The Paddle in Paddleboard

While a lot of emphasis can be put on the type of paddleboard you chose, the real star of the show is the paddle. This is your direct connection to the water, assuming you don’t fall in. Nothing can enhance the experience or aid in your effort to go for greater distances and in different waters than a good stand on liquid paddle.

Picking the right paddle has a lot to do with your height. It should not be any longer than eight to fifteen inches taller than you are. The best way to measure on dry land is to extend your hand above your head. The paddle handle should be in your palm.

What kind of paddleboarding you intend to do plays into the decision about which paddle will be best.  Stand-up paddleboarders focused on the surf will want a shorter sized paddle. Long distance or flatwater paddlers might find a taller paddle will fit their needs.

The length of the paddle can help with some physical limitations as well. If you have issues with your shoulder, try the shorter paddle. But careful not to go too short when trying to compensate for any shoulder pain. You could end up hurting your core muscles. As a rule of thumb when picking a paddle to compensate for a shoulder injury, your top hand (on the handle) should not come any higher than your eye level.

The paddle itself is made up a some basic parts. Looking like a overly long canoe oar, it will have a handle, a shaft (known as the blade), a throat (where the blade attaches) and of course, the blade which are known collectively as the power face. Construction can vary between wood, carbon fiber and fiberglass.

Different designs can also play a role. Most shafts are slightly bent to provide additional reach. This reach, the ability to dig a little farther out adds power without adding additional muscle to the motion. Shafts can come in a variety of easy store designs from folding to telescoping.

The blades can make a huge difference in your stamina. If the type of stand-up boarding you are doing involves surf, not only will a shorter overall paddle be better, a narrower power face will allow you to get a better stroke rhythm with less work. Conversely, the wider the power face, the more water resistance resulting in more distance per stroke.

Substitute paddles are not a good idea. They increase the chances of injury, they can leave you stranded, and they can greatly reduce the fun you could have had.

Speak Your Mind