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Choosing your SUP Paddle

I-SUP Board Brands

General paddle explanation
The Paddle Explained
Dihedral or no Dihedral
High Aspect or Low Aspect
The beginners guide to paddle length
Guide to paddling styles
Thermo Glue Technology
How to shorten your paddle

 

Do not under estimate the importance of choosing a good
Carbon Paddle
 "In the World of paddles, Carbon is King"


First time paddle The Aluminium paddles with their reinforced polycarbonate blade is a very good choice for a first time paddle.  However we recommended that once you have got the basics of paddling sorted and you are starting to use the paddle more efficiently, you should then conceder up-grading to a more dynamic paddle.


First time paddle What Size Blade? If you consider yourself on the heavy side, then your overall mass will generally dictate you will prefer a larger blade area and vice-versa. If you prefer to paddle with a high stroke rate, then you may prefer a smaller blade area. For surfing, go smaller, for racing, go just a little larger. do not choose a paddle in excess of 8" wide unless you have a "Charles Atlas" build. a lot of paddlers are now choosing 6.5" wide blades

Choosing the right length paddle is very important. Some sites simply recommend a simple height + x inches. The truth is you need a little more thought than that! You must factor in the board you are using and ideally the type of paddling you will do. The target is to have the blade fully engaged at the catch while your top arm is no higher than shoulder height - clearly a thicker board will lead to a longer paddle length.

For SUP'racing, cruising and adventuring Ease of handling and pureness of blade efficiency is the key and the recommendation is to use a blade with some marginal amount of curvature in the form of a subtle concave shaped within the blade and the addition of a central spline to ensure solid anchoring of the blade and even exiting of water from the blade face, to create a balanced, powerful blade. Starboard High Aspect Bolt and  ZRE's PowerSurge are super powerful blade designs by top SUP professionals

For SUP` surfing Ease of handling is the key issue in more challenging surfing conditions and the recommendation is to use a flat-faced blade and to down-size overall paddle length and blade area by a few inches to improve ease of handling, stroke rates, switch rates between either side of the board and reduce issues of 'tripping' and being over-powered, which can result in being pulled from the board during turns. The Starboard Enduro is an ideal wave paddle blade


Medium or Small face, High or Low "cadence"
(pronounced as "Kay-dense")
This is a description that can mean high or low revolutions / high or low stroke rate. High cadence equates to a fast stroke rate made easier with the use of a small blade area and low cadence equates to a low stroke rate with a larger blade area.


Low Aspect
Low Cadence
Paddles with their medium to large sized blades are ideal for general / crossover / cruising. These offer easy cruising with minimum of effort. Most low cadence blades are designed with a dihedral face to give good steady power through the stroke.

High Aspect
High Cadence
Paddles with their smaller blades offer the ability for a higher stroke rate and bursts of fast acceleration due to the lower energy required for each stroke. Most high cadence paddles are designed with a flat blade face as the stroke rate will be higher and more assertive. However a slight dihedral on the face is often preferred.

The Paddle explained

All of our SUP paddles will float at any finished length. The paddles are suitable for stand up paddlers of any height with the paddle maximum length of 220cm.

All paddles can be supplied without the handle fitted: the shaft can therefore be cut down to the right length before the handle is inserted and glued to the shaft tip.

The most important factors in choosing the length for your paddle are your height and the type of paddling you'll be doing.

Use the selector below to help find your ideal paddle length for standup paddle surfing.

This is a guide only: personal preference is also an important factor.

We can also supply all paddles cut to the correct length with the handles fitted.  

  NOTE: if you do not specify a paddle length in your order, we will supply your paddle un-cut for you trim to length and fix the T-bar handle yourself.


The beginners guide to paddle length

The table set out below is only a guide (somewhere to start for the height of your first paddle) The most important factors in choosing the length for your paddle are your height and the type of paddling you'll be doing, as you progress, other variable will come into the decision making such as the type of board you are using as well as your personal paddling style. Use the table below to help find your paddle length for standup paddle boarding. The table is a guide only: personal preference is also an important factor. The length of paddles for standup paddling is quoted in feet and inches, inches and cm: Aficionados of stand up paddle surfing like to use imperial measurements, this is due to the Hawaiian origin of the sport.  + 7" (18cm) - Racing / Touring

Approximate Paddlers Height   Guide Paddle Length
5' 1" - 5' 2" 61"- 62" 155 -  158 cm 175 - 180cm 69" - 71"
5' 3" - 5' 4" 63"- 64" 160  - 163 cm 180 - 185cm 71" - 73"
5' 5" - 5' 6" 65"- 66" 165  - 168 cm 185 - 190cm 73" - 75"
5' 7" - 5' 8" 67"- 68" 170  - 173 cm 190 - 195cm 75" - 77"
5' 9" - 5' 10" 69"- 70" 175  - 178 cm 195 - 200cm 77" -79"
5' 11" - 6' 0" 71"- 72" 180  - 183 cm 200 - 205cm 79" - 81"
6' 1" - 6' 2" 73"- 74" 185  - 188 cm 205 - 210cm 81" - 83"
6' 3" - 6' 4" 75"- 76" 190  - 193 cm 210 - 215cm 83" - 85"
6' 5" - 6' 6" 77"- 78" 195  - 198 cm 215 - 220cm 85" - 87"
6' 7" - 6' 8" 79"- 80" 200  - 203 cm   220 - 225cm 87" - 89"

Also have a look here
Please remember, the above is only a guide: We would suggest that if in doubt, choose a paddle that is a little longer than you think you may need, you can always shorten the Staff later, but you can't make it longer. The shorter your paddle the more it will strain your back. If it is too long you cannot generate sufficient power in your stroke. You can always ask for the "T" bar handle not to be fixed, you can then easily adjust the shaft length and fix the "T" bar in place with a single rivet once you are comfortable with the paddle length.
Choosing the right length paddle is very important. Some sites simply recommend a simple height + x inches. The truth is you need a little more thought than that! You must factor in the board you are using and ideally the type of paddling you will do. The target is to have the blade fully engaged at the catch while your top arm is no higher than shoulder height - clearly a thicker board will lead to a longer paddle length. Read Steve West's theory on paddle lengths
Golden Rule It is far easier to use a paddle that is a little too long  than it is to use one that is a little too short..!

Guide for Paddling styles:
For Surf Paddling Ease of handling is the key issue in more challenging surfing conditions and as a guide, , your paddle should be between head height and no more than than 8" above your your height, depending on your preferred stance.
For Touring / Cruising & Adventuring Ease of handling and pureness of blade efficiency is the key. As a guide, your paddle should be between 7" to 10"above your your head height, depending on your stance
For Racing / Sprint Ease of handling and pureness of blade efficiency is the key. As a guide, your paddle should be between 6" to 9"above your your head height, depending on your stance

Dihedral or no Dihedral   that is the question.

  • Lower aspect blades: These seem to work best with a dihedral to help stop the feathering during the power phase, however, the dihedral should only be slight as the objective of the blade is to remain stationary in the water, therefore a dihedral should not come in to play until the blade is pulled through the water.

  • High Aspect blades: These seldom have dihedrals designed in. High aspect blades typically have very subtle design features like rebound scoop tips which negate the need for dihedrals and allow the blade to catch and remain static in the water.

Blue Chip tests the High Aspect Paddle design

  • You will feel the extra length of the High Aspect blades right away. You will immediately feel the benefit of the extra reach with the high aspect blade as well as superb catch on the blade entry coupled with a seemingly effortless recovery phase of the stroke.

  • The narrow blade profile provides a comfortable connection from the moment the blade enters the water. “High Aspect” blades slide effortlessly into the catch phase with no big snatch of load on the blade as you power up compared to the “tear drop”. As you progress into the “power” phase and squeeze the blade further below the surface the catch remains positive throughout the “power” phase.

  • A not insignificant benefit of high aspect blades is the lack of effort required for the recovery element. The high aspect blade will just slip out of the water sideways with very minimal resistance

How to shorten your paddle

Select Paddle Length:
Select a paddle length based on your height and paddling style. A shorter paddle is best for racing & waves,
a longer paddle is best for all round use and touring.
Use the following guidelines below:
Wave riding  start with: -18cm/5" (this can be shortened again later if required)
Racing / Touring: 18cm/ 7" (this can be shortened again later if required)

These measurements include the handle in the final length of the paddle.
Mark the Shaft:
Place tape around the shaft where you plan to cut. Mark the cutting location on the tape.
Cut the Shaft:
Cut the shaft using a hacksaw. Be sure to wear eye protection and a dust mask.
Finishing:
Smooth any rough edges using sandpaper or a file. Then remove the tape and prepare to install the handle.

Thermo Glue Technology

All Starboard paddle components can be purchased separately from Blue Chip
and assembled using the thermo glue system

Heat the handle:
Using a standard hair dryer, heat gun on LOW setting or steam from a tea kettle, heat all sides of the handle until the glue becomes soft and pliable. Heating the glue takes several minutes
Insert the handle:
Once the glue is warm, insert the handle in the shaft. A small bead of glue will build up between the shaft and the handle. Leave this bead of glue until the handle cools for a few minutes, and then wipe off (see step 4).
Align the handle:
Immediately after inserting the handle, align it properly. Be sure the handle and blade are in a straight line. If the glue cools before the handle and blade are aligned, simply apply heat to the shaft near the handle for a few moments to loosen the glue and then re-align the handle.
Remove the excess glue:
After 1-2 minutes, the excess glue should be cool enough to be removed. Using your thumb, simply push the bead of glue off with finger pressure. The glue will remain easy to remove for several minutes. If the glue becomes too difficult to remove with finger pressure, apply heat until it becomes soft and easy to remove.
Ready to use:
Allow the glue to cool to room temperature prior to use. The handle can be removed at any time by simply re-applying heat.

Thermo Glue Stick for structural composite polymers
   

You will find some more interesting paddle tips on how to choose and create a paddle here
For this example we have used a Blue Chip Standard aluminium shafted paddle

  You will need the following tools.
  1. Carefully cut and remove the outer protective pvc covering.
  2. Drill out the retaining rivet.
  3. Remove the grip from the shaft completely.
  4. Apply a small length of masking tape all the way around the shaft to mark the derided shaft length.
  5. Carefully cut the shaft at the desired length. turn the shaft as you cut so that you gradually cut through the surface of the shaft all the way round until the unwanted part falls off.
  6. Now slide the replacement heat shrink pvc protective covering down the shaft and out of the way.
  7. Place the grip along side the shortened shaft.
  8. Place some masking tape onto the shaft and mark where the new rivet will go. Make sure that you mark a point not in line to where the original rivet hole is located in the grip.
  9. Slide the grip into place making sure it is facing the correct way round. (there is a front and back to most grips)
  10. Carefully drill a new hole in the shaft and grip stem.
  11. In case you omitted stage "6" now slide the replacement heat shrink pvc protective covering down the shaft and out of the way.
  12. Rivet the grip in place.
  13. Slide the heat shrink pvc protective covering back to the top of the shaft and overlap the grip a little
  14. Boil a kettle and hold the heat shrink pvc covering over the steam for a minute or so until the covering has shrunk to give a good fit on the shaft.

  1. A sharp knife
  2. A power drill with a 5mm drill bit
  3. Masking tape
  4. A hand riveting tool
  5. A pen or pencil

You will need the following replacement items.

  1. A 5mm blind rivet
  2. A length of pvc heat shrink protective covering

 

Heat Shrink protective covering and 5mm blind rivet kit for aluminium shaft:
Note,
if you have purchased you paddle from Blue Chip, this kit is free, just call us on 0208 715 0040 
£5
free delivery

Heat Shrink protective covering and superglue for carbon shaft. Note, if you have purchased you paddle from Blue Chip, this kit is free, just call us on 0208 715 0040
£5
free delivery

Blue Chip Thermo Glue Stick for structural composite polymers
Heat range 180° to 190° plus heat shrink protective covering. 
Note,
When applied correctly, the Blue Chip Glue Stick will give an almost permanent bond for structural composite polymers and will only release with heat 180° to 190°


Also checkout our new 5 Minute Clear Thermal Release Epoxy Repair Glue
Sets in 5 minutes - full strength in 1 hour and separates at 245ºc