How To Choose The Right Stand Up Paddle Board Paddle For You In 5 Simple Steps

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Deciding on the perfect stand up paddle board paddle can be tricky. The right choice hinges on things like your height and the style of paddling you prefer. Our guide will lead you through key points to pinpoint a paddle that feels like it was made just for you.

Dive in for a smooth ride ahead!

Here are the 5 simple steps that we will take you through in this article:

1 – Educate yourself
2 – See What Paddles Are On The Market
3 – Choose A Paddle
4 – Maintain Your Paddle
5 – Get Your Questions Answered

Let’s get into it…

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Factors to Consider When Choosing a Stand Up Paddle Board Paddle

stand up paddle board paddle

Consider the paddle length, materials (carbon fiber, aluminum, plastic), blade size, shape, and offset when choosing a stand up paddle board paddle.

Paddle length

Choosing the perfect paddle length for stand up paddle boarding is crucial to maintain comfort and maximize performance. A good rule of thumb is to select a paddle that stands 4 to 12 inches taller than you are, depending on your specific activities.

For example, racers often go for longer paddles while surfers may opt for something on the shorter end of the spectrum.

Determining the proper length involves considering your height as well as paddling style and what type of water you’ll be navigating through. With whitewater challenges requiring quick, impactful strokes, a slightly shorter paddle can offer greater control.

Conversely, smooth water allows for a longer paddle providing more reach with each stroke which lends itself to better glide across calm surfaces.

Here is a good infographic to find the right paddle board length for you:

Adjustable vs. fixed-length paddles

While paddle length is crucial for performance, deciding between adjustable and fixed-length paddles could make a significant difference in your experience on the water. Adjustable paddles offer flexibility, allowing you to change the length based on different activities or if multiple people use the same paddle.

They are particularly useful for families or beginners who are still discovering their ideal paddle height.

Fixed-length paddles, however, boast a more consistent feel with every stroke since they don’t have adjustable parts that can move or wear out over time. These paddles cater to experienced users who know exactly what size works best for them and value precision in their paddling technique.

Paddlers seeking optimal performance often prefer fixed options due to their lightweight nature and responsiveness in the water.

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Paddle materials (carbon fiber, aluminum, plastic)

Selecting the right material for your SUP paddle can greatly affect your performance and comfort on the water. Each material offers different benefits, from weight to durability, that cater to various paddling styles and preferences.

  • Carbon Fiber: Carbon fiber paddles are top-of-the-line for serious paddlers seeking both lightness and strength. They provide a stiff shaft that allows for powerful strokes and quick acceleration. Despite their higher price tag, they’re favored by racers and experienced surfers due to their responsiveness and reduced fatigue over long distances.
  • Aluminum: Aluminum paddles strike a balance between affordability and functionality. These are heavier than carbon fiber but still offer respectable durability. An aluminum paddle is a solid choice for recreational paddlers or those just starting out in stand up paddle boarding who don’t want to invest heavily yet.
  • Plastic: Paddles with plastic blades are the most economical option available. They tend to be heavier than both carbon fiber and aluminum options, making them less desirable for lengthy trips or intense sessions. However, they can be ideal for casual use, rental fleets, or as a backup paddle due to their rugged nature and resistance to damage.

Blade size, shape, and offset

Consider the blade size, shape, and offset when choosing a stand-up paddle board paddle. The blade size affects the power and speed of your strokes, with larger blades providing more power but requiring more effort to use.

Blade shape also plays a role in stroke efficiency – wider, squared-off blades are best for powerful paddlers and choppy conditions while narrower, elongated blades suit smaller riders or long-distance touring.

Additionally, offset refers to the angle of the blade in relation to the shaft; generally, a 10-15 degree offset allows for efficient forward paddling without causing wrist strain.

When selecting a paddle board paddle, it’s important to understand how different blade sizes and shapes can impact your performance on the water. Being mindful of these factors will help you choose a paddle that suits your paddling style and needs.



Recommended SUP Paddles for 2024

Here are some of my favorite stand up paddle board paddles that you can buy in 2024.

CategoryTop Product
Best Overall PaddleSuper Paddles Elite 12k Bamboo
Best Paddle For BeginnersAbahub Carbon Fiber Paddle
Best Performance PaddleNixy Carbon Fiber Pro
Best Budget PaddleYvleen Aluminium Paddle
Best Paddle For TravellingRedSnake Hydrodynamic Paddle
Great Mid-Range PaddleSereneLife Free-Flow Paddle
Best Quality DesignThurso Carbon Hybrid Paddle

Let’s go into each of these so you can make an educated choice of which to buy.

#1:  Super Paddles Elite 12k Bamboo (Best Overall Paddle)

stand up paddle board paddle

Where To Buy: Amazon

Specs & Features
Length: 72’’ to 86’’ (182cm to 218cm)
Weight: 24 oz (680g)
Shaft: 3 piece adjustable carbon fiber shaft
Blade: 15.5” (39cm) long 8.5” (22cm) width
Blade Angle 5°

PROSCONS

– The paddle delivers outstanding performance.

– Really elegant and stylish design

– Adjusting and locking the paddle length is effortless.

– The paddle is incredibly lightweight, you can hardly feel like you’re holding it.
– A bit more expensive (but definitely worth the price)


Super Paddleboarding, based in California, has created a ground-breaking paddleboard paddle that stands out in the market. Designed for both agility and peak performance, this paddle features a remarkably lightweight design. It combines a sturdy carbon core with a stylish overlay, making it an exceptional choice for paddleboard enthusiasts of any skill level.

This paddle is a standout product, offering both functionality and elegance, and is highly recommended for anyone passionate about paddleboarding.

Check Price ➡️ Amazon

#2:  Abahub Carbon Fiber Paddle (Best Paddle For Beginners)

Where To Buy: Amazon

Specs & Features
Length: 72’’ to 86’’ (182cm to 218cm)
Weight: 24 oz (1kg)
Shaft: 3 piece adjustable carbon fiber shaft
Blade: 15.5” (37.13cm) long 10.7” (22cm) width

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stand up paddle board paddle
PROSCONS

– Simple design that is easy to use

– Made of solid, durable materials

– Good quality considering the price isn’t really high

– Gives some solid power on the water.
– The upper joint is close to the handle which can be frustrating for taller riders

For beginners in paddleboarding, this paddle is an excellent choice. It’s highly suitable as a starter paddle, although it didn’t quite reach a perfect five-star rating due to the placement of its upper joint near the handle, which might cause some wrist discomfort during prolonged use.

However, for paddling sessions shorter than 2 hours, this issue is likely not going to cause much discomfort, making it a dependable option for those just starting out.

Check Price ➡️ Amazon

#3: Nixy Carbon Fiber Pro (Best Performance Paddle)

stand up paddle board paddle

Where To Buy: Amazon

Specs & Features
Length: 72’’ to 86’’ (182cm to 218cm)
Weight: 20.5 oz (581g)
Shaft: 3 piece adjustable carbon fiber shaft
Blade: 15.5” (37.13cm) long 10.7” (22cm) width

PROSCONS

– It is feather light in your hands

– Made of high quality carbon fiber that is strong and sturdy

– You get rapid acceleration with the 9⁰ paddle angle
– This paddle is more advanced and is designed for power instead of stability

This paddleboard paddle is a big hit among the pro paddleboarders around the globe, perfect for everything from marathon paddling to quick sprints. It’s super light, all thanks to its carbon fiber make-up.

Plus, it’s got this tough ABS edge that really lets you put some oomph into your strokes, and a cool latch mechanism that keeps it from twisting around at the joints when you’re paddling.

Check Price ➡️ Amazon

#4: Yvleen Aluminum SUP Paddle (Best Budget Paddle)

Where To Buy: Amazon

Specs & Features
Length: 68’’ to 85’’ (175cm to 215cm)
Weight: 2.13 lb (968g)
Shaft: 4 piece adjustable aluminium alloy shaft
Blade: 15.5” (39cm) long 8.5” (22cm) width
Blade Angle 5°

PROSCONS

– Really great price for what you get

– It floats in the water which is really important so you don’t lose it.

– Adjusting and locking the paddle length is effortless and the latches work well.
– Lower quality material because of the lower price point.

– Heavier than carbon fiber paddles

The YVLEEN SUP Paddle Board Paddle is an excellent choice for budget-conscious paddlers. Its combination of affordability and quality features makes it stand out. Despite its lower price point, it doesn’t compromise on essential aspects like durability and functionality.

The paddle’s lightweight aluminum construction, adjustable length, and ergonomic T-handle provide the efficiency and comfort usually found in more expensive models. The inclusion of two robust PP + fiberglass blades, suitable for both salt and fresh water, adds to its value.

This paddle is a practical option for those looking for a reliable paddle without a hefty price tag, making it a great budget pick for both beginners and seasoned paddleboarders.

Check Price ➡️ Amazon

#5: RedSnake Hydrodynamic Paddle (Best For Travelling)

stand up paddle board paddle

Where To Buy: Amazon

Specs & Features
Length: 72’’ to 86’’ (182cm to 218cm)
Weight: 24 oz (1kg)
Shaft: 3 piece adjustable carbon fiber shaft
Blade: 15.5” (37.13cm) long 10.7” (22cm) width

PROSCONS

– The handle is designed to be gentle on your wrist

– It delivers a strong and powerful performance

– Adjusting and locking the length is straightforward

– It doesn’t twist during paddling.
– The handle gets a bit slippery when wet (carbon fiber)

I’m really impressed with this paddle! It’s super versatile and impressively powerful. Made of carbon fiber, it’s incredibly lightweight yet durable, and it easily compacts for travel. What really sets it apart for me is the ergonomic handle, which is super comfortable for the wrists.

If you’re looking for a new paddleboard paddle, this one should definitely be on your list – it ranked second in my tests.

See also  12 Best Places To Paddleboard In Phoenix (w/prices)
Check Price ➡️ Amazon

#6: SereneLife Free-Flow Paddle (Great Mid-Range Paddle)

Where To Buy: Amazon

Specs & Features
Length: 72’’ to 86’’ (182cm to 218cm)
Weight: 18 oz (0.502 kg)
Shaft: 3 piece adjustable carbon fiber shaft
Blade: 15.5” (37.13cm) long 10.7” (22cm) width

PROSCONS

– Straightforward in design

– It looks really nice on the water

– It’s reasonably priced for a carbon fiber paddle

– The paddle is made of long-lasting materials so if you treat it well then it will last for a long time
– Heavier than other paddles

– Has a little less power than I wanted

This SUP paddle is decently average, and that’s perfectly fine! It’s a great choice for casual paddling. The blade offers a good mix of strength and stability, and its adjustable nature allows it to suit your height just right.

Although it’s not the most heavy-duty option available, its reasonable cost definitely compensates for that.

Check Price ➡️ Amazon

#7:  Thurso Carbon Hybrid Paddle (Best Quality Design)

stand up paddle board paddle

Where To Buy: Amazon

Specs & Features:
Length: 71’’ to 87’’ (182cm to 218cm)
Weight: 31 oz (0.877 kg)
Shaft: 3 piece adjustable carbon fiber shaft
Blade: 15.5” (37.13cm) long 10.7” (22cm) width
Blade Angle: 10°

PROSCONS

– Really to look at with its sophisticated design

– It’s stiff and has minimal bend in the water

– Carries a lot of paddle power

– Easy to assemble and use
– Heavier than the full carbon options

This paddle really made me feel like I was surfing. Whether that’s the intended effect or not, it delivers. The slightly heavier weight adds power to each stroke. Made from a combination of carbon fiber and nylon, it offers both sturdiness and durability.

Additionally, the 10-degree dihedral angle of the design provides excellent momentum with each action.

Check Price ➡️ Amazon


Tips for Choosing the Right SUP Paddle

Selecting an ideal paddle for your stand-up paddleboard (SUP) is crucial for an enjoyable experience on the water.

Here are some expert recommendations to help you make the best choice:

Paddle Material: Carbon fiber paddles are highly recommended for their combination of light weight and durability. They provide excellent performance and are particularly effective in reducing fatigue during extended paddling sessions.

Paddle Length: Choosing the correct length is vital. While many SUP paddles offer adjustability, it’s important to select a length that matches your height and paddling style.

Blade Size and Shape: The blade’s size and shape significantly influence your paddling experience. Larger blades are great for racing or navigating strong currents due to their increased power output, whereas smaller blades are more suited for leisurely activities like cruising or surfing.

Handle Design: The design of the handle can affect comfort and control. Options range from ergonomic grips, which offer enhanced comfort and control, to simpler, lightweight designs.

Brand Research: Investigate reputable brands like Thurso or Super, known for their high-quality SUP paddles. Consider expert reviews to gain insights into the paddles’ performance and durability.

Here is a great video that you can use to choose the correct paddle for you:

Incorporating these expert tips into your decision-making process will not only improve your paddleboarding experience but also ensure you get the most enjoyment while out on the water



How To Maintain a Stand Up Paddle Board Paddle

Proper maintenance of your paddle is key to preserving its condition and enhancing its performance.

Here are essential maintenance tips:

  1. Rinsing Post-Use: After every outing, rinse your paddle with fresh water. This step is crucial for removing saltwater or debris, which can damage the paddle over time.

  2. Temperature Exposure: Be mindful of extreme temperatures. Exposure to high or low temperatures can harm the materials of your paddle, impacting its performance.

  3. Storage: Store your paddle in a location that is cool and dry, and shield it from direct sunlight and moisture. This precaution helps prevent warping or cracking.

  4. Regular Inspections: Frequently check your paddle for signs of wear, like cracks, chips, or loose elements. Address any issues promptly by repairing or replacing damaged parts.

  5. Lubrication of Adjustable Mechanisms: If your paddle has an adjustable feature, apply a silicone-based lubricant periodically. This care helps maintain smooth operation and wards off rust.

  6. Handling Care: Avoid dragging the paddle on rough surfaces or using it to push off from the ground, as these actions can lead to scratches or dents on the blade.

  7. Protective Cover: Consider using a protective cover for your paddle, especially during transport or storage, to avoid accidental damage.

Conclusion

Ultimately, choosing the perfect stand-up paddle board paddle involves considering factors like your height, paddling style, and where you’ll be using it. Trying out different paddles before purchasing is a great way to find what feels right for you.

Take advantage of REI’s member rewards program to make the most of your purchase and remember to properly maintain your SUP paddle for longevity.

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Stand Up Paddle Board Paddle FAQs

What length paddle should I choose for stand up paddle boarding?

Choose a paddle length that is approximately 8-10 inches taller than your height for optimal performance and comfort.

How do I know which paddle blade size is best for me?

Consider your paddling style and strength. A larger blade provides more power but requires more effort, while a smaller blade is easier to maneuver but generates less thrust.

Should I prioritize weight or material when choosing a stand up paddle board paddle?

It’s essential to find a balance between weight and durability. Lightweight materials like carbon fiber are ideal for longer sessions, while fiberglass offers a good compromise between weight and cost.

Is it necessary to have an adjustable shaft on my stand up paddle board paddle?

Having an adjustable shaft allows you to customize the length based on different water conditions and activities, providing versatility in one paddle.

What grip type should I look for in a stand up paddle board paddle handle?

Choose a grip type that feels comfortable in your hand and minimizes fatigue during extended paddling sessions, such as ergonomic palm grips or T-grips with contouring.


stand up paddle board paddle
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Jason Watson

My initial goal was to document my paddleboarding experiences with friends and family, but that has evolved into a commitment to share this sport with as many people as possible because of the health benefits & peace of mind it has given me. This sport is not only a great way to see the world, but it also helps us come closer to ourselves. Information gives us strength!


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