SUP Paddles: Choosing The Best Paddle Board Paddle

sup

If you are shopping for a good stand up paddle board or already own one, then you might end up with one of those cheap paddles that come with the iSUP sets, like the Tower Adventurer set.

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While I think that those paddles are completely functional and worth using out in the water, the truth is that better paddles are available for purchase. And, I think that buying a good, affordable SUP paddle instead of sticking with the package stock model helps to improves your experience and performance on your board.

Top 10 Best SUP Paddles for the Money (2017 - 2018)

products selected and rated based on quality, performance, & value
PADDLEEDITOR RATINGBUY AT:
KIALOA Makai FG Adjustable Stand Up Paddle4.9/5 Amazon, REI
NRS Quest 3-Piece SUP Paddle4.8/5 Amazon, NRS
Adjustable Alloy SUP Paddle by Bullet Proof Surf4.8/5Amazon
Werner Zen 85 Performance Adjustable Stand Up Paddle4.8/5 Amazon, REI
Boardworks Kraken Wood Blade/Carbon Shaft 2-Piece Adjustable Stand-Up Paddle4.7/5 Amazon, REI
Maui and Sons Adjustable Carbon Fiber and Bamboo Paddle Board Paddle4.6/5Amazon
ISLE Surf and SUP Peak 3 Piece Aluminum Adjustable Stand UP SUP Travel Paddle – Aluminum Shaft, Nylon Blade4.6/5Amazon
AIRHEAD SUP Carbon Fiber Soft Edge Paddle4.5/5 Amazon, Walmart
NRS Rush 3-Piece SUP Paddle4.5/5 Amazon, NRS
KIALOA Insanity Fiberglass Adjustable Stand Up Paddle4.3/5 Amazon, REI

Why Buy A New SUP Paddle?

Since so many iSUPs and SUPs come with a stock paddle, you might be wondering why you should spend more money on a new paddle when you get one with the board that works just fine. Here’s the deal – you can use the one that comes with the board, but it probably won’t float cause not all packages come with paddles that float in the water. Maybe you’d prefer a paddle board paddle that will float if you fall off the board? Or maybe you prefer a 2-piece paddle or a one-piece paddle for your paddleboarding. Or, maybe you need a SUP paddle for tall people and the one you have is just too darn short for you. Or, maybe you just want some higher quality gear cause you take your SUPing seriously.

Bottom line – there’s plenty of reasons to upgrade your paddle, but you can also keep using the one that you already have if you’re comfortable with it.

What To Look For In A New Paddle

If you look online, you’ll find lots of different paddles you can buy online. But, how do you know which is best for you? First, determine the material you want the paddle to be made out of to narrow down your choices. Paddles are made of one of five different types of materials:

  • plastic
  • aluminum
  • wood
  • carbon fiber
  • fiberglass

The cheapest option is plastic, however this is also the heaviest material – so really think about if you want a heavier paddle. Aluminum is another cheap but heavy option. I tend to see a lot of the really cheap paddles in aluminum. They do fine in the water but can seem colder in your hands. It’s rare that I see someone out there with a wood paddle. Usually it’s the hard board SUPers who are all about craftsmanship with these. They are higher in price but super eco-friendly. They stay warm in your hand and are very lightweight. Fiberglass SUP paddles are super lightweight and come it at a mid-level price point. This is probably the best choice for someone on a budget who wants the best performance for the money. The carbon fiber paddles are pretty much the best SUP paddles for the money. Yes, they are more expensive but you get an ultra lightweight paddle with the best performance in the water. You definitely want one of these if you’re into SUP racing or spend a lot of time out on the water.

How To Buy The Right Size SUP Paddle

Though it might seem like a small detail, using a paddle that is the right length for you is one of the most important things for SUPers. It’s one of the things that a lot of people new to stand up paddle boarding take for granted. If you try to use a paddle that is too short for you, then you end up with some back pain since you have to kind of lean forward when paddling. And, if the paddle is too long for you, then you end up holding your arms higher up and getting super tired very quickly. But, if you get a paddle that is just the right size for you, then expect to be able to spend lots of time out on the water without pain or fatigue from the paddle.

So, what size paddle do you need to buy? Well, that really depends on what type of paddle boarding you plan on doing with it.

Expect to do some surfing on the stand up paddle board? If so, you’ll need a paddle that is between six to eight inches taller than you for the best results. For some recreational cruising on your board in flat water, go with a paddle that is around eight to 10 inches taller than you. And for racing on your SUP, go with a paddle that is a good 10 to 12 inches taller than you.

Our Top Picks: Best Stand Up Paddle Board Paddles for the Money 2017 – 2018

I’ve had a chance to check out some of the top rated SUP paddles on the market and have come up with a list of the models that I think offer the best value for the money right now. There should be something to fit any budget – from cheap to high-end paddles – and something for every type of paddle boarder. So, take a moment to check out the paddles below and see if you can’t find one to take out on the water.

Werner Fiji Adjustable 2-Piece Stand-Up Paddle Review

Active Weekender rating:

Performance: 4.8/5
Quality: 4.8/5
Value: 5/5
Overall: 4.9/5

Werner Fiji Adjustable 2-Piece Stand-Up PaddleWhere to buy: REI, Amazon, CKS Online, or NRS

This has got to be one of my favorite entry level iSUP or SUP paddles. The price is reasonable, you can adjust it to three different sizes for the whole family or your friends, and the fiberglass means that it’s warm instead of cold on your hands.

I think this is the best SUP paddle for tall people because it adjusts up to 80 – 87.5 inches at the top adjustment level. For a place to buy this paddle, you can buy either online on Amazon or REI. Keep in mind that if you’re an REI member, then you get money back on your purchase!

What I like about it: the whole family can use it since it features 7.5″ of adjustment, reinforcement spines gives blade a smooth and powerful feel on strokes, and the palm grip is very comfortable and results in less fatigue than on cheaper paddles. It is super lightweight and easy to transport since it breaks down into two pieces. Plus, it floats – so if you drop it in the water, you don’t have to panic about losing it.

What I don’t like about it: Despite the stiffness of the blade, it does have a bit of flex to it. The low cadence recreational blade is really only good for recreational paddlers – so steer clear if you’re racing or looking for a great workout.

werner fiji specs

Werner has a reputation for making great paddles and in my opinion this one is no exception – I definitely recommend you check this one out.

Adjustable Alloy SUP Paddle by Bullet Proof Surf Review

Active Weekender rating:

Performance: 4.6/5
Quality: 4.6/5
Value: 4.8/5
Overall: 4.7/5

Adjustable Alloy SUP Paddle by Bullet Proof SurfWhere to buy: Amazon

Looking for a good cheap SUP paddle that performs well with a price in the under $100 – $200 range? If so, check out this option from Bullet Proof Surf.

You get a paddle that is lightweight thanks to the aluminum shaft and nylon composite blade. In my opinion, it’s not the most high end paddle out there, or the best available model. But, it is a good SUP paddle with an affordable price.

This paddle floats in the water and can be adjusted to fit your height. It’s range is 71 inches to 83 inches, which is pretty good coverage for tall paddle boarders. I like that this one comes with a free blade cover to prevent damage when transporting it.

One word of warning though – in my opinion, this paddle does not perform well for surfing. So, I suggest that you only buy this one if you’re doing flat water paddling.

Maui and Sons Adjustable Carbon Fiber and Bamboo Paddle Board Paddle Review

Active Weekender rating:

Performance: 4.6/5
Quality: 4.8/5
Value: 4.8/5
Overall: 4.8/5

Adjustable Carbon Fiber and Bamboo Paddle Board Paddle By Maui and SonsWhere to buy: Amazon

If you’re looking for something with a bit better build than the Bullet Proof Surf paddle above, then you might want to consider this cool bamboo SUP paddle from Maui and Sons as I think it’s a better option.

I just love the way that this one looks – it is real bamboo veneer with 100% carbon fiber shaft and blade core. The end result here is an ultra lightweight paddle – it’s only 1.6 pounds! And it has a super low price for the quality of the paddle.

This is a high performance paddle board paddle and it works well for all types of paddling. Adjusting it is VERY easy. The paddle length starts out at 67 inches and can be extended an additional 22 inches for a total adjustable length of 89 inches! This is another great paddle for tall SUPers.

Sawyer Storm Traveler 3-Piece Adjustable Paddle and Fiberglass Shaft with CFRT Blade Review

Active Weekender rating:

Performance: 4.6/5
Quality: 4.8/5
Value: 4.8/5
Overall: 4.8/5

Sawyer Storm Traveler 3-Piece Adjustable Stand-Up Paddle and Fiberglass Shaft with 100 Square Inch CFRT BladeWhere to buy: Amazon

Looking for a high performance SUP paddle under $300 – $500? If so, take a look that this fiberglass model from Sawyer. I like that it breaks down into three pieces for easy transport and storage. Plus, it comes with it’s own nylon carrying bag and TiteSet tool. You definitely get a lot for the money with this paddle.

It’s worth mentioning that the 100-square inch blade on this SUP paddle features Continuous Fiber Reinforced Thermoplastic (CFRT), which means that it’s super durable and less likely to break or sustain any damage. The blade is angled at 11 degrees for the most efficient strokes in the water.

Unlike the other models listed above, you actually get four different color choices – so get something that matches your board! The adjustable length range for this paddle is 67 inches to 83 inches. This one is definitely a great buy at this price.

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