Did you know that having the best SUP paddle for your skill level can make a huge difference to your paddling experience? Maybe you’re an experienced stand-up paddler or maybe you’re just getting started. Many SUP paddlers share one board within a family or like to share with friends of varying heights. No matter what type of stand-up paddling you’re into, you’ll want a great value paddle that suits your budget.

Here at The Adventure Junkies, we’re obsessed with finding the best gear for stand-up paddling. We’ll walk you through everything you need to know about finding the best SUP paddle for you.

 

 

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THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO FIND THE BEST SUP PADDLE

PICTURE
ITEM
BEST USE
WEIGHT
PRICE
RATING
PICTURE
ITEM
BEST USE
WEIGHT
PRICE
RATING
Werner Trance 95
High-Performance
1 lb. 3.5 oz.
$$$$
4.5
Aquabound Malta
High-Performance
1 lb. 4 oz.
$$$
4.5
Kialoa Methane II
High-Performance
1 lb. 6 oz.
$$$
4.7
Accent Octane
Overall
1 lb. 11 oz.
$$
4.2
iGK Pure Carbon
Overall
1 lb. 7 oz.
$$
4.8
BPS Carbon Slider
Overall
1 lb. 11 oz.
$$
4.7
Kialoa Makai FG
Overall
2 lbs 0 oz.
$$
4.5
Boardworks Aluminum
Budget
2 lbs. 8 oz.
$
4.1
BIC Sport Original
Budget
2 lbs. 10 oz.
$
4.3
Seattle Sports Zephyr
Budget
1 lb. 6 oz.
$
4.4

 

 

SUP PADDLES 101

 

4 THINGS TO CONSIDER TO FIND THE BEST SUP PADDLE

 

1. LENGTH

Some paddle companies have specific length recommendations because of their shape and size. In general, choose a SUP paddle that is eight to 10 inches taller than your full height.

Longer paddles typically have more power and control in choppy water and wind, while shorter paddles are ideal for flatwater and paddlers with less strength or poorer paddle technique. For a more in-depth guide, read this article about finding the ideal SUP paddle length from SUP Boarder Magazine.

Don’t forget to buy a PFD and find the perfect stand-up paddleboard before investing in your new paddle.

 

2. MATERIALS

SUP paddles can be made from many types of materials with the most popular being wood, aluminum, carbon fiber or fiberglass. Each material has its own pros and cons.

Wood: Wood is one of the least popular materials among SUP paddlers. Typically, wood tends to be used by specialist or performance paddlers.

Generally, wood SUP paddle cannot be adjusted and are heavier than most other materials. On the plus side, a wooden paddle can be very comfortable to hold and floats when it falls in the water.

Plastic: Cheaper SUP paddles are typically made from plastic with a polycarbonate blade. On the plus side, these paddles are durable, sometimes float and usually come with an adjustable shaft.

This is a great option for beginner paddlers or families with children. The downside is that plastic blades don’t paddle as smoothly. The paddle also tends to be a bit heavier than those made with fiberglass or carbon fiber.

Aluminum: Most aluminum paddles have an aluminum shaft with a plastic blade. Aluminum is inexpensive but is a bit heavier than other materials.

Fiberglass: Fiberglass paddles are usually the best for intermediate paddlers. They are lightweight and offer a smooth stroke. The only problem is that the blades are fragile and can crack or ding if knocked against the side of a board or another hard surface.

Carbon fiber: Carbon fiber paddles tend to be lighter than paddles from other materials and are preferred for high-performance paddlers or racers. Though they can be used for recreational paddling of all types, their high price point and lack of buoyancy make them a poor choice for children or beginner paddlers.

According to an article on carbon fiber by Thought Co., carbon fibers are “twice as stiff as steel and five times as strong as steel.” So, it’s easy to see why this is the top choice for paddles.

 

3. WEIGHT

As a general rule, the lighter the SUP paddle, the better. Lighter paddles reduce arm fatigue and can keep you paddling further, faster, and longer. However, keep it mind that it is still a personal decision.

Some people like a heavier paddle because it helps with the momentum of swinging the paddle around. The best thing to do is to test out a variety of paddles and see what type is best for you.

 

4. GRIP

There are two types of grip when it comes to paddles, namely, the T-grip and the palm grip. Most people find the palm grip more comfortable as it rests in the palm of your hand.

Surf and whitewater SUP paddlers tend to favor the T-grip because it gives them a sturdier handle on the paddle and reduced the risk of them losing their paddle if they fall.

 

sup paddle must-have

Photo by istockphoto.com/portfolio/epicstockmedia

 

SUP PADDLE REVIEWS

 

BEST SUP PADDLES FOR HIGH-PERFORMANCE

WERNER TRANCE 95

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

BEST FOR: Experienced paddlers wanting a top-notch paddle that improves speed while reducing arm and shoulder fatigue

MATERIAL: Full carbon with reinforced edges around the blade

SIZE RANGE: There are two sizes. 74 – 81.5 inches or 80 – 87.5 inches

ADJUSTABLE: Yes

WEIGHT: 1 lb. 3.5 oz.

PROS: Sleek construction makes the most power-per-stroke, buoyant and lightweight, smooth paddling, comfortable palm grip, easy-to-adjust

CONS: Might be too long for shorter paddlers, high price point

 

 

 

AQUABOUND MALTA

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

BEST FOR: Experienced paddlers needing a paddle that’s efficient and lightweight

MATERIAL: Carbon shaft and compression-molded fiberglass blade

SIZE RANGE: There are three sizes. 64 – 74 inches, 70 – 80 inches, 76 – 86 inches.

ADJUSTABLE: Yes

WEIGHT: 1 lb. 4 oz.

PROS: Hand-built, lightweight, 2-piece construction makes it simple yet efficient, perfect for touring boards, easy to adjust

CONS: High price point, longer blade might not be suitable for beginner paddlers, relies heavily on paddler’s technique for speed

 

 

 

KIALOA METHANE II

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

BEST FOR: High-performance paddlers wanting a SUP paddle that can be used for a variety of boards

MATERIAL: Carbon fiber shaft and blade

SIZE RANGE: 68 – 74 inches

ADJUSTABLE: Yes

WEIGHT: 1 lb. 6 oz.

PROS: Comfortable T-grip or palm grip (your choice), versatile shape that can be used for all types of boards, stylish graphics, easy to adjust

CONS: High price point, shape relies heavily on paddle technique

 

 

 

 

BEST SUP PADDLES FOR OVERALL

ACCENT OCTANE

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

BEST FOR: Recreational paddlers wanting a lightweight all-around paddle for a decent price

MATERIAL: Carbon shaft with carbon fiber reinforced polymer blade

SIZE RANGE: 70 – 86 inches

ADJUSTABLE: Yes

WEIGHT: 1 lb. 11 oz.

PROS: Sturdy and lightweight construction, comfortable palm grip, streamlined blade design for high power and low fatigue, stable strokes

CONS: Not a great paddle for choppy water or surf – works best in flatwater

 

 

 

IGK PURE CARBON

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

BEST FOR: Recreational paddlers wanting a great-value lightweight and sturdy paddle

MATERIAL: Carbon fiber shaft and blade

SIZE RANGE: 72 – 86 inches

ADJUSTABLE: Yes

WEIGHT: 1 lb. 7 oz.

PROS: Three-piece easy setup, includes travel bag, high strength despite light weight

CONS: Adjustable clamp screws sometimes loosen and need to be tightened, can be hard to take apart, too long for shorter paddlers

 

 

 

BPS CARBON SLIDER

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

BEST FOR: Recreational paddlers who want a high-performance paddle for a low price point

MATERIAL: Carbon fiber shaft with a fiberglass and nylon composite blade

SIZE RANGE: 69 – 85 inches

ADJUSTABLE: Yes

WEIGHT: 1 lb. 11 oz.

PROS: The paddle has a lock mechanism that secures its adjustment, offers a smooth stroke, great value

CONS: The blade is quite stiff for beginner paddlers, can get scuffed easily

 

 

 

KIALOA MAKAI FG

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

BEST FOR: Paddlers wanting a streamlined paddle that can be tested in all types of conditions

MATERIAL: Fiberglass shaft with nylon reinforced fiberglass blade

SIZE RANGE: 70 – 86 inches

ADJUSTABLE: Yes

WEIGHT: 2 lbs. 0 oz.

PROS: Comfortable T-grip handle, easy to adjust, durable, great design, works with all types of boards and conditions

CONS: Could be too long for children or shorter paddlers

 

 

 

 

BEST SUP PADDLES FOR BUDGET

BOARDWORKS ALUMINUM ADJUSTABLE

Check out the latest price on:
REI

BEST FOR: Beginner paddlers looking for a great all-around paddle at a low price.

MATERIALS: Aluminium shaft with durable plastic blade

SIZE RANGE: 68 to 96 inches

ADJUSTABLE: Yes

WEIGHT: 2 lbs. 8 oz.

PROS: Easy to use, comfortable grip, simple, great for all types of paddleboards, low price point, size range suits both tall and short people

CONS: Too basic for experienced paddlers, does not have the lighter weight and strength of paddles made from carbon or wood

 

 

 

BIC SPORT ORIGINAL

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

BEST FOR: Families and shorter paddlers wanting a sturdy, dependable, great value paddle

MATERIALS: Aluminium shaft with durable polycarbonate blade

SIZE RANGE: 67 – 83 inches

ADJUSTABLE: Yes

WEIGHT: 2 lb. 10 oz.

PROS: Foam float keeps paddle from sinking, easy to adjust and use, very sturdy, perfect for families and smaller adults, comfortable T-grip

CONS: Adjustable shaft has been known to rust if not cleaned properly before being put away, not great for very tall paddlers

 

 

 

SEATTLE SPORTS ZEPHYR

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

BEST FOR: Experienced paddlers wanting a lightweight, adjustable, two-piece paddle for a great price

MATERIAL: Carbon shaft and glass reinforced nylon blade

SIZE RANGE: 67–83 inches

ADJUSTABLE: Yes

WEIGHT: 1 lb. 6 oz.

PROS: Lightweight, easy to adjust and use, sturdy, likely to last a long time

CONS: Might not be long enough for taller paddlers, good paddling technique important to make the most of this paddle

Best Sup Paddle - SUP Gear and Accessories – Paddleboarding Tips for Men and Women

About The Author

Adventure Sports Junkie

Chantae Reden is a journalist based in Perth, Western Australia specializing in travel, action sports, scuba diving, and adventure. Her writing has been featured in a variety of publications including Travel + Leisure, Boating Magazine, Backpacker Essentials, and many more. You can find more adventures and advice on her blog, Chantae Was Here.

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