Choosing your SUP paddle
Materials We can distinguish three main types of SUP paddle constructions: aluminum, composite and carbon. Which one you will choose is mostly determined by the wealth of your wallet.
- Aluminum paddles are the cheapest, quite rigid, but usually a little heavy. This is a good starting option to have fun with your board and when you do not want to spend a significant amount of money. You should only accept a little greater effort needed to operate such heavier paddle.
- Composite paddles are made of a mixture of carbon materials and resin. They are a little more expensive than aluminum but in return offer a significantly lower weight and greater rigidity. A very good compromise between price, comfort and performance. They are great for beginner and more advanced paddlers.
- Full carbon paddles represent absolute top in terms of construction, extreme lightness and highest performance. However, you should expect a much greater expense. Although it is recommended mainly more advanced paddlers their values can be appreciated even by a beginners. The main disadvantage is lesser resistant to knocks and damages, so you should avoid hitting any hard objects with your paddle. If you do not have practice in handling the paddle it is recommended to choose a more robust design.
Parts Most paddles comes in 1, 2 or 3 pieces.
- 1-piece are the stiffest, but the least handy to transport and have a fixed length.
- 2-piece paddles are adjustable, consist of one long tube and a second pull-out one with a handle. They offer great stiffness and because they can be quite significantly reduced in length, they are easier to transport. They also allow to set the right length of the paddle more precisely.
- 3-piece paddles are constructed similarly to the two-piece, however, they have the additional connection in the middle of the main tube, which allows the paddle to spread on 2-3 smaller fragments. Slightly worse stiffness is rewarded by extremely handy packaging and transportation.
Blade size Choosing the best size of the blade for your liking is a very personal thing. There is no other way to find the right one than personally trying some paddles with different blades.
- But generally speaking, the smaller the paddle the less power it generates. They are recommended for touring when you do not care about the super-speed but more about maintaining the power for a longer time. They are also recommended for lighter/less strong persons.
- Larger blades are useful for surfing, when you need some extra power to quickly accelerate your board to catch the wave. However for more recreational purposes and longer trips some people like smaller ones.
Length of the paddle Finally the most important issue. For maximum comfort, efficiency and to avoid the risk of an injury it is necessary to choose the length of the paddle to our own body height. At the very beginning you won’t be able to set the ideal length. You must try some little adjustment to get the right feel of the paddle. For this reason it is recommended to choose a 2 or 3-piece paddle with adjustable length. Since the very beginning you will be difficult to assess what centimeter what is the right length, you should choose a paddle 2 or 3-piece with adjustable tip. A good starting point in choosing the proper length of the paddle is adding to your height approx. 20-25 cm. For example, if your height is about 180 cm then we can set the length of the paddle at about 200-205 cm. It is important to have an ability to extend or shorten the paddle a few centimeters from this setting. And please remember that a fully extended paddle is the least rigid and most susceptible to fracture. Therefore, do not choose a paddle that has your targeted length at the most extended position! Happy paddling!
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