How to Choose the Perfect SUP Paddle

by Danny Mongno, Werner Paddles Marketing Manager

As someone who’s paddling his SUP (Stand Up Paddle board) every chance I get, I’m here to tell you folks that investing in the best paddle you can afford is super important.  Every stand up paddler is unique, but we all share a common goal – paddling as efficiently as possible so we can spend more time on the water. Nicer paddles mean lighter swing weights and stiffer blades. These features lead to longer, better paddling sessions. Depending on your paddling style, that could mean more exercise, more fishing, more shoreline exploring, more wave surfing or more rapid running.

Jessica Cichra doing some SUP Yoga. Photo: Werner Paddles
Jessica Cichra doing some SUP Yoga. Photo: Werner Paddles

Try this simple test and you’ll see what I mean. Grab your household broom and a metal yard shovel. Now, stand on a chair and paddle with the broom. Use good technique, top hand directly over your bottom hand so that the shaft is totally vertical. Reach way out toward the bow of your imaginary board with the “blade,” then finish the stroke at your feet. Paddle five times on each side and then switch to the shovel. Feel the difference? Now imagine fighting that extra weight over the course of an hour-long paddle, or maybe a three-hour paddle.  Not fun!

Okay, we’re not paddling our SUPs with broom bristles or shovel blades. But when you upgrade from low-performance plastic blades and aluminum shafts to fiberglass or carbon fiber, you’ll feel the difference. Sure, lightweight materials cost more, but you’re in luck; since a SUP paddle has only one blade, it costs less! You can get a really nice fiberglass paddle for around $200.00, whereas a comparable kayak paddle is more like $275.00.

In addition to being lighter, higher-end blades are also stiffer. The inherent flexibility of most lower-quality blades diminishes the force in your stroke, whereas a stiffer high-quality blade transfers more of your paddling energy to the water. For the casual paddler, this means fewer strokes, less fatigue, and more time on the water. For the performance-minded paddler, it means more BOOM every time your blade digs in.

Fiberglass and carbon fiber are the lightest, stiffest materials available for constructing SUP paddle blades. But which is best for you?  Well, that depends on what kind of paddling you like most. For whitewater paddling, consider a rugged fiberglass blade. For longer distances and deep water paddling, lightweight carbon sure feels good after a long day.

The Werner Tonga SUP Paddle
The Werner Tonga SUP Paddle

Blade size and shape is also important. The early SUP paddle designs were derived from the wider, tear drop shaped outrigger canoe paddle. Although this shape has a place with the very recreational paddler, the more slender, rectangular blade shape is where the sport is heading, like the one on the Werner Tonga SUP Paddle. This shape is much easier on the body, for a shorter or all day paddle and allows room to go in performance as skills grow. Different blade sizes, from small to full help fit every paddler’s body size and strength.

Once you’ve found the right blade for your paddling style, you’ll need to consider paddle length. SUP paddles are sold in varying lengths to accommodate paddlers of different heights and with different styles. For touring, fishing or fitness paddling, look for a paddle that’s about 10” longer than you are tall.  If you do plan to head to the coast to play in the waves, a slightly shorter paddle works best – approximately 8” longer than your height.  A longer paddle provides a longer, stronger stroke for flatwater, while a shorter paddle enables the quicker, shorter strokes needed to navigate more challenging water. ACK offers several adjustable-length paddles that quickly adapt to fit multiple paddlers. They even stock the three-piece Fiji adjustable for easy breakdown and storage – perfect for travelling with inflatable boards.

With lots of paddles to choose from and lots of details to consider, finding the right SUP paddle can seem like a daunting task – but it’s not!  By following these easy tips and investing in a lighter, stiffer, better-performing paddle, you’ll be sure to get the most out of your SUP experience. And the experts at ACK are always there to help. SUP on!

See ACK’s line-up of Werner SUP Paddles now. Plus, for a limited time, there are some great opportunities in the ACK Outlet to save on some high quality Werner SUP paddles…check them out!

Youngest Stand Up Paddling Kid You’ve Ever Seen

Stand Up Paddling Is Easier Than You Think

Or maybe this 2 year old just has some serious skills! I came across this video posted by the Paddling Headquarters and loved it. It showcases just how easy and fun Stand Up Paddling can really be. The beginning is a bit tedious with the unnecessary slow-mo’s but when little Kiara Goold finally climbs up on her little SUP, paddle in hand and grin across her face, well…that’s when you’re going to be wishing you were on the water too! Check out this stand up paddling kid for yourself:

Got a Stand Up Paddling Kid of Your Own?

I’m not sure what board Kiara is using but we’ve got the perfect SUP for your little one, or grom, in surfer speak. The Tahoe SUP Grom Kids paddleboard is a great size for younger paddlers and comes with the quality you can only find from Tahoe SUP. Grab one your your stand up paddling kid and then hit the water family style!

 

 

What Is West

A number of some ACK favorite brands like Werner Paddles, Surftech SUP and SealLine have teamed up to sponsor two friends on a 1,000+ mile journey to discover California’s other half – Baja. The pair will not use any type of motorized transportation whatsoever and instead only travel by foot and stand up paddleboard for the entire 1,000+ miles. By exploring this wilderness, they hope to find the West of modern times, and with a grant from National Geographic, plan on creating a documentary film that will highlight the beauty and mystery of Baja. Check them out and follow their journey, already in progress here!

Joseph @ACK

 

Choosing a SUP

Pro Athlete Micha Shaw of Surftech SUP

Believe it or not, summer is just around the corner. If you’ve thought about getting in to stand up paddleboarding (SUP) now is great time to buy a board so that you don’t miss any of those early warm days.

One of your first considerations when choosing a board is your primary activity. Stand up paddleboards are designed for a specific use and while you might be able to use a touring board in the surf, it’s not going to perform as well as a surf specific board. Board types include surf, touring, racing, recreational and angler. Continue reading Choosing a SUP

Announcing the 2013 Spring Kayak Demo Days!

It’s that time again! The 2013 Spring Demo Days are almost here and we hope you are as excited as us to experience one of the most sought after events in the paddling community.

This year, we will offer two days of full out on the water action for all three demos! Expect to see and demo a wide selection of kayaks, standup paddleboards (SUPs) and canoes. Expect raffles, lots of vendor representation and clinics all day long on a wide range of topics. We’re particularly excited about some new clinic topics this year, like Kayak Fly Fishing with Diablo Paddlesports.

Here are the dates and information but for complete details and maps, click here.

Austin, Texas:
Date: April 6 & 7 (Saturday & Sunday)
Location: Hyde Park Quarries
Sat 10am-4pm & Sun 12pm-4pm (rain or shine)

San Marcos, Texas:
Date: April 13 & 14 (Saturday & Sunday)
Location: Texas Ski Ranch
Sat 10am-4pm & Sun 12pm-4pm (rain or shine)

Houston Demo Days:
**There will be two locations this year to better serve Houston area residents!**
Date: April 13 (Saturday)
Location: Independence Park
Time: 10am-4pm (rain or shine)

Date: April 14 (Sunday)
Location: Elizabeth Kaiser Meyer Park Pond
Time: 10am-4pm (rain or shine)

As always, these events are FREE to attend! Check back in for the latest details including clinic times and topics! 

For more information, directions and maps, visit http://www.austinkayak.com/demo

In Focus: SUP Suction

I have come to the realization there is a lot more than meets the eye when it comes to rigging and accessorizing your stand-up paddleboard (SUP). The main thing people will notice with almost any traditional SUP is the lack of cargo space. The good news, is that we offer several  options to fit this need. Here is one option I thought was worth looking at, especially if you are the type of person that prefers not to drill a hole in your SUP.

SUPThings makes suction cup rigging for the top of your SUP so you can keep things at hand a bit easier than without. The advantage of the suction cups is that you don’t have to do any drilling so there’s no chance of messing up that expensive board and you don’t have to live with something when you don’t want it there. Also, if you’re a renter, these are a great option because you can keep your gear with you while out on the water but when you return the board, the rigging is yours to keep and use again next time you rent. We offer three varieties: Light Suction Deck Rigging, Super Suction Deck Rigging, and the Super Suction Cargo Net, all pictured below. Surely one of these options will help fill your needs. We also offer a variety of other options so I invite you to check out our full line of SUP accessories here.

Trent @ACK

SUPs, Always a Hit

Recently a few friends and I rented a house in Gun Barrel, Texas on Cedar Creek Lake. I decided to bring along a few kayaks as well as a couple stand up paddleboard’s (SUP’s) and needless to say, they were hit throughout the weekend. For many of my friends, it was their first time on any type of kayak, as well as my first attempt at paddleboarding so it was enjoyable to both teach a little and learn something new myself. I’m confident that I can answer questions about specific boards and the performance factors that different lengths and surfaces give from my experience using them over the weekend.

As far as the kayaks go, it was pretty interesting to get to see all the different boats perform when put up against each other. Such as the difference between a 12 and 14 foot Tarpon. Obviously the 14 is faster but I didn’t fully understand how effortless it was to maintain that speed until I was able to try both back to back. The weekend told me that you don’t have to be a fisherman or a whitewater enthusiast (which none of us are) to enjoy a kayak or SUP.

Travis @ACK Austin

Holiday Shipping Schedule

If you’re planning on gifting a kayak this year (whether for friend, family member or…ahem, yourself), and you want it to arrive by the 24th, time is running out! Take a look at our Holiday Shipping Schedule and you’ll see that Friday, December 14th, is the last day to order to ensure your kayak gets delivered on time. The schedule also shows shipping cutoffs for non-boat orders as well. Happy Holidays everyone!

Werner Paddles Rep Taylor Robertson Shares SUP Expertise

We wanted to share some video footage from Werner Paddles representative Taylor Robertson from our 2012 Fall Demo Days. Taylor has been in the industry for over 14 years now and is very knowledgeable about stand up paddle boards and the paddles that go along with them. We’ve included two videos from a seminar he gave at our Demo Days event. In the first video he discusses proper launch and paddle stroke techniques. In the second, he identifies a number of the different paddles that Werner has available and discusses some key features of each. These are both great watches for those interested in learning more about stand up paddle boarding. Thanks for sharing your expertise with us Taylor!