Updated on September 2, 2020

Stand-up Paddle Boarding (SUP) paddles are quite different than canoe or kayak paddles because of the standing position you’re in when you paddle. A SUP paddle is a one-sided paddle with an extra-long shaft that should reach the water without the user bending over. So, what makes the best SUP paddles stand out from the others?

The best SUP paddles are lightweight, durable, adjustable, and affordable. They also tend to carry the best ratings and feature the best quality construction. Taking all these factors into consideration, here are our top picks.

For more of our top paddleboarding gear recommendations, check out the Best SUP Roof Racks.

 

Quick Answer - The Best SUP Paddles

  1. KIALOA Insanity
  2. Boardworks Aluminum Adjustable
  3. Aqua-Bound Lyric
  4. Werner Flash 85
  5. KIALOA Makai FG
  6. Boardworks Kraken Adjustable
  7. BPS Adjustable Two-Piece
  8. Super Paddles Elite 12K
  9. Abahub 3-Piece

 

Comparison Table - Best SUP Paddle

PictureNameLengthWeightFloatationPriceRating
KIALOA InsanityAdjustable from 70” to 86”1.4 lbsYes$$$4.3
AirheadAdjustable from 63” to 86”2.75 lbsNo$4.3
Boardworks Aluminum AdjustableBoardworks Aluminum AdjustableAdjustable from 68” to 88”2 lbs 9.5 ozNo$4.8
Aqua-Bound LyricAqua-Bound LyricAdjustable from 64-74” (small) or 70-80” (large)1 lb 7.5 ozYes$$4.8
Werner Flash 85Adjustable from 54-70”1 lb 10 ozUnknown$$4.3
KIALOA Makai FGAdjustable from 70-86”2 lbsYes, When Assembled$$4.5
Boardworks Kraken AdjustableBoardworks Kraken AdjustableAdjustable from 70-86”1 lb 6 ozNo$$$4.8
BPS Adjustable Two-PieceAdjustable from 71” to 84”2.1 lbsYes$4.6
Super Paddles Elite 12KAdjustable from 72” to 86”1 lb 8 ozYes$$$4.5
Abahub 3-PieceAdjustable from 67-86”1 lb 14 ozYes$4.1
PictureNameLengthWeightFloatationPriceRating
Want to learn more about a technical term? Check out our Features Explained section below.

Need buying advice? Take a look at these Things to Consider.

Reviews - The Best Paddles for Stand Up Paddleboarding

KIALOA Insanity

Specs
  • Floatation: Yes
  • Grip: T-Shaped Handle
  • Length: Adjustable from 70” to 86”
  • Weight: 1.4 lbs
  • Material: Fiberglass Shaft and Blade
  • Blade Offset: Yes
Features
  • Adjusts With A Simple, Locking Push-Button System To Change Length On-The-Go
  • Made Of Top Quality Fiberglass Which Is Lightweight, Impact-Resistant, And Flexible
  • Rubberized Coating On The T-Shaped Handle Provides A Better Grip
  • Made From Post-Manufactured Recycled Materials To Match Your Eco-Mindedness

BEST QUALITY-MADE PADDLE

What’s really insane is how lightweight this ultra-durable paddle is, a testament to the quality and innovativeness of its construction. For all its durability, you might not expect it to be quite so flexible either, but it’s responsive to the currents. That pliancy and the ergonomic handle both reduce the amount of strain on your arms.

If you consider yourself eco-conscious, you might be interested to know this paddle is made out of pre-consumer materials from diaper manufacturers. Instead of going to waste, those materials get re-fabricated into this superior watersport equipment. You can feel good about the reduced environmental impact while you’re out there enjoying the great outdoors!

Airhead

Specs
  • Floatation: No
  • Grip: T-Shaped Handle
  • Length: Adjustable from 63” to 86”
  • Weight: 2.75 lbs
  • Material: Aluminum Shaft and Plastic, Fiberglass-reinforced Blade
  • Blade Offset: Unknown
Features
  • Lightweight Oval Shaft Minimizes Arm Fatigue
  • Blade Is Reinforced With Fiberglass For Durability And Lightweight
  • Bright Summer-Friendly Colors
  • Adjustable One-Piece Shaft

BEST CHILDREN’S AND DABBLER’S PADDLE

You’d be hard-pressed to find a used paddle for the cost of this brand-new one. If you just want to get out on the water and aren’t picky about how, then this paddle is a great place to start. Children and those who just want to try stand-up paddleboarding should find this paddle works just fine for their needs.

Because it’s made out of inexpensive materials, the paddle is a little on the heavier side and may not stand up to rigorous everyday use. Even still, the paddle is still manageable and sufficient for even small paddlers if they’re just looking for some uninhibited fun.

Boardworks Aluminum Adjustable

Specs
  • Floatation: No
  • Grip: Palm Grip
  • Length: Adjustable from 68” to 88”
  • Weight: 2 lbs 9.5 oz
  • Material: Aluminum Shaft and Fiberglass-Reinforced Nylon Blade
  • Blade Offset: Yes, 10 Degrees
Features
  • Durable, Corrosion-Resistant Construction For Long-Term Use
  • Reinforced Blade Stands Up To Rigorous Use
  • User-Friendly Grip And Paddle Angle
  • Two-Piece Construction That’s Easier To Transport And Store
Boardworks Aluminum Adjustable

BEST ADJUSTABLE SIZE RANGE

This paddle adjusts to fit riders from 4’10” up to 6’6,” one of the highest ranges of adjustability on this list. Every member of the family or camp should be able to find a length that fits them. 

Though not the cheapest or highest priced paddle on this list, the decent entry-level model gives you all the most important features a paddleboarder needs if they’re not just playing around. The blade is slightly offset, so it takes less body force to move through the water. The sensible blade size and weight make the paddle easy to maneuver in flatwater conditions.

Aqua-Bound Lyric

Specs
  • Floatation: Yes
  • Grip: Contoured Palm Grip
  • Length: Adjustable from 64-74” (small) or 70-80” (large)
  • Weight: 1 lb 7.5 oz
  • Material: Carbon Fiber Shaft, Polymer Blade
  • Blade Offset: Yes, 10 Degrees
Features
  • Low Swing Weight And Flex Reduce Arm Fatigue
  • Polynesian Blade Graphic Enhances Aesthetic Appeal
  • Breaks Down Into 2 Pieces For Portability And Storage
  • Designed For Women With A Smaller Blade And Lighter Weight
  • Two Sizes And Adjustable Length To Accommodate More Riders
Aqua-Bound Lyric

BEST LADIES’ PADDLE

The Lyric was made specifically with a woman’s smaller frame in mind. The smaller features and lighter weight enhance usability without being wimpy. The blade has a powerful force with a forgiving flex that makes for a smooth, enjoyable experience.

Carbon fiber has some of the most durable qualities while maintaining a light weight, so it’s no wonder the material was chosen for this particular paddle. Combined with the reinforced blade, this paddle isn’t for the dainty of heart. It can withstand the rigors your hardcore stamina places on it.

Werner Flash 85

Specs
  • Floatation: Unknown
  • Grip: Palm Grip
  • Length: Adjustable from 54-70”
  • Weight: 1 lb 10 oz
  • Material: Fiberglass Shaft, Injection-molded Blade
  • Blade Offset: Yes, 10 Degrees
Features
  • Length And Height Are Printed On The Shaft For Easy Reference
  • Slender, Rectangular Blade That’s Easier For Kids To Handle
  • Impact- And Wear-resistant Blade Tolerates Rough Handling
  • Kid-sized Handle That Fits Better In Smaller Hands
  • Two-piece Paddle Comes Apart For Transport And Storage

BEST KIDS’ PADDLE

This paddle is the perfect choice for kids from about ages 6-13 to learn on. The adjustable height grows with your child from 3 ft 8 in to 5 ft, when they graduate to an adult-sized paddle. The light swing weight and small blade are easier for kids to maneuver without getting worn out.

The straightforward paddle makes paddleboarding accessible to younger crowds with its straight shaft, simple adjustment system, and affordable price. Kids tend to be tough on their “toys” too, but this paddle is ready for it with its reinforced blade. Get the whole family in on SUP-ing this year!

KIALOA Makai FG

Specs
  • Floatation: Yes, When Assembled
  • Grip: Palm Grip
  • Length: Adjustable from 70-86”
  • Weight: 2 lbs
  • Material: Fiberglass Shaft And Blade
  • Blade Offset: Yes, 8 Degrees
Features
  • Shaft Is Reinforced With A Carbon Layer And The Blade Is Reinforced With Nylon
  • Palm Grip Fits The Contour Of Your Hand To Reduce Fatigue
  • Simple Palm Lever Allows You To Adjust The Length On-the-go
  • Two-piece Construction Makes The Paddle Easier To Transport And Store

BEST PADDLE FOR DURABILITY

The main design focus of the Makai was on durability, especially for limit-pushing riders and renters. You know the kind, the ones who give meaning to “ride it like a rental.” The reinforced blade and shaft stand up against the rocks, tree trunks, and sand bottoms you’ll inevitably push up against anyway.

The adjustable handle accommodates riders of different sizes. All you have to do is lift the lever on the handle and pull the shaft to lengthen it. Switching between riders is a cinch! The same lever disconnects the two pieces of the paddle so you can slide them into your trunk or storage cubby.

Boardworks Kraken Adjustable

Specs
  • Floatation: No
  • Grip: Palm Grip
  • Length: Adjustable from 70-86”
  • Weight: 1 lb 6 oz
  • Material: Carbon Fiber Shaft And Fiberglass Blade
  • Blade Offset: Yes
Features
  • Separates Into 2 Pieces For Easy Storage And Transport
  • Features A Bamboo Print That Matches The Kraken SUP Boards
  • Reinforced Blade Edging Protects Against Damage
  • Palm Grip Fits The Contour Of Your Hand To Reduce Fatigue
Boardworks Kraken Adjustable

BEST LIGHTWEIGHT SUP PADDLE 

At 1lb 6oz, the Kraken paddle is one of the lightest weight models on this list of top paddles, which means it’s one of the easiest to manage. It practically floats with you through the water as each stroke gives you a good boost. The weight also allows you to test your endurance because it won’t fatigue your arms as fast as heavier varieties.

Its lightweight qualities aren’t the paddle’s only notable features: the paddle is also durable and stylish like its namesake board. The bamboo veneer around the blade features the same seafaring design as the Kraken board for a coordinated look.

BPS Adjustable Two-Piece

Specs
  • Floatation: Yes
  • Grip: Ergonomic T-Shaped Handle
  • Length: Adjustable from 71” to 84”
  • Weight: 2.1 lbs
  • Material: Aluminum Shaft, Nylon Blade
  • Blade Offset: Yes
Features
  • Strong, Reliable Construction With Lightweight Feel
  • Two-Piece Paddle Comes Apart for Storage and Transfer
  • Ergonomic Handle and Paddle Shape for User-Friendly Use
  • Easy Length Adjustment That Locks Into Place

BEST INEXPENSIVE, RELIABLE PADDLE

This popular paddle has high ratings and scores of fans on Amazon because of its inexpensive price and practical construction. In fact, this paddle is a prime choice if you need multiples for groups or rental purposes. The adjustable height accommodates almost every paddler in your group.

The company offers a 12-month “bulletproof” guarantee should anything happen to the paddle, which takes some of the pressure off of your decision. This SUP paddle floats, weighs less than a baseball bat, and works efficiently in the water with its ergonomic design, so you shouldn’t have any problems favoring it.

Super Paddles Elite 12K

Specs
  • Floatation: Yes
  • Grip: Palm Grip
  • Length: Adjustable from 72” to 86”
  • Weight: 1 lb 8 oz
  • Material: Carbon Shaft, Nylon Blade with Bamboo Veneer
  • Blade Offset: Yes, 5 Degrees
Features
  • Premium 3-Piece Construction Makes It Ultra-Portable And Storable
  • Comes With A Storage Bag With Shoulder Strap To Carry And Protect The Paddle
  • Bamboo Veneer Enhances The Style Factor
  • Reinforced Carbon Fiber Has High Longevity Value
  • Adjustable For A Large Range Of Paddlers Over 5’ Tall

BEST OVERALL PREMIUM PADDLE FOR AVID BOARDERS

Hey Goldilocks, this paddle is “just right.” It has everything you could ask for in a paddle plus the premium construction to match. You do have to dig a little deeper into your pocketbook for this one, but this paddle pays for itself for all the years of amazing experiences you’ll get out of it. It has a beginner-friendly usability with high-performance capabilities as you advance your skill levels.

When you’re done, the ultra-durable carbon fiber paddle breaks down into three pieces so you can fit it in your car or garage with ease. Even the included carrying case leaves nothing more to be desired. Three padded compartments protect all your paddle pieces while the heat-reflective aluminum liner shuts down heat damage.

Abahub 3-Piece

Specs
  • Floatation: Yes
  • Grip: Oval Ergonomic Handle
  • Length: Adjustable from 67-86”
  • Weight: 1 lb 14 oz
  • Material: Carbon Shaft, Fiberglass And Polymer Blade
  • Blade Offset: Yes, 10 Degrees
Features
  • Carbon Composite Shaft Keeps The Paddle Lightweight And Forgiving
  • Ergonomic Handle Reduces Hand Fatigue
  • Quick-adjust Shaft With Pin-button Locking Mechanism
  • Comes With A Travel Bag To Carry The Disassembled 3-piece Paddle
  • Offset, Concave Blade Shape For Smooth, Powerful Strokes

BEST ALL-PURPOSE SUP PADDLE

You’re looking all over for a SUP paddle, unsure what to pick with all the information you have to sift through. Well, my friend, this Abahub model won’t do you wrong, especially if you’re wavering about price or user-friendliness. It has a middle-of-the-line seriousness about it that meets your most basic needs (as long as you’re over 5’ tall).

The paddle offers reasonable mechanics with its lightweight, durable design. The blade powers you through the water with a level of flexibility that prevents it from breaking or yanking. Meanwhile, your hands rest comfortably up against the ergonomic grip. When it’s time to pack up, the paddle breaks down into 3 pieces and fits inside the included storage case for convenience.

 

 

THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN BUYING A SUP PADDLE

MATERIALS

SUP paddle shafts and blades are usually made out of some combination of plastic, carbon fiber, aluminum, fiberglass, and nylon. Each material has its advantages and disadvantages, but the desired final product is always a lightweight yet durable paddle. Aluminum and nylon tend to be on the cheaper and slightly heavier side while fiberglass and carbon fiber increase the price but are even lighter and higher quality.

 

LENGTH

The best SUP paddle should reach the water without having to bend over (too short) or reach too high (too long). To get the length right, you typically want to add 8-12” to your height. When you stand the paddle on end next to your body, you should be able to hold the grip with your hand straight above your head. You just need to find an adjustable paddle within this correct size range.

 

BLADE

The shape, size, and offset of the blade affects how you move through the water. Generally, larger people do well with larger, more powerful blades and smaller blades are easier for smaller people to wield. The bottom of the blade will either have an arching teardrop shape or a rectangular shape. Teardrops provide a more powerful stroke while rectangular blades take less effort for leisurely paddling. Finally, the offset has a subtle effect on your stroke and most recreational paddles have around a 10 degree offset.

 

STORAGE

SUP paddles can be pretty long and cumbersome when you consider your storage options at home. A paddle that breaks down into two or three pieces is easier to transport in a vehicle and store in a basement or garage than a long one-piece paddle. If your space is limited, consider whether or not your paddle will fit.

 

WEIGHT

The difference between a 1lb paddle and a 2lb paddle may sound trivial until you multiply it by thousands of strokes over the course of a single trip. The lighter the SUP paddle, the less fatigued your arms get, so choose a lighter model especially if you plan to be on the water for awhile.

REI offers a more in-depth explanation about how to choose the perfect SUP paddle.

 

 

FEATURES EXPLAINED

SHAFT

The shaft of an SUP paddle is the long handle portion between the grip and blade. The length and material the shaft are made out of influence how well you paddle.

BLADE

The blade is the wide, lower part of the paddle that dips into the water and propels the paddleboard forward. The blade’s offset angle, surface area, and shape affect the power of your stroke.

BLADE OFFSET

The offset of the blade is the angle it forms in relation to the shaft. An offset around 10 degrees is practical for most recreational paddlers while a 12 degree offset is best for racing.

GRIP

The portion at the top of the paddle that you hold in your hand is refered to as the grip. A T-shaped grip looks the way it sounds with a bar that crosses the handle. An oval or palm grip fits right into the middle of your hand. Some grips are rubberized to make them easier to hold.

ERGONOMICS

Ergonomics is the study of efficiency. As it pertains to SUP paddles, ergonomics refers to how easy the paddle is to use, how friendly the grip is on your hands, and how well the paddle maintains your posture. Proper ergonomics help prevent strain and misalignment.

Check out this link for a visual representation of the anatomy of an SUP paddle.

READ MORE

For more of our top stand up paddle boarding gear recommendations, check out these popular articles:

About The Author

Jessica Collins is a barefoot health and fitness writer and nature enthusiast who lives in rural Wisconsin with her husband and two kids. She's always scouting local hiking trails to go hiking and forest bathing on and streams for kayaking. She's also a certified personal trainer and teaches weekly fitness classes. You can find more of her fitness and forest bathing content on FlashFit Trainer (https://flashfittrainer.com/) and Forest Bathing Central (https://www.forestbathingcentral.com/).

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