Is your SUP paddle to long? Changing your paddle’s length does not require you to purchase a new stand up paddle. As Quickblade Paddles founder Jim Terrell demonstrates in the accompanying video, modifying your paddle’s length can be done at home or by a trained staff member at your local SUP shop.
Many élite SUP racers have begun shortening the length of their paddles. The advantage in doing so is to increase the amount of torque during their stroke – particularly when paddling in and out of the surf zone or at the start of a race. Similarly, it is not uncommon for stand up paddle surfers to use a slightly shorter paddle than one would for touring.
On the other hand, your paddle may have been sized incorrectly or your desired paddle length may simply change over time. The common mantra among stand up paddlers is to have your paddle’s length be approximately one “shaka” length above your head. Another method of measurement is to raise your arm above your head in a relaxed manner, e.g. don’t over extend your arm’s reach. Ideally, your paddle’s handle should sit along the inside of your wrist so that your hand rests on top of the handle when you gently bend your wrist forward.
The length of your paddle is ultimately up to personal preference and can vary among paddlers. If you are unsure of what length to get, you may wish to consider an adjustable SUP paddle. This will give you the flexibility to use your new equipment in a variety of conditions and play around with the settings to determine the best fit for you and your style. Later on, you can always make the investment in a fixed length carbon fiber paddle and keep your adjustable for use when paddling with friends or introducing new people to the sport. Most importantly, keep paddling my friends!