So, you’re in the market for a new SUP paddle. Should you buy an adjustable paddle or a one piece? Considering paddle prices, this isn’t a consideration to be taken lightly. Quality paddles can cost a few hundred dollars, so it’s important to make the correct decision. Think about these 5 criteria during your decision making process.
Will multiple family members be using the same paddle? If so, you need an adjustable SUP paddle. The same goes for friends. If you plan on letting your friends use your equipment, it would be nice if they were to be able to paddle easily. Who knows, if they like it, they might buy their own SUP and join you.
Are you a beginner/novice paddler, or have you been paddle surfing for years, and love to do 20 KM races? Your experience level will contribute to the type of paddle you get.
New paddlers need to learn the proper paddle height, as then fine tune the shaft length to maximize comfort and stroke efficiency. It takes hours out on the water to find the exact length you like. Until you’ve found your sweet spot, stick to an adjustable paddle.
Will you be paddling regularly in the same basic water conditions, or will you be doing different activities all the time? If you plan on doing all of your paddling on calm lakes, your paddle length will not need to change. But, if you paddle surf, race or deal with chop on a regular basis, you will want to change the length of your paddle depending on water conditions and planned activities. Ideally, you would have one paddle for surfing and another for racing etc…, but not everyone can afford such luxuries.
Transferring human energy from the body through the paddle shaft and into the blade occurs most efficiently with a one piece SUP paddle. If you race, paddle surf or go for long rips, you should get a one piece paddle. Just make sure you cut it to the right size.
Storage and Transport
Storing a one piece paddle shouldn’t be a problem. If you have a spot for your broom, you have a spot for your paddle. However, transporting it may be a different issue. If you purchased an inflatable SUP because you have limited space in your car, an adjustable two piece or even three piece paddle might better meet your needs.
Planning on taking your paddle with you on holiday? An adjustable paddle makes things much easier at airports.
When shopping for your next SUP paddle, consider how your situation falls into these criteria and make the decision that’s right for you. Personally, I think everyone should have a good quality adjustable paddle. It provides great flexibility for your family and friends and you can adjust the length to meet your changing needs. Once you have a good adjustable paddle, then you can get that great one piece just for yourself.
The Wappa Blog
Written by Wappa's founder Layne Pennell, the blog's aim is to educate and share his love of stand up paddle boarding with anyone interested in SUP.