Daily Archives: October 24, 2013

Choosing Your New Paddle

There are several variables to consider when choosing your new paddle: your height, your fitness level, the type of paddling you expect to do, and of course, your budget. Answering those questions will help guide you to a paddle that will provide you with the right amount of power, be the right size for you, be as light as possible, have the correct flex, and be a paddle you can afford. Here’s some information I hope you find useful in choosing your new paddle.

choosing your paddle

Paddle length:

As a general rule, you’ll want a paddle that’s 7”-10” longer than your height. For surf riding, you’ll stay on the shorter end of the range and for racing on thicker boards you’ll be on the longer side. A good way to measure for most flat water paddling is to use the old classic way we used to measure ski length: standing with your arm extended upward and your wrist bent at 90 degrees, have the paddle come near the base of your wrist. I’m 5’10” (70”) and I use paddles between 77” and 79” while on my race boards, which tend to be about 6” thick. I use a 76” paddle for wave riding.

Blade Size:

Choosing the appropriate blade size is at least as important as having the correct length paddle. A blade too big may cause shoulder discomfort and early fatigue. A blade too small may not deliver the power you’re looking for. As a rule, smaller less burly folks will want a blade between 85 and 100 sq inches. This will provide good power, allow for a high cadence stroke, and minimize the risk of injury. I’m 150 lbs, fit but not burly, and effectively use a blade sizes of 85”to 100”. Though I had been primarily using a 100 sq. in. blade for the past year, lately I’ve gone to smaller blades (Ke Nalu Wiki and Quickblade Elite Racer 90) and am loving the quick but powerful stroke they allow. I have at times used larger blades, like the Kialoa Toro (107 sq in), in races and have been surprised that it felt good.

choosing your paddle

Materials/ Construction:

Materials used in the construction of paddles determine overall weight, flexibility, durability and cost. There are basically five types of materials currently being used in shafts and blades: aluminum, wood, plastic, fiberglass and carbon. Aluminum is strong and cheap, but heavy and fairly inflexible. Wood is strong and pretty, but again on the heavy side. Plastic is durable and cheap, but is heavy and offers little in the way of performance. Fiberglass provides a pretty good balance of durability, moderate weight, flexibility and affordability. Carbon is the best performing material of the group, allowing for varying flexes, excellent strength and the lightest weight. It is also the most expensive material.

Flex:

As a rule, lighter weight, less strong paddlers will want a shaft that is somewhat flexible to reduce the risk of injury. Bigger, stronger folks will appreciate a stiffer shaft to transmit more energy directly into power.

The Big Winds staff is filled with athletes who love to paddle. Some of us are recreational paddlers who go out for fun and the social aspect of the sport, and some of us (like myself) are WAY into it and paddle all the time for fitness and race training, and racing. We are a staff made up of all ages (14-61) and about half guys and half girls. We have an extensive SUP lesson program and a huge SUP demo and rental fleet at our waterfront location in Hood River.

We’d love the opportunity to share our enthusiasm and experience and help you get set up with gear that will maximize your fun on the water, not matter what your level of involvement.

So give us a call. We’re your SUP experts!

 

–Steve

888-509-4210

www.bigwinds.com

 

Paddler Height

 

Paddle Length (includes handle & blade)

Foot/Inch

Inches

Centimeters

 

Racing

Surfing

Touring

4′

48″

122cm

 

54″

53″

55″

4′ 1″

49″

124cm

 

55″

54″

56″

4′ 2″

50″

127cm

 

56″

55″

57″

4′ 3″

51″

130cm

 

57″

56″

58″

4′ 4″

52″

132cm

 

58″

57″

59″

4′ 5″

53″

135cm

 

59″

58″

60″

4′ 6″

54″

137cm

 

60″

59″

62″

4′ 7″

55″

140cm

 

62″

61″

63″

4′ 8″

56″

142cm

 

63″

62″

64″

4′ 9″

57″

145cm

 

64″

63″

65″

4′ 10″

58″

147cm

 

65″

64″

66″

4′ 11″

59″

150cm

 

66″

65″

67″

5′

60″

152cm

 

67″

66″

68″

5′ 1″

61″

155cm

 

68″

67″

70″

5′ 2″

62″

157cm

 

69″

68″

71″

5′ 3″

63″

160cm

 

71″

69″

72″

5′ 4″

64″

163cm

 

72″

70″

73″

5′ 5″

65″

165cm

 

73″

72″

74″

5′ 6″

66″

168cm

 

74″

73″

75″

5′ 7″

67″

170cm

 

75″

74″

76″

5′ 8″

68″

173cm

 

76″

75″

78″

5′ 9″

69″

175cm

 

77″

76″

79″

5′ 10″

70″

178cm

 

78″

77″

80″

5′ 11″

71″

180cm

 

80″

78″

81″

6′

72″

183cm

 

81″

79″

82″

6′ 1″

73″

185cm

 

82″

80″

83″

6′ 2″

74″

188cm

 

83″

81″

84″

6′ 3″

75″

191cm

 

84″

83″

86″

6′ 4″

76″

193cm

 

85″

84″

87″

6′ 5″

77″

196cm

 

86″

85″

88″

6′ 6″

78″

198cm

 

87″

86″

89″

6′ 7″

79″

201cm

 

88″

87″

90″

6′ 8″

80″

203cm

 

90″

88″

91″

6′ 9″

81″

206cm

 

91″

89″

92″

6′ 10″

82″

208cm

 

92″

90″

93″

6′ 11″

83″

211cm

 

93″

91″

95″

7′

84″

213cm

 

94″

92″

96″