Video How To: Choosing The Right SUP Paddle
Having trouble deciding which SUP paddle is right for you? Nolan from the Next Adventure Paddle Sports Center explains just about everything you need to know when shopping for a paddle.
Hi, I'm Nolan here at the Next Adventure Paddle Sports Center. We’re going to talk about SUP paddles for stand-up paddle boarding. Mainly, we will talk about the differences between paddles.
There are primarily three different materials that you're going to see across the board with paddles. On one end, you have plastic or nylon that gives you a less expensive paddle while still performing decently. They don't have quite the same rigidity or durability as fiberglass which is the next step up, and then at the top of the line, you've got your carbon paddles.
These materials can be utilized in the shaft, the blade, or both – as with a full carbon paddle. Here we've got a carbon blend shaft on both of these paddles, with either a nylon blade or a fiberglass blade. If we're looking at the nylon blade, we get a medium amount of flex. And then, just to show you the difference, we can look at the carbon blades - much less flex. Similar with the fiberglass, its flex is somewhere in between the other two.
The amount of flex provided is important. If it's stiff then you're getting more effective power, you're not losing any as it flexes through the water. If it's super stiff, over time during a long day using a lot of power strokes, what you might notice is a little bit more fatigue. If you have some flex, it lets more of the water shed away. This causes you to lose some of that effect effective power, but it's still easier on the wrists.
Let’s talk about some features you'll find these paddles. Some of the SUP paddles have a lever lock system, like here, that allows you to adjust paddle length. It’s super quick & super easy, but any sort of adjustment feature is going to add a little bit of weight. More experienced paddlers will have one cut to length, with just the t-grip on there and no adjustments. This can save a lot of weight. The other type you'll see on lots of kayak paddles and SUP paddles is the push button adjustment system. This is different from the lever lock in that you have drilled holes, but it does save a little bit of weight from not having all that cable in the shaft.
When you're looking at blade shape with these guys, you have what's called the dihedral. You've got two planes on the dihedral, versus the flat plane on this carbon blade. What this does is act as a way for the water to shed off the paddle when the stroke goes through the water. So, with the dihedral shape, when you're pushing through the water, it allows water to shed off in both directions allowing an easier gentler stroke. If you're looking at the flat blade, you have a bit of the dihedral up at the top while the rest is mostly flat. This flat shape doesn't let any water get out of the way and you're really using the full power of the stroke throughout.
When it comes to picking a big blade or a small blade think about surface area. Big blades are going to work better for bigger stronger paddlers and might serve as an inconvenience to smaller lighter paddlers. The reason being, for each stroke that you put this big blade in you're catching a lot of water. So, for the smaller paddler, they're working really hard to pull that blade through the water each time whereas for the bigger stronger paddler it's going to feel fairly easy.
Again, I'm Nolan. This has been a look at how to identify different paddle features and choose one to fit your needs. You can find all these paddles here in the shop. We're happy to tell you more about them. You can also find them on our website at https://nextadventure.net/