4 Things To Consider When Choosing Your SUP Paddle

4 Things To Consider When Choosing Your SUP Paddle


Stand-Up Paddleboarding has blossomed even more over the past few years, and we want to help find the right paddle for you – whether it be an upgrade if you’ve taken a liking to the sport; one specifically designed for waves, touring or just for having fun!



Three different categories of SUP paddle include: FIXED, 2-PIECE or 3-PIECE.

SUP Paddle Piece Options - Poole Harbour Watersports Blog

  • FIXED (1 PIECE) –

  • Commonly used for paddlers that will exert more pressure onto the shaft of the paddle (ie those that race or use in waves – generally for riders with a composite performance board). A fixed length means that it has no fixtures on the shaft and therefore results in less flexion, whilst being tailored to the height of one rider. 



  • The most popular option if you have a solid board, as it doesn’t need to fit in a bag! It provides great stiffness through the shaft without losing the versatility of height adjustment for different riders or positions. This paddle is great if you want a stiffer paddle and aren’t too worried about space.


  • 3-PIECE –

  • The go-to option. Most popular, most versatile, pleases everyone. Inflatables have taken the market and as such this paddle is perfect for on-the-go travellers and everyday use to fit in with the rest of your kit. Adjustable to all heights and users.


What your paddle is made of will affect the weight and stiffness of your paddle. A lighter paddle is better for your posture and shoulder muscles, especially if you are paddling for considerable amounts of time. The stiffness of the paddle increases your paddling efficiency.

Paddle Shaft Stiffness - Poole Harbour Watersports Blog


  • Aluminium –

  • the paddle that most likely comes as standard with your iSUP package. The heaviest, yet strongest construction; so best if you are starting out. It also flexes more, so as you get into SUPing, best to upgrade to something lighter to feel the benefits.


  • Fibreglass –

  • A nice hybrid and middle range paddle construction. Lighter and stiffer than aluminium, yet still considerably cheaper than carbon. A great option if you want to progress in paddleboarding and go out for longer paddles, but don’t want to break the bank!


  • Carbon –

  • The lightest, stiffest and best performance paddle construction. You can get different grades of carbon content, but any % of carbon is a bonus. Carbon creates a stiffer and lighter shaft; resulting in less flex and means you can paddle more efficiently and not waste energy. Being as light as possible will help your back, shoulders and posture in the long run as you alternate paddle sides and paddle for longer. The upgrade that costs the most but is always worth it!
SUP Paddle Constructions - Poole Harbour Watersports Blog  Carbon SUP Paddle - Poole Harbour Watersports Blog


Just like us, paddle blades come in all different shapes, and each is made to excel in different ways.

  • Tear drop –

  • the rounder shape, where the blade is widest at the bottom, creating a greater surface area. As such, in each stroke, more water is displaced and powerful strokes can be taken. This is popular for beginners as it can make paddling easier. It is also great for wave riders, as they require shorter, stronger strokes to turn in the water. 


  • Rectangular –

  • The more elongated, rectangular blade shape is becoming more popular on the market (shown through the brands of Starboard, Fanatic and JP Australia). This shape allows for a more precise and straighter displacement of water, and is commonly used for those paddling a further distance where efficiency of water direction is essential (ie with a touring board, for rivers, or racing). 


  • These two shape blades are most clearly seen on the Starboard range of Enduro (teardrop) and Lima (rectangle) paddles.

SUP Paddle Blade Shapes - Poole Harbour Watersports Blog



Don’t forget to look good on the water and match your board! ;)

Choosing the Right SUP Paddle - Poole Harbour Watersports


Paddle size Chart Starboard - Poole Harbour Watersports

We hope these few points can help narrow down the wide variety of options available, to ensure you pick the perfect paddle for you.



Take a look at our paddle range here and if you require any more information or assistance, just contact us on 01202 700503 where we will be happy to help.


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