Best Paddles for SUPs
Stand up paddleboarding (otherwise known as SUP) is an incredible water activity but are you aware that your personal experiences could be even better? How so, you may ask? Well, it is quite simple, really; all you need to do is invest in a high-quality paddle.
You see, the best paddles for SUPs are not going to be your kayak or canoe paddles or oars. No, the best models out there will be specifically optimized for SUPs. Of course, there are also several factors to consider (such as weight, materials, and size).
If you stick with us throughout this entire process then we promise that you will be okay. Today, we present with a detailed buying guide that will cover everything you need to know when choosing the best sup paddle for you.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 6.5 hrs of research
There are different color options available
It is extremely light in weight
Designed with a fiberglass blade
Our Top Picks for the Best Paddles for SUPs
1. Aqua Bound Malta
There are different color options available
It is extremely light in weight
Designed with a fiberglass blade
Not incredibly popular
Even though this is not the most popular sup paddle on the market, it is hard to claim that it is not one of the best. And, as you can see, we think pretty darn highly of it.Read more
In addition to the fiberglass blade and the 100 percent carbon shaft, Malta was hand-crafted by professional paddling enthusiasts.
Combined with the hand-laminated fiberglass blade is a comfortable grip. Overall, Malta reacts the way you want it to and also has a highly effective stroke.
First off, there are different sizes that are available for you to choose from. Additionally, there are two pieces and they can be adjusted to account for different users.
Since the grip has also been made of 100 percent carbon, it is comfortable to hold. What also helps is the fact that this same grip has been contoured.
This clocks in at 20 ounces. And, if you know anything about carbon fiber, you would know that this is just about right.
This SUP paddle is living proof that the most popular kid in the class is not always the best. From top to bottom, this design is nearly impeccable in every way.
2. Super Paddles Carbon Fiber Paddle
It was designed for avid paddlers
Comes with a rugged paddle bag
Some said it does not float
As with the top model, this is not the most affordable option on the market. Then again, sometimes it will be in your best interest to prioritize quality over price.Read more
For certain, this paddle was engineered with premium materials. This includes the carbon fiber shaft, stainless steel screws, and nylon blade. Without question, this is a rugged design.
Along with the anti-twist channel that allows this to stay aligned while in use, it is also incredibly lightweight in nature. This makes it a lot easier to maneuver that is for sure.
This is a three-piece design and it can be adjusted from 72 to 86 inches. This range allows the paddle to be optimized for users of varying heights.
Overall, the carbon shaft that this is designed with makes for a comfortable hold. When compared to inferior designs, you will notice how much less fatigue your arms will experience.
One of the best aspects of this paddle is the fact that it comes with a fully-padded carrying bag. The bag sports a rugged nylon exterior and also closed-cell foam padding.
How else do you summarize this SUP paddle other than saying it is utterly incredible? Its construction is top-notch, comes with a well-designed carrying bag and performs insanely well.
3. iGK SUP Paddle
Sports an ergonomically-designed handle
Comes with a rugged paddle bag
Designed with a carbon fiber shaft
Can be slightly difficult to adjust
The reason this is another one of the best paddles for SUPs is the fact that it is made of carbon fiber and comes with a rugged and padded compartment bag.Read more
Since the shaft of this paddle has been engineered of carbon fiber, it makes it both incredibly stiff and also lightweight. All in all, it weighs right around 1.5 pounds.
The design of the blade is easily one of the best parts of this paddle. It is a dihedral and double-concave design that eliminates blade flutter while also adding stroke stability.
While adjusting this has been known to give some users somewhat of a fit, this is a three-piece design that can be adjusted from 72 to 86 inches. All in all, it will account for pretty much anyone over five feet tall.
In addition to the lightweight nature of this paddle, it also sports an ergonomically-designed handle. This helps reduce the fatigue your arms will feel while operating it.
This is another option that comes with a rugged carrying bag dedicated specifically for this paddle. A tough nylon exterior and interior foam keep your paddle well-protected.
Again, what more is there to say about this SUP paddle? It will be an amazing addition to your SUP board and will take your experiences to another level.
4. Accent Paddles Octane
It sports a carbon fiber shaft
Sports 16 inches of adjustable length
Built with a reinforced nylon blade
It does not pack down incredibly compact
Though this may not be the most well-known SUP paddle on the market, it remains one of the absolute best. It sports a carbon fiber shaft with a durable nylon blade, after all.Read more
Indeed, this sports a durable nylon blade with a carbon fiber shaft. All in all, it clocks in at 27 ounces; making it both durable and lightweight.
In addition to the fact that the blade is both tall and narrow to provide great catch in the water, it is also designed in a manner that increases stability. Oh yeah, and it also prevents blade flutter.
Thanks to the Level Lock adjustment system, this will suit paddlers from five feet to six feet six inches in height. In total, there are 16 inches of leeway for you to adjust.
This is designed with a unique and special grip. It is an Ergo palm grip and combined with the carbon fiber shaft, it makes for a SUP paddle that is unbelievable to handle and control.
While this does not pack down as compactly as some of you may desire, it can at least reduce in size somewhat. Overall, it will not be too cumbersome to transport.
The durability, lightweight nature, performance and handling of this paddle make it one of the best in the world. You want to talk about an incredible collection of attributes.
5. ISLE Surf and SUP Paddle
One-piece and two-piece models are available
Backed by a one-year warranty
Designed with high-end carbon fiber
It can loosen from time to time
While the adjustment system on this paddle could have been executed a little better, it is tough to argue with the overall quality of this model. It is built extremely well and is easy to travel with.Read more
There really is no need to worry about the durability of this model. It has been engineered with high-end carbon fiber and is going to withstand the test of time.
Due to the stiffness of carbon fiber, you can achieve great speeds with this paddle. Overall, this is a paddle that is optimized for serious riders who are looking for response and speed.
Now, there are both one-piece and two-piece models available, for the record. But, as noted, the adjustment system is somewhat flawed as it loosens too easily. As a result, the paddle can spin in your hands.
As with so many of the other best carbon fiber paddles for SUPs, this is incredibly easy to maneuver due to its weight. The design of the handle also makes things easier on your hands, as well.
In addition to the fact that this is adjustable, it can also be broken down into two pieces. As you would expect, this makes it much easier to transport.
In spite of the adjustment system (which is still good), this is a near-perfect design. It is also backed by a one-year warranty, just in case something does go drastically wrong.
6. Stage Double-Bladed Paddle
It can be broken down into multiple pieces
The two-blade design adds convenience
Ideal for many riders
Somewhat on the heavy side
What makes this model unique is the fact that it is double-bladed. One advantage of this design is the fact that you do not have to swap hands when you switch sides.Read more
Now, you can actually choose between aluminum, carbon fiber, and combo versions of this paddle. For serious enthusiasts, it is recommended to go with the carbon fiber version.
While the blades are a little large (which is not ideal for high cadence paddling) there is one on each side of this paddle. This not only makes operation more convenient but also aids in maneuverability.
With two quick cam-lock adjusters, this paddle can be adjusted to account for users of varying heights.
While you may not be used to the extra weight of the additional blade, this handles really well. It just may take some time for you to get accustomed to it.
For the record, you can break this down into multiple pieces. While this will not change the weight, clearly, it will make it more compact to transport.
To be honest, this is a type of design that you will either love or hate. Some of you may not want the extra weight of an additional blade but it sure does add convenience.
7. BPS Adjustable Paddle
Designed with an angled blade
It comes with a paddle bag
You will receive an E-guide via email
It does not lock in place very tightly
While not perfect, this is another well-designed option that many of you will be compelled to buy. It is also available in either a carbon fiber or fiberglass shaft.Read more
As noted, you can either go with a fiberglass or carbon fiber shaft. Either way, both shaft types come with a durable nylon blade that weighs just less than two pounds.
The good news is the angled nature of the blade allows it to achieve great propulsion. However, the not so good news is this paddle does not move as much water as others.
Even though it is really nice that this can be extended from 70.86 to 83.85 inches, it is somewhat difficult to adjust. The reason for this is it does not lock in place as well as it should.
This is not necessarily hard to handle but it is worth noting that the adjustable portion can slip from time to time, as alluded to previously.
An added bonus is that a dedicated paddle bag is included with your purchase. It comes with a heat-reflective lining and also a Velcro strap for easier carrying.
As you can see, this SUP paddle is far from flawless. You better believe that when you are out on your stand up paddleboard this is going to work very well.
8. Own the Wave Adjustable Paddle
Can be adjusted to many different heights
Great for beginners
Backed by a one-year warranty
Not quite as durable as others
Now, this paddle is actually made with an aluminum shaft. Due to this, it is one of the most affordable options on this list. But, it is not the best option for saltwater use.Read more
Indeed, this is made with an aluminum shaft and is not the best option for saltwater use. In addition to this, the blade is made with nylon composite material.
While this will not perform quite like a carbon fiber paddle, it still will reduce your fatigue due to the lightweight nature.
Since this can account for almost any paddler, it is excellent for a family or for any beginners out there. And, even better is the fact that it is easy to adjust.
The handle on this paddle has been ergonomically-designed to ensure optimal grip and comfort. Additionally, the entire paddle is lightweight making things even easier.
In just mere seconds, this can be broken down for easier storage and transport. This minor and subtle design feature makes this much more portable.
Not too many of you will feel that this is superior to carbon fiber paddles for SUPs. But, at the same time, it is affordable and effective for what it is.
9. BIC Sport SUP Paddle
It comes in three different versions
Sports a well-designed grip
The adjustment pin does wobble a bit
Now, this model is actually not offered in carbon fiber but that is okay. Aluminum and/or fiberglass are fine alternatives to carbon fiber, so it is not too big of a deal.Read more
Indeed, the choice is yours from either an anodized aluminum shaft or a fiberglass shaft. Either way, the shaft is matched with a polycarbonate blade.
Both of the shafts perform pretty darn well. Also, the polycarbonate blade offers low stress on your joints and also mid-range flex.
This is unique in the fact that it is offered in three different sizes. You can find the size that suits you best and, for the record, one of the sizes is suited for kids.
To allow for a better grip and therefore more control, this is designed with a polycarbonate T-Grip. And, this same grip sports a rubberized texture for improved comfort.
If you do require a paddle that can be taken apart, then you need to choose the two-piece option. This makes both storing and transporting it much easier.
Even though carbon fiber models are often preferred, they also come at a price. If you are looking for a cheaper, yet high-quality alternative then you should look closely at this model.
10. SUP Supply Paddle
It is optimized for travel
Backed by a one-year replacement guarantee
The feel and weight are terrific
Adjusting it can be tricky
Lacks a proper grip
Due to the fact that this paddle can be broken down into three separate pieces, it is an excellent choice if storage space is at a premium for you. Also, it can be adjusted to account for users of many different heights.Read more
This was engineered with the combination of an aircraft-grade aluminum shaft and a polypropylene blade. While not the most impressive build out there, this paddle is far from cheap.
Both the feel and weight of this paddle will be appreciated by virtually anyone. It does not sport the performance of carbon fiber but it will still work well for most of you.
Now, this can be adjusted from 67 to 85 inches and, as alluded to, this is going to account for many different users. However, at the same time, the actual adjustment process can be a little tricky.
An improved grip would have really helped this model, to be honest. As is, when this handle gets a little wet, it can occasionally slip out of your hands. But, you could always add a custom grip if you wanted to.
Without question, this has been optimized for portability. As noted, it can be broken down into three pieces. And, just for the record, the longest piece is only three feet in length.
It is fair to assume that some of you will not feel the need to spend a ton of money on a new SUP paddle. For occasional paddlers out there, this is actually a really, really good choice.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
It is actually amazing how important this section is. Do not overlook it, let's just say that.
As with most water equipment and gear, the best way to assess the quality of a SUP paddle is to analyze its materials. And, quite frankly, paddles for SUPs can actually be made with a plethora of different materials. Certain ones are better than others for specific reasons.
Just for the record, even though this list did not have any, you can find wooden paddles on the market. However, these are much heavier than other paddles and they can’t be adjusted. So, several of you will not be too drawn to them. Anyway, if you are on a very tight budget, you can go with plastic paddles.
Paddles of this nature will often be made with durable plastic (such as polycarbonate) but will not offer the performance benefits that many of you will be looking for. Taking a step up from plastic is both aluminum and fiberglass paddles.
Out of the two, fiberglass paddles will offer smoother strokes. With that said, fiberglass blades, in specific, can crack and ding rather easily if you are not careful. Aluminum, while not the lightest of options, is also an inexpensive and solid way to go.
If you want premium then you need to go with paddles that sport carbon fiber shafts. In addition to the fact that carbon fiber itself is incredibly lightweight and stiff, it is also very, very strong. And, typically, paddles of this nature will also be built with reinforced nylon blades (which are also really nice).
The materials, along with various other factors, will play a role in this section, as well.
In case you did not already put two and two together, this section plays directly off of the last one. Indeed, the utilized materials will have a huge impact on the performance of any given SUP paddle out there. And, to get the best out of the way first, this is where carbon fiber reigns supreme.
Again, it all comes down to the stiffness and lightweight nature of the material. This stiffness will result in fantastic power transfer when you are paddling in the water. And, the lightweight nature will result in less arm fatigue. Of course, fiberglass shafts can also perform decently well.
Fiberglass is pretty darn stiff, as well, which can also yield admirable power transfer. As for aluminum, it is not quite as stiff and, quite honestly, is better served for beginners or casual paddlers. Let’s also talk about the design of the blade for a hot second.
Not only will the size of the blade affect performance but so will the shape. For instance, paddles with larger blades will move a lot of water and therefore be more powerful. On the other hand, smaller blades will not require as much water to be moved and will be easier to utilize over longer stints.
As for the shape of the blade, this is merely the same concept. Tear-drop blades will provide more power (and will require more force) while rectangular blades will be much easier on your body.
It is up to you; you can either go with adjustable or fixed-length paddles. But, the former is often preferred.
Alright, so, first and foremost, you need to ensure that you go with a model that is optimized to work for you. This will be determined by your height. You will hear some experts say to get a paddle that is around 8 to 10 inches taller than your height. But, there is a performance difference between longer and shorter paddles.
Shorter models will be better for beginners and anyone who needs to exert little strength. Longer models, on the other hand, are generally preferred for better control and power in the water.
Of course, you also need to ask yourself if you want an adjustable or fixed-length paddle. While fixed-length paddles can offer slightly increased weight savings and performance, adjustable models will be preferred by several of you.
Clearly, they are popular due to the simple fact that they can be adjusted to work for different users. However, models of this nature will sport different adjustment mechanisms. And, as you would expect, some will work better than others.
Ask yourself, do you really want to use a paddle that will be uncomfortable in a few minutes?
Alright, earlier, it was discussed how important the performance is when looking for a SUP paddle. In a technical sense, this section is related to performance. But, it is so important that it deserved its own special section. Now, with that out of the way, let’s talk about handling and comfort.
It is as simple as this; most of you will want to feel comfortable when paddling on your board. In order to ensure this, you need to focus on two important SUP paddle characteristics. The first of which is the design of the grip.
Whether you want a palm grip, T-grip, or simply just an ergonomically-designed and contoured grip, it is all up to you. T-grips are nice, in specific, as they provide you with improved sturdiness. However, others will prefer palm grips due to their natural feel and comfort.
Once again, this is where the weight comes into the fold. The lighter the paddle is, the longer you will be able to use it. Again, this is where carbon fiber is so nice as it is much lighter than both aluminum and fiberglass.
If you need to travel to access a body of water, you may want to look for a paddle that is portable.
Paddleboarding is an incredible activity but one of the factors that you need to account for is it will require you to travel. Unless you own property on a lake, you will probably need to travel to a specific destination to paddleboard. So, this means that you may need to transport all your paddling equipment (including your paddle).
That is where this section comes into play as you may want to go with a model that is portable. And, you guessed it; this is where adjustable paddles for SUPs become so nice. In addition to the fact that they will be able to be adjusted to their shortest length, some of them will also break down into multiple pieces.
When space is limited for you, paddles of this nature will probably appeal the most to you. Oh, and you also may want to keep an eye out for sellers who include dedicated carrying bags with your purchase.
As seen on this list, some paddles will come with bags that are designed with closed-cell foam padding and also heat-reflective interior linings. Of course, if not, you could always buy something of this nature separately.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
Arguably the most important step of the entire buying process is figuring out what materials you want. In reference to what the paddle is made with that is. Anyway, there are several different choices available (such as plastic, aluminum, and fiberglass). But, it is tough to deny that the best one of them all is carbon fiber. In virtually every way possible, carbon fiber paddles are going to hold the advantage.
While the actual paddle board you are using is going to affect your performance on the water, you better believe that the paddle you use will, as well. But, what you need to understand is everyone out there is going to have different standards. If you require top-of-the-line performance, though, then you are only going to find it with a carbon fiber paddle.
It is important to note that not all paddles for SUPs are going to be adjustable. But, while some people will prefer fixed-length models, many of you reading this right now are going to want to go with those that are adjustable. In addition to being suitable for multiple users, these models are also much easier to transport. Of course, not all adjustable paddles are going to be the same, either.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: What way does the blade need to face?
Would you be shocked to know that you can actually incorrectly paddle on a paddleboard? One of the most common mistakes beginners will make is the way they hold their paddle. You see, what happens is some users will paddle with the blade carving back toward them.
However, you actually want the blade to angle away from you. Doing so will create a much more efficient paddling experience for you.
q: Is paddle boarding difficult?
It really does not matter if you paddle on a rigid board or an inflatable stand up paddleboard, the process is not going to be very difficult. While it can’t be guaranteed that you will master the craft within a couple of minutes, it is not like it is as difficult as picking up golf for the first time.
Granted you have someone with you that can teach you the basics, you will have the hang of it in no time. Paddleboards are designed to keep you stable while you are standing, after all.
q: Will your paddle float?
Alright, so what happens if your paddle accidentally slips out of your hand? Is it going to sink to the bottom of the lake or will it stay afloat? You would think that all paddles for SUPs would be designed to float but you can’t assume that.
Oftentimes, the manufacturer will specify if their model does indeed float. But, you can always do a test before you take yours out in the water. After all, this will tell you all you need to know.
q: Can they be used for kayaking?
If you have never kayaked before then you may not be aware of the type of paddle that you need for it. With kayaks, you will need paddles that sport blades on both ends. This allows for much more efficient paddling. However, not very many SUP paddles will be designed in this manner.
Most of them will simply have one blade and a handle on the other end. And, these paddles will not work very well for kayaking.
q: Is paddle boarding a good workout?
It seems silly to stand on a rigid board in the middle of the water with a paddle in your hand, does it not? But, would it shock you to know that this “activity” can actually result in a complete body workout? It sounds ludicrous but it is the truth.
After all, paddle boarding actually requires endurance, strength, and balance all at the same time. As such, it will provide your arms, neck, shoulders, toes, legs, and back with a workout. Huh, all that by just paddling while standing up!
q: How do you care for your paddle?
The good news is that these types of paddles are low maintenance. With that said, there are a few things that you need to keep in mind. Especially if you plan to paddleboard in saltwater, you will want to rinse off your paddle with fresh water afterward.
If you have an aluminum shaft, specifically, salt water can corrode the crap out of it if you are not careful. Additionally, if salt is allowed to get inside the adjustment mechanism then bad things can happen if you do not get it out of there. In freshwater, however, these issues are not going to be quite as prevalent.