How to size a SUP Paddle?

7 11 2009


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.



10 responses

11 11 2009

Hey Vic – what do you think about the Werner Nitro? You can get it in a 3 piece.

I’m thinking of getting one and a C4 iSup ATB for traveling and durability. I’ll spend most of my time on the Bow River in town.

11 11 2009

Hey Vic – what about the Werner Nitro 3 piece? That would be great for travel.
My plan is get a Nitro. I just have to decide betwen a ULI GX-2 or the C4 iSup ATB.

11 11 2009

I think the Nitro is a nice blade…I’ve never used a 3 piece paddle so I’m not sure what that would be like, but for river use it should be fine and will pack quite well. I’ve got a C4 Stendy which is compact for a SUP paddle, but nowhere near as small as a 3 piece.

I think an inflatable SUP is a great idea for the Bow. I’ll probably invest in one next spring. I like the ULi 11′ SUP, but the 10’6″ C4 is also an interesting design.

11 11 2009

BTW – if you get an inflatable SUP before end of March I’d love to check it out!

11 11 2009

Vik – I’ll definitely let you know if I get one before March. Warren at TheEasyRider in Edmonton is a C4 dealer so I’ll order it through him.

13 11 2009

hi all: i hate to barge in here but if you haven’t gotten your inflatables yet, i’m trying to sell my nearly brand new c4 10.6 cmac atb inflatable. i need the $ more than i need the board. if you want, email me for price, more info and lots of pix!

13 11 2009

How much do you want for it? Where is it located?

13 11 2009
Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Boards | SUP MAGIC

[…] How to size a SUP Paddle? « The Lazy Randonneur […]

19 01 2012
Darwin Web Design

I’ve just landed a 10’2″ 7S Uber Fish and am looking for a paddle.

I’ve got the choice of a fixed length 9.5 inch blade but it’s heavy, or an adjustable carbon fibre 9 inch blade. It’s $199 and $279 respectively.

What are the benefits of using a fixed length or carbon fibre?

20 01 2012

DWD – sounds like the only advantage to the fixed paddle is price. The adjustable paddle is lighter, more expensive and can fit more people or different SUP missions [flat water vs. wave].

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