When you get your first stand up paddle [SUP] board you’ll need a couple things to get out on the water. The most important of which is your paddle. SUP paddles come in a wide range of sizes so it can be confusing when deciding which length to get. Here are a few ideas I’ve picked up online for sizing your first paddle:
- for surf get a paddle 6″ – 8″ taller than you are
- for flat water get a paddle 8″ – 10″ taller than you are
- turn the paddle blade up and where the blade meets the shaft should be about eye height
- raise your arm straight in the air. Measure from the ground to your wrist. That’s the length of paddle you need.
- keep your paddle shaft long and secure the handle with electrical tape or shoe goo so it’s removable. Use it and cut it down an inch or so at a time until you find the ideal length then epoxy it in.
- buy an adjustable paddle like the C4 Stendy shown in the video above. Use it until you settle on a length you like.
I think the best idea above is to get an adjustable paddle first. This lets you figure out your preferred paddle length before you invest in a fixed length paddle. Since you may want a longer of shorter second paddle depending what you mainly do – surf or flat water – the adjustable can fill that role and be a backup paddle in case you break your main paddle. You’ll also be able to lend your SUP to a friend and size them with the adjustable paddle so they can have a comfortable experience. The downside with this approach is that a decent adjustable paddle costs as much as a high quality fixed length paddle so you’ll have to spend twice the $$ the first time unless you know a friend or a SUP dealer who might lend or rent you an adjustable paddle.