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How to Choose the Right SUP Paddle – Charleston SC

How to Choose the Right SUP Paddle – Charleston SC

Choosing the Right SUP Paddle

Choosing the right Right SUP Paddle - Charleston SCStand Up Paddleboards (SUP) come in a variety of styles but they all share the common goal of being as efficient as possible to help you stay well balanced in the water. Knowing How to Choose the Right SUP Paddle will entail a full understanding of what a “good” paddle means. The features you pick will determine:


  • How smooth your paddle sessions will flow
  • How much exercise you will get in
  • How much exploring you’ll get to enjoy
  • How much fishing you will be able to do
  • How much wave surfing you’ll have the ability to do


There’s a simple test you can do at home to understand what we mean. Grab a hold of your household broom, and a shovel (or something of a similar length and weight) if you have one available. Stand up on a chair and begin to paddle with your broom. The proper technique consists of placing your top hand over your bottom hand so that the shaft is in a vertical position.


Pretending that you have an imaginary board, reach out towards what would be the bow and then finish a stroke by your feet. Try paddling five times on each of your sides and then try this again with the shovel. See the difference? Picture fighting that weight for an hour, or two, or three in the water. Not so fun!


So before you come to paddle board at Sup & Surf in Folly Beach, here’s How to Choose the Right SUP Paddle:


Since you won’t be paddling your boards with a broom or a shovel, what you’re looking to get is a paddle with a carbon fiber or fiberglass shaft. You will surely feel the difference from paddling with a low-performance aluminum shaft or plastic blade shaft. The higher-end blades are not only lighter but also stiffer. The flexibility of the lower-quality blades will diminish the force of your stroke whereas the more rigid high-quality styles transfer more of your energy into the water. If you’re a casual paddler, that means fewer strokes, less fatigue, and way more time out on the water. If you’re a performance paddler, that means more boom for your buck each time your blade digs in.


The lightest materials are carbon fiber and fiberglass, but does that mean it’s what’s best for you? That all depends on the type of paddling you enjoy the most. Whitewater paddling would work best with a fiberglass blade. If you’re going a longer distance and into deeper water, the lightweight carbon will work best for a long day out on the water.


The shape and size of your blade are also significant. The smaller, narrower blades are best for surfing and turning, and since they’re easier on your joints, they will allow you to paddle faster. The smaller blades are also ideal for flatwater paddling while a wider blade would put more power on a lower cadence stroke.


Once you’ve decided which blade is right for your paddling style, you’ll want to consider the proper length to accommodate your height. For fitness paddling, fishing or touring, you’ll want a paddle that’s approximately 10” longer than your height.  For the river runners, a shorter paddle of approximately 8” longer than your height will work best.


If you’re ready to get out on the water to paddle surf in Folly Beach, contact us today to book a tour or a lesson!

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