Just like a good pair of hiking boots can make-or-break your hike, the right SUP paddle will make your time on the water that much more enjoyable. The paddle is the tool that connects you with the board and the water. Like any good tool, quality pays off. The best stand up paddle will be light enough for you to use all day and strong enough to handle any conditions you get into. It should be comfortable, with the right grip and length. So what makes a great paddle?
There are many different materials or composites that have been used to make paddles over the years, but carbon is King!
Carbon Fibre: Carbon fibre is the lightest and strongest material used in paddles. A lightweight paddle will cause less arm fatigue, especially on longer paddles. If you spend a large amount of time on the water, the weight savings of a carbon fibre paddle is well be worth the extra expense.
Fibreglass: Is great for entry level paddles. Fibreglass is stiff, light, and provides a good balance between value and performance.
Wood: Wood paddles are beautiful to look at, and make a great present to an enthusiast but they lack the performance and durability of composite paddles.
Aluminium: Aluminium is inexpensive and used on budget paddles. The drawback is that they are heavier and can bend easily.
Plastic: Another economical material. It is affordable but heavier and often less durable than other materials.