- Paddle Materials
- Paddle Length
- Blade Size, Shape and Offset
A paddle is an essential tool for any paddle boarder. A good paddle can make your experience a lot more fun. So, is the most expensive paddle the best? Not necessarily, price is only one of the factors in choosing a suitable paddle, there are also the following factors to consider.
This is one of the most important factors to consider when selecting a paddle. The reason for this is that the material used to make it determines the weight of the paddle. In just two hours of paddling, if the paddle is very heavy, then you will soon be exhausted. This is why many experienced paddlers choose lighter paddles.
In addition, the material of the paddle will also determine how stiff it is. A stiff paddle will transmit the power of your paddling more effectively.
The current paddle production materials include the following five main types.
Paddles made from wood are beautiful, however, they can be heavier and more expensive than paddles made from other materials. In addition, wood paddles require extra maintenance to maintain varnish and prevent decay, so they are not as good in performance as other materials.
For adults, plastic paddles are not strong enough. It is also a material that is susceptible to sunburn and deformation under repetitive stress. Therefore, plastic paddles are commonly used for entry-level paddles and children's paddles.
Nylon is a special type of plastic known as polyamide. Unlike lighter and faster fiberglass or carbon, nylon paddles can take a pounding. They can resist scratches.
Aluminum paddles are often used for the shaft of the paddle and are reasonably priced and affordable for most people. While it is not as stiff as fiberglass or carbon fiber, it is lighter than wood and is often paired with plastic paddles. Many beginners tend to choose aluminum paddles.
Compared to plastic, nylon and aluminum, this material is lighter in weight and stiffer, making it effective in transmitting the power of your paddle. Of course, fiberglass will also be more expensive compared to more expensive, but more affordable than the stiffer carbon fiber. Therefore, fiberglass is a good choice to reduce fatigue.
It is by far the lightest and hardest material available, and usually the most expensive. It is a great choice for people who often paddle long distances for long periods of time. Whether you use a carbon hybrid or a full carbon paddle, you will experience less fatigue and be able to paddle faster and farther with a carbon paddle.
- Paddle Length
The length of the paddle is determined by the height of different people. Paddles that are too long or too short are not paddle friendly. So how to choose the right length SUP paddle?
Generally speaking, when choosing a paddle, the length of the paddle should be 8 to 12 inches longer than your height. If you have the condition, you can stand up with the paddle directly to compare with your own height. Different bodies of the same height will have different hand lengths, etc., so you can get the right paddle more accurately and quickly. Specific approach is: Stand the paddle up vertically so the tear-drop-shaped blade is touching the ground. Reach an arm up above your head and notice where it lands on the paddle. With a properly sized paddle, the T-grip handle will rest in the bend of your wrist.
Nowadays, there are fixed length paddles and adjustable paddles on the market.
Adjustable length paddles make it easy to find the right length for you, and you can fine-tune the length for surfing, touring or racing. Another benefit is that you can share your paddle with friends and family of different heights.
Fixed-length paddles. Non-adjustable fixed length paddles tend to be lighter and stiffer. Before buying a fixed length paddle, try a few different lengths to really figure out what you like.
The handle of the paddle is where you make direct contact with your hand, so it's important that it feels good to the touch. But many paddles are made of plastic, and many have rough edges. The best but also the most expensive option is the carbon handle. Some carbon grips are molded together with the shaft of the paddle to form a seamless section. Such paddles are usually more durable than those with glue joints, which may come loose at some point in their life.
In addition to the material of the handle, its different design can also affect the paddling experience.
SUP paddle handles either have an ergonomically design to fit the palm of your hand or a straighter ‘T bar' feel. The ergonomic handle design is more popular, but some people do prefer the traditional 'T bar' grip.
- Blade Size, Shape and Offset
The paddle shaft is considered to be the most important part of the paddle . It supports the front and rear ends.
There are no hard and fast rules to determine what size paddle you need. If you really don't have an idea, you can make your selection based on the following suggestions.
Small/Medium body type (less than 150 lbs.). 80-90 sq. in.
Medium/Large body type (150-200 lbs.). 90-100 sq. in.
Large/X-large body type (over 200 lbs.). 100-120 sq. in.
Things to know beyond that. Bigger blades are more powerful. A large paddle can move a lot of water, which allows you to take powerful strokes and bring your board up to speed quickly. Smaller paddles are more efficient. Smaller paddles move less water per paddle, but pull the paddle through the water more easily than larger paddles, which means you use less force per paddle.
The shape of the paddle can affect the way the paddle moves through the water and the force of the paddle.
Teardrop shape. This shape is widest at the bottom, which means that when you put the paddle in the water, you immediately use most of the surface area of the paddle to push the water. Sometimes preferred by surfers and paddlers who prefer a slower, more powerful stroke.
Rectangular. A rectangular paddle has a narrower bottom than a teardrop-shaped paddle, which means less surface area in contact with the water when you dip the paddle into the water. Ideal for gentle as well as high cadence paddling.
Blade Offset Angle
The angle here is the degree to which the paddle blade is tilted forward from the shaft. The size of this angle affects the amount of power available at each stroke. But if you're not a professional athlete, you don't need to get too hung up on this point. Here are some suggestions.
When surfing: about 7 degrees
For all-around paddling/mixed use: about 10 degrees
For SUP racing: about 12 degrees
In general, a good paddle needs to have these characteristics: light weight, high stiffness, easy storage, etc. Of course, everything should be considered according to your actual situation.