HOW TO CHOOSE YOUR SUP PADDLE?
Updated: Mar 4, 2019
You already chose your SUP board, it’s now time to choose your paddle!
The 425pro team has prepared some essential information and some good tips to guide you and refine your choice in the purchase of your paddle.
For many SUPers, girls or boys, the paddle is the most personal part of their equipment.
The choice of a paddle will be based on your physical size, your type and level of practice but also your wallet.
1. CHOOSE YOUR PADDLE ACCORDING TO INTENSITY OF PRACTICE
In the choice of paddles, as in the choice of Stand Up Paddle boards, you will find a variety of quality and prices (from 50 € to more than 500 € for a paddle). It is therefore important that you get oriented towards the right model, depending on your intensity of practice.
For occasional practice, you can choose a paddle (adjustable or fixed) with aluminum handle and plastic blade. These paddles are very cheap but their weight is quite high. Their efficiency remains limited.
For a regular practice, you can opt for a paddle (adjustable or fixed) with a hybrid shaft in fiberglass / carbon or full carbon and with a fiber blade, it is a good compromise quality / price ratio. You will have a paddle a little more solid and light with a better efficiency in your stroke.
For intensive practice, we advise you to choose a carbon paddle, a stiffer and sturdier material, and at the same time much lighter, which will guarantee much more enjoyable intensive sessions. Their efficiency is maximum and the transfer of energy is done without loss. The cost will also be more intensive ;-)
2. CHOOSE YOUR PADDLE ACCORDING TO ITS LEVEL OF PRACTICE
Here are two choices: Either an adjustable paddle or a fixed paddle:
Adjustable paddle: If you are a beginner, we advise you to move towards an adjustable paddle. Simply because you will have the advantage to be able to adjust it and refine its length throughout your progression. Among the adjustable paddles, you can find removable models in 2 or 3 parts, aluminum, fiber or carbon
Advantages: possibility to adjust the length, family use, price, use ride / race / SUP Surf.
Disadvantages: weight, lack of nervousness, possibility of play between the elements of the handle, loss of energy, loss of flexibility, water entries possible in the paddle parts.
Fixed paddle: If you have an intermediate to confirmed level, the choice of a fixed paddle will be obvious. It will be adapted to your size, your level and your practice. It will also be lighter and more responsive.
On the market, you will find fixed paddles sold in 2 formats:
Paddles with handle, shaft and blade disassembled: you can then cut the shaft, either near the handle or near the blade). Our 425 Pro Paddles come in this format.
Paddles with the blade already glued (you will then cut the handle only on the handle side).
Advantages: lightness, nervousness, efficiency, beauty of the paddle.
Disadvantages: impossible to adjust the length (except cutting it to reduce the length), difficult to lend to another person of different size.
Gluing tips: To glue the parts of your paddle, you can use hot glue, it will allow you to stick and take off the handle and the blade (ideal for travel and in the beginning for length adjustments).
3. CHOOSE THE SIZE OF YOUR PADDLE
A SUP paddle is constituted of a handle, a shaft and a blade.
The length of the paddle takes into account these 3 parts together.
You can set the size of your paddle according to your practice:
In touring mode: You can opt for a paddle length in between + 15 cm and + 20 cm from your height. This will allow you to stay straight on your board, paddle without much effort, and enjoy the scenery.
In race mode: The length of your paddle may be between + 10 cm and + 20 cm from your height. Short for more frequency, ideal in Downwind or Beach Race. And long to have more amplitude, for races on flat water, where it takes power and maintain the glide of the board.
In SUP Surf: The length of the paddle will be your size - 5 cm to +10 cm, for more manoeuvrability in the waves and also because Surf SUP boards are less thick than SUP Race boards, you are lower on the water.
Each rider has his own style and stroke, and for 2 riders with same size, the length of their paddles may not especially be the same. Legs rather tense or rather bent, bust straight or inclined, flat deck or dugout, sea conditions and wind ... As you see, other factors come into account to define the right size of your paddle. The best is to test several sizes and as you progress, and you will find the one that suits you best.
Here are some good indicators to know if your paddle is at the right length (and if your gestures are correct):
-> Shoulder pain = Paddle too long
-> Lower back pain = Paddle too short (your gesture is ineffective)
4. CHOOSE THE BLADE AND SHAFT OF YOUR PADDLE
To refine your choice, you must know which types of blade and shaft will be the best for you.
Two points are important for the choice of a blade:
The width of the blade:
The smaller the blade of your paddle, the less effort you need to give each paddle stroke. However, you must keep a pace high enough not to lose speed. Ideal blade shape in downwind and beach race.
The wider the blade, the more effort you must make to pull the paddle. You gain power and therefore speed, without having to increase the paddling frequency. Ideal blade shape on flat water.
On medium and high range paddles, the surface of the blade is often indicated on it. This area is expressed in square / inch (in2) or square centimeter (cm2), but for convenience, many manufacturers now use a size classification: XS, S, M, L or even XL.
The shape of the blade:
The longer the blade of your paddle is, the more you will go for the fixed water in depths(power) and you will notice that you will touch less the rails of your board.
The more the tip of the blade is square, the stronger the catch will be, but this type of blade does not forgive stroke errors. The more your blade is rounded (shaped like a drop of water), the more it'll forgive the mistakes. On the other hand, you will have grip and you will tend to touch the board a bit more with your blade.
The shafts :
As we have seen a little earlier, there are several constructions: aluminum, fiberglass / carbon, full carbon.
The aluminum handles are heavy and rigid. To use only for occasional practice and rental.
For hybrid fiberglass / carbon handles, the higher the carbon is, the lighter and more resistant the paddle will be. The good price / quality compromise is 50/50.
The carbon handles are light weight and durable while offering flexibility to your stroke. Be careful though, to the impacts and violent shocks that can weaken them. There is also a graduation of flexibility for full carbon handles. We speak of SOFT handle, MEDIUM or HARD. SOFT for more flexibility (easier) and HARD for more responsiveness, but it also requires more power. The good compromise is the MEDIUM.
5. THE 425pro PADDLES
The 425 pro paddles have been developed by Jerry Mihimana and Georges Cronsteadt, and are used by many renowned paddlers such as Robert Teritehau, Noic Garioud, Enzo Bennett, Yoann Cronsteadt, Manutea Millon, Nats Teriitahi and many others.
To optimize your stroke according to the conditions in which you want to evolve, 425pro has focused on 3 types of handles (SOFT, MEDIUM, STIFF) and 3 types of blades as followed:
The IMPACT is a blade specially designed for sprints and flat water. Blade lengthened with a rather square end. It reduces in surface and keep a grip and a very impressive power.
The WEAPON pro signature of Georges CRONSTEADT is the most appreciated blade of all. It has been studied to have the right balance between grip and flexibility. It gives a very pleasant sensation of ease and endurance, while remaining very effective. It is found on many podiums of international races. Perfect blade for downwind and beach races.
The WAVE is a shorter blade and wider, shaped like a drop of water. Therefore more powerful and forgiving for the SUP Surf. Explosiveness, maneuverability and support are his strengths.
Whatever is your choice of paddle, model, brand, you must take good care of it so it will follow you on each session and allow you to go farther on the water!