You SUP Paddle length is a very personal thing and there is no definitive answer to the question “What is the right paddle length for me?” but we have got some handy guide lines to help you cut your paddle to length with confidence.
There are three main points to consider before you consider cutting your paddle.
If you are not sure about the answers to the above questions just yet or you will be sharing with family and friends, then I always recommend an adjustable paddle. They are a great investment, because you will be able to use our guidelines and fine tune the adjustable paddle to your best fit and cut with confidence when you trade up to a Fix Length Carbon SUP Paddle. It’s also always handy to have a spare paddle for family and friends to use.
If you want a fixed length paddle and aren't what length you will need, then I would always recommend cutting your paddle to the longest recommended guideline to start with. Then glue the handle with a heat glue so its easily undone, so you can slowly fine tune your length from there.
Each discipline requires a different length and this is something you should think about before starting. Touring is about conserving energy and being comfortable, so a more upright position with a compliant paddle and a smaller blade are ideal to help you paddle for longer. Whereas SUP Racing on Downwinds and Even Flat water call for a length the is a balance between power, comfort and efficiency. So the longer the race the longer the paddle shaft. SUP Surfing asks for all out power immediately and wide blade and short shaft are the order of the day.
It’s important to say that trends are changing and in a recent chat with Michael Booth he told me he races with a paddle on longer than 10cm above his head. This seems to be the direction many Pro’s are going, but remember you cant add pieces back on, but you can always cut some more off. So start with our guide and then fine tune and refine until you find the best paddle length for you.
The taller you are the longer your paddle should be and if you have longer or shorter than normal arms add or remove the difference from you paddle length. So if you are 180cm but your arms stretch to 182 then consider being a bit gracious when cutting your paddle for the first time.
When we figure out our paddle length we need to remember some boards sit higher out the water than other. For example most Dug Out Stand Up Boards have your feet sitting almost at water line or below. Whereas an inflatable with all its volume can have you standing well above the water line meaning your catch would be in a very different place on and inflatable sup vs a dug out. So add a bit more to the shaft length the higher your board sits out the water.
I hope there guidelines help and yes they don’t give you an exact answer to the paddle length dilemma. Consider it like trying on shoes, you really need to find a length that fits your needs and body type. We all have different shaped bodies, so start with our guidelines and find tune from there.
Have a stand up day!