When it's time to upgrade your inflatable SUP paddle, consider the following before making your decision. There are many options that serve myriad purposes, so we're here to break it all down for you to help you get the best paddle for your SUP style!
Travel (breakdown) Paddle vs One-Piece Paddle
Travel paddles are often less durable, less stiff and weigh a little more. That being said, if you don’t have a lot of storage, or if you need to fly with a paddle, these paddles are the ideal solution. The convenience of being able to throw your paddle into a backpack and take it anywhere with you is hard to beat.
For ultimate performance a one-piece paddle is the way to go. While more inconvenient for traveling, these are made to be lighter, more durable and have a continuous shaft allowing for the ideal balance of flexibility and stiffness. One piece paddles will still fit in your car and don’t take up much storage space due to the low profile of a paddle, but they don’t fit in a backpack and if you want to take it on a plane you might get an additional baggage charge.
Blade + Shaft Materials
There are two places the materials really matter: The blade and the shaft.
Many high-quality blades are made with CFRT which stands for continuous fiber reinforced thermoplastic. This is a composite material more durable and often lighter than a carbon or fiberglass option.
For the paddle shaft, most paddles use carbon, fiberglass or some blend of the two. Carbon is stiffer, but less durable and more expensive. Fiberglass is more durable and cheaper but slightly less stiff.
Adjustable vs Cut-to-Fit
Many paddles on the market these days are adjustable. This means you don’t need to worry about sizing as most paddles are usually designed to fit someone from 5-feet and 6-feet-4-inches tall.
The main point where the paddle adjusts is at the T-Grip or handle at the top of the paddle. A Lever-Lock mechanism is the most common type of adjustable T-Grip due to the ease of use and the simple yet durable design.
Some paddles can be sold in a cut-to-fit (ctf) version in which you cut the paddle to the desired length. For most paddlers, an adjustable paddle will suit their needs best.
Travel Paddle Options
Best for: Travelers who take their paddling seriously
Best for: Beginners, paddlers on a budget
|This is the go-to paddle for casual paddlers
or someone on a budget.
One Piece Options
Best for: One paddle to rule them all
Best for: Whitewater paddlers
|The Hala Grafik River is a unique
offering from Hala designed
specifically to crush big rapids.
With a slightly thicker and more
durable shaft, this paddle gives
you the confidence that your gear
won’t break when you need it the
most. Hala departed from the
traditional ‘teardrop’ shape and
instead uses a larger oval design
for the blade, allowing an
incredible amount of power when
bracing or running rapids. This is
the ideal paddle for someone who
is serious about exploring rivers.
Best for: Windy conditions, versatility, use your paddleboard as a kayak