How to Choose a Stand-Up Paddle
From the coasts, to the Midwest, recently there’s been a buzz about stand-up paddling. With that buzz, there comes a lot of questions. One of the main questions, is “How do I choose a stand-up paddle?” Although there are a lot of factors involved in choosing a paddle, there is a lot of personal preference involved as well.
There are many materials that the blades, shafts, and grips of a stand-up paddle can be made from. All of these materials factor into the durability and the weight of the paddle. Here are a few examples:
Aluminum – Although aluminum tends to be inexpensive, it also tends to be heavier and cold to the touch compared to other materials such as fiberglass and carbon. The Spark from Aqua-Bound has an aluminum shaft and is typically used for recreational stand-up paddling.
Fiberglass – Fiberglass is often used in stand-up paddle shafts but also in the blades. Fiberglass is stiff, yet light and provides the necessary balance between value (ex: aluminum) and performance (ex: carbon). The Malta Fiberglass has a 100% carbon shaft, but yet has a lightweight compression molded fiberglass blade.
Carbon – Carbon is often used for performance paddling as it is the most light-weight material used in paddles. Stiff, yet durable, carbon fiber will provide for a fun and less fatiguing time on the water. Although carbon costs more than other materials, we believe you will find the expense to be worth it, whether it is in a carbon shaft and a carbon reinforced blade (Challenge 85) or a carbon shaft, ferrule, grip, and compression molded carbon blade (Malta Carbon).
Length of Paddle
What size paddle do I need? Depending on your height and what style of paddling you are going to do, your stand-up paddle should be your height plus 6-12 inches.
Adjustable vs. Fixed
One of the commonly asked questions is whether an adjustable or a fixed sized paddle is right for you. Although it is based on personal preferences, there are benefits to each.
With an adjustable paddle, you are able to leave it at the cabin or share it with your family and friends as the shaft extends and locks in different lengths. Aqua-Bound’s paddles typically range 10” in length and can lock into place in 2” increments (ex: 64-74”, 70-80”, 76-86”).
Adjustable paddles are great if more than one person is going to be using the paddle. But, the perfect paddle is one that is made to fit you. Fixed length paddles are generally made to fit one person and produce the best outcome for the user as it is sized to your height.
Blade Shape/Surface Area
Paddles are often split between two groups: paddles that are used for surfing and paddles that are used for cruising/touring. Surf paddles often have a larger surface area as the extra surface area helps in leveraging against the water. Cruising/touring paddles have a smaller surface area in order to have a higher cadence when paddling and to be less fatiguing over long trips. Mid-sized blades are also popular and can be used for most any type of paddling.
Buy what you can afford. Obviously, the more spendy the paddle, the higher quality the paddle. Typically, more expensive paddles are built out of more durable, lightweight materials that will make your adventures a breeze. However, that is not saying that less expensive paddles aren’t going to be durable. More expensive paddles are also more often used for surfing, racing, or performance. If you’re looking for a nice paddle around the lake at the cabin, a recreational or a touring paddle in your price point might be for you!
Taking You to Another Place
Choosing a stand-up paddle is the more difficult part of the process as there are many decisions to make – from paddle size to material to color, etc. However, once the decision is made, we believe that you will have a phenomenal time on the water with your new stand-up paddle! Check out Aqua-Bound’s stand-up paddles today and find your perfect fit to take you to another place.