Carbon SUP paddles – worth the upgrade?

Carbon SUP paddles – worth the upgrade?

SUP paddles and upgrading your alloy to a carbon version. 


SUP is defined by the engine you ‘drive’ with. It’s all too easy to focus on the board – as many do. But without a SUP paddle you’ll just be standing and floating. Your paddle is everything, make no mistake about it. Which begs the question: why not buy as much performance as you can afford?




Buying your first SUP (and paddle).


If you’re in the market to purchase your first stand up paddle you’ve probably done some homework. Researching and perusing board specs, brands and types to determine what you want. Perhaps you’ve also asked questions via the power of social media…


Carbon SUP paddles - worth the upgrade?  
Your SUP paddle is the one defining piece of equipment you have.
For those looking at inflatables, the messages you get back might be hazy. What makes a good iSUP? That query alone can open a whole can of worms. Unfortunately, other than quoting marketing spiel, not many really appreciate what makes an efficient inflatable board shape. For instance, where the rail seams join and how many rail seams are employed can affect how an iSUP moves through the water. This is just one area that won’t be considered or covered by your research. But we digress. 

Nowhere in the mix will be anything to do with SUP paddles. Down the line they may come into question. But only with a number of hours paddling under your belt. Yet from the get go paddles should be considered.




 A good quality SUP paddle allows tip top performance.


SUP progression made more efficient. 


We hear it all the time; ‘I’m just a beginner. I wouldn’t know the difference’. Which isn’t quite true. Give a new SUPer a lesser quality paddle AND something higher end and they’ll know there’s a difference. He/she mightn’t be able to articulate what but the appreciation will be there.


Understandably not everyone gets the chance described. And there’s unconscious action of it being out of sight, out of mind. Going with the included SUP package paddle is just a done thing. When actually approaching the whole buying process with a paddle upgrade option in mind is better.



Carbon SUP paddles - worth the upgrade?


 The right SUP paddle makes all the difference – from beginner to expert.



Why upgrade your SUP paddle?


We’ve talked about SUP paddles being the defining piece of equipment you can own. Efficiency is another word used. But how does this present itself in a practical situation?

SUP paddle efficiency = less effort to move riders through the water. This in turn means fatigue doesn’t set in as quickly. Sessions are prolonged and the art of paddling a board whilst standing won’t feel as arduous. On top of which joints, muscles and limbs won’t feel quite as stressed.

Stand up paddle boarding is a physical activity requiring energetic input from the rider. One of SUP’s USPs is its health benefits. We’re sure you’ve heard all the jargon about ‘core strength’ and so on. This is true but it requires paddlers to actually put some effort in to reap those benefits. Using a lesser quality paddle can actually be detrimental to all of the above. And in time riders end up with worn and tired bodies. Even from just paddling recreationally. So an upgrade in paddle quality will help with all these things and ultimately make your stand up paddling more fun.






Why carbon?


Carbon doesn’t ‘give’ as much through the paddle stroke. The stiffer traits of a carbon SUP paddle mean the drive and thrust forwards is quicker with less energy wasted. In some cases, riders may prefer some flex in their SUP paddle shaft. But where you definitely don’t need this is around the blade area.

A less efficient alloy paddle will twist and bend across its blade. This is hydrodynamically impractical. Water flow becomes disrupted and power’s lost. The rider has to expel more energy just to draw the stroke throw to the recovery stage. In contrast, a well designed/manufactured carbon paddle won’t or shouldn’t do this.

Note: Whilst we’re talking about carbon in this paragraph we should add that fibreglass can be a good choice as well. In some cases, glass paddles are more forgiving. And it should come as welcome news that Freshwater Bay Paddleboard Co’s standard iSUP packages are supplied with fibreglass paddles as standard. No cheap alloy rubbish here!



The bottom line with SUP paddles.


Ultimately FUN is the name of the game with anything outdoor and recreational. SUP is no different. Even if only paddling mere yards from the beach, for a few days in summer, you still want to be having fun.



Carbon SUP paddles - worth the upgrade?


 The better you SUP paddle the more fun you’ll have.


Umming and ahhing about upgrading your SUP paddle shouldn’t even be a consideration. If the option’s there then do it. Research anything to do with paddles and paddling and you’ll find the same advice (as long as the advice is from a reputable source of proven experience).

Going back to what we said at the start of this article. SUP paddles are your defining and therefore most important piece of equipment. Using the best you can afford is therefore best practice. 

If you have any questions about paddles, paddling or Freshwater Bay Paddleboard Co’s range of carbon SUP paddles then get in touch.