP enthusiasts because paddles can literally be made-to-measure. And because almost every manufacturer says their paddles are the lightest or the strongest, we have done extensive research, testing everything from the top of the range carbon fibre paddles to the most economical on the market, to ensure we know how to guide you in the right direction.
And we must say, the job of extensive research on the stand up paddle in its natural habitat is a pretty amazing job to have!
So, if you come to Stand Up Paddle Gear with price alone in mind, your decision may seem simple but we’d love to talk with you about how you can balance the trade-offs to get the very best paddle for your needs, at the price you want.
We have narrowed our stock down to the best value carbon fibre stand up paddles and economy SUP paddles available, whether they are made from alloy, fibreglass or carbon, and whether they are fixed-length paddles, custom paddles we cut to size, or adjustable paddles for multiple uses.
The Business of Blades
Every paddle has a blade. Simple – right? Well, not so much.
Blade size varies from large (8 – 9 inches at the widest point) for maximum speed (low cadence) to small (7 – 8 inches) which are better in the surf (high cadence).
Large blades displace more water and offer power-on-demand. However, if you are not used to them or lack the upper body strength to use them properly they can cause discomfort in the shoulder. They are used in long distance and downwind paddling. Smaller blades are gentler for all users and especially good for kids, wave surfing and for women who may not have powerful shoulders. These are just general rules, however, because the multiple designs available in paddle blades allow every paddler to find the size and shape that works best for their needs.
Many of our suppliers offer a catalogue to help match paddles with the requirements of each enthusiast.Because the edges of most paddles are thin, they can be damaged by knocks and hits from rocks etc. Care should be taken to protect edges – especially of the more expensive carbon paddles – with edge guards.
The long and short of the shaft
The shaft is the most important part of the paddle; it can be made of Aluminium, Fibreglass, Carbon and sometimes Kevlar.
Surf SUP paddles usually stand 3-5 inches taller than the paddler, but can be the exact height of the paddler for the best performance in waves. Touring, Racing and Fitness paddles are usually 4- 6 inches above the paddler’s height for improved reach and power in each stroke. These shaft lengths, however, are only a guide and we suggest a proper paddle ‘fitting’ because what works for one person’s physique may be cause discomfort or injury in another.
But length is not the only choice when it comes to paddles.
Next there’s material:
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.