The paddle is your motor, so it’s important to get it right.
SUP paddles are single-bladed, with a T-shaped handle at the top. As you are wielding this paddle pretty much non-stop while on the water, the lighter it is, the better. As a result, the best paddles available are made of carbon fibre, which is not only light but extremely stiff too, thus ensuring that the maximum amount of your stroke is converted into forward propulsion! Stiffness is also a factor once you get good at wave riding and start using the paddle to turn.
However, carbon fibre is not cheap, so you can also get wooden paddles – often beautifully crafted and real works of art. And at the bottom end of the price scale, simple aluminium-shafted paddles with plastic blades.
It’s worth investing in the best paddle you can afford, as it will make a significant difference to your endurance and enjoyment.
Paddles generally come with a long handle, which you then need to cut down to the right length for you. For normal cruising the handle should stand about 8 inches above your head.
Paddle prices start at around $150, rising to around $650-plus for the best carbon or wood models.