Whether it’s the heat of summer or the chilly feeling of fall, stand up paddle boarding tends to be the most favorite activity for water sports lovers. However, the tricky part with SUP is that this fun activity can be easily spoiled by the wrong equipment.
Among many other necessary tools, the best sup paddles are the most critical gear to have by your side to enjoy your day out fully. Durability, strength, and versatility are some of the many qualities that every sensible paddler should look for before deciding which sup paddle to buy.
Thankfully, we have compiled the list of the best sup paddles the market offers to ensure that you get the most from your day at the lake. Hopefully, one of these top players is the one that you are looking for.
How To Choose The Best Sup Paddle – Buying Guide
The definition of the best sup paddle changes from person to person. If you are paddling recreationally, then you want a medium size paddle, so aim for 7-12% above your height. If you are racing, then you need to aim for a paddle which is 10-15% above your height. Here is a quick guide on how to choose the length of your paddle:
- Stand the paddle up vertically. Make sure the tear-drop-shaped blade touches the ground
- Reach an arm up above your head and see where it is on the paddle
- The T-grip handle will rest in the bend of your wrist. You can adjust the length of the shaft as you see fit
- We recommend you aim for a paddle with a length that is roughly 8-12 inches longer than you are
While choosing your style of grip, there are many things to think about. We recommend you find a grip that you will be able to hold onto for hours at a time. Look for ergonomically-crafted grips with good hand positions.
If you have limited space, it is best to look for a paddle that comes apart. Most multi-piece paddles can be broken down into three pieces, making them very easy to store.
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Aluminum is one of the strongest materials while remaining lightweight and affordable. Carbon Fiber, on the other hand, is the lightest of all the blade materials. Fiberglass fits in between. It is lighter than aluminum and stronger, but not as strong and light as carbon fiber. Fiberglass and carbon fiber enhances the quality, whereas aluminum increases its utility. Before choosing the material, it is better to answer the below questions:
- How often will you be paddling? Opt for a lighter paddle if you will be paddling often.
- What is your budget? Lightweight materials, like carbon fiber and fiberglass, are more expensive than heavier paddles, like aluminum and plastic.
- Do you have a muscle or joint injury? If you have experienced a shoulder, arm, or wrist injury before, it is better to buy a paddle with some flex.
The blade size determines the resistance through the water and the energy you expend. A large blade takes more energy to pull through the water. Medium blades, on the other hand, offer less resistance while small blades offer the least resistance. We recommend choosing the size of your paddle depending on your weight, here is a quick guide:
- Small/medium (less than 150 lbs.): 80–90 sq. in.
- Medium/large (150 – 200 lbs.): 90–100 sq. in.
- Large/X (200+ lbs.): 100–120 sq. in.
A square blade with more surface area gives you more power whereas, rounded blades move easily through the water. There are two choices of blade profile when you look at it from the end. A flat blade is flat and generates more power through the water whereas the dihedral blade is a better option for beginners as it moves through the water more smoothly.
Around 10% is the most common angle, but it can be as little as 6% and as big as 12%. Before deciding, we recommend you try some of the paddles we’ve reviewed in our list of the best sup paddles.
Q: Why Are Sup Paddles Angled?
SUP paddles are angled for two reasons. The first is to allow you to move the blade through the water conveniently and with less force. The second reason is to prevent water from being lifted when you are pulling the blade through the water.
Q: How To Size Sup Paddles?
The general rule is that a paddle's length should be more than your height. About 8 inches taller is the standard. If you are a beginner and have any problems with joints or your back, it is best to go with a longer paddle.
Q: Do Sup Paddles Float?
Yes, most of the modern paddles float.
Q: How To Use Sup Paddles?
When you hold your paddles sup, you have one hand on the top of your paddle and the other hand lowers down the paddle. If you stand with the paddle in the water, and one hand on the top of the paddle, take note of the angle of your arm and use the same angle for your other arm to lower down the paddle.
Q: How Long Are Sup Paddles?
SUP paddle comes in all lengths and sizes. Adjustable sup paddles are designed for the smallest kids and the tallest adults in mind.
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To sum up, an overwhelming amount of sup paddle reviews agree that having a lightweight, 3 pieces adjustable paddle is the key. Of course, it eventually comes down to your personal choice whether you will be using your paddle often or seldom. Hopefully, one of the products we have reviewed on our list of the best sup paddles is the right one for you.
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Do you love to stand up paddle boarding? Have one of the best sup paddles on our list? Let us know how you like it in the comment section below.