You sure won't get very far on a stand up paddleboard without a paddle. If you are sharing a board with other people or if you are young and growing, you'll need to buy multiple paddles that correspond to the height of the person using the stand up paddleboard. The type of SUPing you will be doing also affects the paddle length you will need.
Why waste your money on multiple paddles? Buy an adjustable length SUP paddle. It doesn't matter what your height is or what type of water you will be using your SUP in when you have an adjustable length paddleboard paddle.
Available in two basic size ranges, it is important that you match your paddle size to the type of riding you will be doing. This is where an adjustable SUP paddle really comes in handy:
- Surfing or white water: Your paddle should be 6 to 8 inches taller than you are in heavy surf.
- Flat water or small waves: Your SUP paddle should be 8-10 inches taller than you are for most SUP usage including short, flat water touring or in small waves.
- Racing or long tours: Use a paddle that is 10-12 inches taller than you are to get the maximum speed and most from each paddle stroke.
The length of your paddle is not the only consideration you need to make when choosing a SUP paddle. The shaft material of your paddle will also affect your overall enjoyment and performance:
- Aluminum Shaft SUP Paddle: This is the most economic shaft material but is also the heaviest. It can be used for any type of SUPing, but if you will be spending long periods paddling or are racing, this might not be the best shaft for you.
- Fiberglass Paddle: Fiberglass SUP paddle shafts are about 10% lighter than Aluminum shafts. Although they aren't the lightest SUP shaft made, they offer a good balance between cost and weight.
- Carbon Fiber SUP Paddle: The lightest and strongest SUP paddle shaft made, carbon fiber is about 25% lighter than an aluminum shaft. This is the best type of SUP shaft made and is the perfect choice for any type of surf.