What do you need to know when purchasing a paddle? The first impression of beginners is that a paddle is just a paddle, but this is not the case.
What determines the choice of a paddle?
Your goal; are you going on the waves, racing or just paddling?
The material of the SUP paddle. There is somewhat a difference between a carbon paddle and an aluminium paddle.
The weight of the paddle.
The blade of the paddle is very important. Shape, size and angle determine the qualities considerably.
The paddle shaft. Aside from varying materials and shapes you can chose for an adjustable version.
SUP in the waves: the SUP paddle that you need for waves is shorter than a race paddle and has a larger blade. With a larger blade you’re able to make good speed within a couple of digs to get a good start on a wave.
An SUP paddle for racing in small because racing is done with a high paddle frequency.
What is the best material choice?
The material the paddle is made of determines a great deal of it’s qualities. Carbon SUP paddles are very light and give an extra rebound with a dig. Ultimately these are the most efficient paddles but also the most expensive. As well as carbon there are alternatives such as fiberglass, aluminium or a combination of materials.
How do you decide the length of the SUP paddle?
To determine the length of paddle you need is relatively simple. For SUP in waves you take the bodyweight + 20cm, for allround SUP bodyweight + 23cm and for SUP racing bodyweight + 26cm. When you’re going to cut a paddle to length, make sure you are generous with your measurements and then test the paddle so that you can easily cut more off to make an adjustment. While testing you can fasten your handles with tape and then when you’re satisfied you can glue them.
Which blade size do you need?
Your physical ability determines your choice a great deal. A light person or a woman would need a smaller blade to SUP than the big strong guys. It’s handy to know that in all cases SUPing with a large blade can be a problem. As well as lactic acid build up in your muscles there is a greater risk of injury.
A blade size of 525mm is a reasonably common size for a blade. If you’re big and strong you can use a 550mm blade. Often women use a 475mm blade. In the waves a 575mm blade is often used.