How To Chose a SUP Paddle

Five Things You Should Know When Choosing a Stand Up Paddle Board Paddle

While the Riviera Vantage Art Series Carbon Fiber Paddle may be one of the best choices on the market, good looks aside, it can also set you back a pretty penny. Is it worth it? Before I give it a resounding yes, I thought I’d take you through the process of choosing a stand up paddle board paddle, if only to suggest that you might upgrade for better performance. So here are five things you should know about choosing a stand up paddle board paddle you may not have considered.

Aren’t All Paddles are the Same?

Riviera Vantage Art Series Carbon SUP Paddles

Riviera Vantage Art Series Carbon SUP Paddles are lightweight and energetic in the water, giving each stroke an unexpected BOOM!

All SUP paddles are essentially the same in function. You stroke, and depending on your ability, move forward. If you approach the conversation from that standpoint, this would be a true of every paddle. All paddles consist of three basic parts: handle, shaft, and the throat. While SUP paddles resemble a canoe paddle more than a kayak paddle, it is a unique design that works best with a paddle board and the one-sided paddling approach.

Isn’t it is more Technique than Paddle?

If you have ever biked on tube tires or played tennis with a wood and graphite racket, you would know that while skills do help in achieving a better game, the right equipment can improve not only your performance but endurance. Because many people can learn good technique, paddling with the wrong paddle can be hard on certain parts of your body over long-term outings. A good paddle, combined with good technique will allow you to go farther with less effort.

Isn’t Off-the-Rack is Just Fine?

This is a slam on the big box retailers who are simply getting into a growing market. Going to a local SUP retailer is just simply smarter and when it comes to paddles, they should be able to run the comparisons against your budget and outfit you with the best your wallet can afford.

Do Materials Really Make that Big of a Difference?

I am not suggesting you get a custom made paddle, although the best shops will cut the paddle length to your exact specifications. While some entry level boards are good for all around family fun, the paddles that come with them are often of the same quality. But you’d be surprised how many people will buy a good touring board and scrimp on the paddle. Paddles that feel flexible will actually force you to engage more directly with each stroke and that will make you more tired quicker. Paddles made of better materials, like fiberglass or carbon are stiffer giving the beginner to intermediate paddler a more effortless stroke. Experienced boarders will describe the difference in one word: BOOM!

What Size Blade is Best?

The answer depends on the water and the amount of power you tend to put in your stroke. If you are a leisurely, flat water paddler, a wide blade will what you need to enjoy a nice day on the water. But if you are surfing, making sharp turns, or tend to really dig in with each stroke, a narrower blade will benefit your style.

While the Riviera Vantage Art Series Carbon Fiber Paddle is on the high end of paddles in terms of cost, you need to remember three things about this all-carbon paddle: It is likely to be the only paddle you will ever need to buy, it’s lightweight but incredibly strong because of the carbon, and it comes equipped with a well proportioned blade. Although it seems to carry a bit of heft, it isn’t necessarily heavy. It will also need to be cut to your size. As I said, this is the last paddle you may ever buy.

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