Three Things to Consider Before Buying a Stand-up Paddleboard Paddle

A well-fitted paddle can make your day on the water more fun and enjoyable.

Woman using a standup paddleboard.
Paddleboard paddles come in dozens of lengths and blade designs so be sure to select one that’s fitted for your body and experience level.Holly Mandarich

Because the best SUP paddles can be more expensive than the board itself, it pays to make smart choices when you’re trying to purchase the best one for you. A lot depends on your experience and ability level, as well as the type of boarding you most enjoy. Paddlers using SUPs in more technical settings like surfing and whitewater should use a slightly shorter, high-performance paddle, while long-distance paddlers will do better with a longer, lighter paddle that has a small, offset blade for paddling efficiency. Here’s more information to help you settle on the right design for your paddling style.

Carbon Fiber SUP Paddle - 3-Piece Adjustable Stand Up Paddleboard Paddles - Carbon Fiber Series
This model extends from 72- to 86-inches long.Super Paddles

A general guideline for determining paddle length is to get one eight inches longer than your height. That said, if you do a lot of whitewater or surfing on your SUP, you might want to get a shorter shaft because you’ll be paddling from a crouched position. An adjustable length paddle is a great balance if your length needs vary, you’re sharing the paddle with others, or you need to break the paddle down for storage or transport. Keep in mind that adjustable length paddles are often heavier than fixed-length models and tend to be less durable.

Abahub Carbon Fiber SUP Paddle 3-Piece Adjustable Stand Up Paddle Carbon Shaft & Black/Blue/Yellow
This model comes with a premium storage bag.Abahub

When it comes to paddle weight, carbon and fiberglass are the lightest and most expensive materials, whereas aluminum and plastic are heavier, but often costs less. Wood paddles can be fun to use, but wood doesn’t offer any real performance characteristics compared to high-end carbon fiber paddles of similar cost.

Alloy SUP Paddle - 3 Piece Adjustable Stand Up Paddle Board Paddles - Floating Paddleboard Paddle with Aluminum Shaft & Nylon Blade - Adventurer Paddleboarding Series
This model is easy to modify to various lengths.SUP Supply

SUP paddle blades come in different sizes, shapes, and offsets. Novices often prefer a large blade since it offers greater stability and is more efficient, quicker in the water, and easier on the body, especially for paddling long stretches. Offset blades are angled between seven and 15 degrees from center and are good for greater efficiency in the hands of experienced paddlers.

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