SUP Paddle Guide

Depending on your SUP ability, using the correct paddle can really enhance the SUP experience.

The best stand up paddle will be light enough for you to use all day and strong enough to handle any conditions.

It should be comfortable and the correct length for you to enjoy your time on the water.

Choosing the correct paddle will also help you from any injuries as well as giving you maximum comfort and efficiency.

Keeping fatigue to a minimum starts with choosing the correct paddle for your activities.

frequently asked questions

 
What length paddle do I need?

Stand the adjustable paddle up in front of you and adjust it so your wrist with arm raised is just resting on the top of the paddle.

  • Surf SUP - adjust your paddle height to be between 6-8" inches for a low stance position.
  • All-round SUP - adjust your paddle height to be between 8-10" inches for reach and power with each stroke.
  • Race SUP - adjust your paddle height to be between 10-12" inches for maximum reach through the water on each stroke.

The fine tuning of an adjustable paddle length to suit you and the type of paddling you aspire to do is ideal.

With an adjustable paddle you can share with friends and family so buying an adjustable paddle makes sense.

With a fixed length paddle you’re looking for a paddle that’s around 8”/20cm taller than your own height, you can shorten this length if you’re surfing in a more crouched stance or if trying to avoid windage.

 
Why are paddles made in different materials?

Generally lighter is better providing it’s stiff and strong enough for its use.

Lighter materials take load off the user and paddle stiffness transfers’ effort and power more effectively.

Plastic, Aluminium, Fibre Glass and Carbon are common options, ABS plastic being the most economical and carbon costing much more. Mixing the materials (Composite) not only brings the price down and but can also offer a better suited flex for most paddlers.

Fibreglass is used in blades and shafts and are stiffer than aluminium but not as stiff as carbon.

Their lower weight decreases any negative inertia effects.

Carbon has the lowest weight and thus easier for distance and speed work.

Carbon is rigid and with the superior specification coming with a higher price point.

Wood paddles are normally made from cedar, cherry, walnut and bamboo can be works of art.

They are often reinforced with fibreglass and have a distinctive flexibility and shock absorbing characteristics .

Prolonged paddling sessions can tire body muscles and even create injury and stiffer paddles can accentuate this. Really stiff shafts provide a harder, direct feel. If you are particularly tall stiffness in a longer shaft will be beneficial.

Thicker Boards are generally more rigid and rigidity is important so for a thin inflatable board to remain rigid its pressure has to be higher.

More flex is easier on the body so if you expect to be out touring for long distances or you are a lighter weight person, go with a more flexible option.

 
How important is the Blade?

The blade has a big effect on a paddle.

The size, shape and offset influence how it performs. The blade is usually measured in area (square inches).

The blades size should match your weight and the type of paddling you aim to do.

On a scale of weight from 70kg to 100kg+, start by selecting on a blade size with a surface area of 80”-130”respectively.

Adjust this decision depending on whether you wish to prioritize power over speed. For power, go a little higher and for speed or gentler easier paddling, go lower.

 
Why are there different shaped blades?

Blade shapes appear to vary a lot but they fall into two main categories, tear drop and rectangular.

Even with blade area being equal the tear drop shaped blades are wider at the bottom and produce a more powerful stroke and good for surf and flat water.

Other blade differences include curves both in the tips and sides of the blade directing and increasing water flow speeds.

Dihedrals on the power side of the blade reduces the paddle from trying to flutter through the water as water attempts to flow off the sides of the blade.

Additionally concave pockets/scoops can be incorporated to create more efficient catches.

 
Why are the blades angled?

Straight away you’ll noticed the blade angle to the shaft isn’t straight it’s angled forward to the shaft.

The angle varies from around 6 degrees and 12 degrees or more.

  • 6 degrees best suited for surf SUP activities.
  • 10 degrees is best suited for all-round / touring SUP.
  • 12 degrees best suited for racing.

The angle allows you to keep the blade vertical for longer and start your stroke further away offering longer more powerful paddling and also releases water better at the end of your stroke.

You can also use the back face of the paddle for stability.

 

SUP PADDLE HEIGHT GUIDE

Taking into account the aspect of SUP style, adjust it's height for the optimum reach and power with each stroke.

Paddle Height Guide
Rider Height (Ft / Cm)
Paddle Height (Inches / Cm)
5'0 / 152.4
67" / 170.0
5'1 / 154.9
68" / 172.7
5'2 / 157.4
69" / 175.2
5'3 / 160.0
70" / 177.8
5'4 / 162.5
71" / 180.3
5'5 / 165.1
72" / 182.8
5'6 / 167.6
73" / 185.4
5'7 / 170.1
74" / 187.9
5'8 / 172.7
75" / 190.0
5'9 / 175.2
76" / 193.0
5'10 / 177.8
77" / 195.5
5'11 / 180.0
78" / 198.1
6'0 / 182.8
79" / 200.6
6'1 / 185.4
80" / 203.2
6'2 / 187.9
81" / 205.7
6'3 / 190.0
82" / 208.8
6'4 / 193.0
83" / 210.8
6'5 / 195.5
84" / 213.3
6'6 / 198.1
85" / 215.9
6'7 / 200.6
86" / 218.4
6'8 / 203.2
87" / 220.9
6'9 / 205.7
88" / 223.5
6'10 / 208.2
89" / 226.06
6'11 / 210.8
90" / 228.6
7'0 / 213.3
91" / 205.7
 

* Surf SUP - adjust your paddle height to be between 6-8" inches for a low stance position.
* All-round SUP - adjust your paddle height to be between 8-10" inches for reach and power with each stroke.
* Race SUP - adjust your paddle height to be between 10-12" inches for maximum reach through the water on each stroke.

 

SUP PADDLE VOLUME GUIDE

Take into account the aspect of SUP you would like to enter and choose your paddle's surface area accordingly.

  Weight (Stone / Kg)
Surface
Area (sq in)
11st / 69kg 12st / 76kg 13st / 80kg 14st / 90kg
72        
80        
88        
96        
104        
112        
*For speed or gentler strokes
*For all-round use
*Looking for power or prefer to paddle slower
*For use as a guide only

 

  Weight (Stone / Kg)
Surface
Area (sq in)
15st / 95kg 16st / 100kg 17st / 105kg 18st / 100kg
112        
120        
128        
136        
142        
150        
*For speed or gentler strokes
*For all-round use
*Looking for power or prefer to paddle slower
*For use as a guide only
 

SUP PADDLE TECHNIQUE

Learn the basics of SUP Paddling, or simply brush up on your paddling techniques, these videos will help you improve your skills.

PADDLE BASICS:SUP is great for paddling in a straight line can be challenging in your first few sessions.

Check out the key points you need to think about to get you paddling straight in no time at all.

PADDLING INTO THE WIND:Paddling into the wind is never easy! But the chances are you will have to do some upwind paddling during your session, so it's worth perfecting your upwind paddling technique. To make your paddling into the wind easier, faster and even enjoyable, there are a few things you can do.

 
PADDLE SWIM:If you ever snapped a leash or become detached from your board, then you'll know that swimming with a paddle is not easy.

The paddle swim is a great technique to allow you to swim efficiently, whilst still keeping hold of your paddle.

Common Mistakes:There are a few common paddle mistakes made by beginners which make their paddling unstable and inefficient.

Once you've master the correct use of the paddle your paddling will be easier and more enjoyable too, allowing you to paddle further with less effort.

 
 

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