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What blade size do I need for my SUP paddle?

Finding the proper blade size is vitally important when choosing your paddle configuration. Go too small and you will lack the speed and power you need; go too big and you will damage your shoulders. Find the right balance and you will feel balanced and able to paddle for long sessions with ease day after day. Use the table below to distinguish which size you need based on your weight.

 

Paddler weight

It stands to reason that heavier and taller paddlers are more capable of coping with bigger blades, while smaller paddlers will conversely need smaller blades. As shown in the table, there are a number of areas of crossover, some degree of personal preference and other factors discussed below that can help you decide between two options. Many experienced paddlers have multiple blade sizes in their quiver, which they use for various situations.

 

Board size & weight

The bigger and heavier your board, the larger the blade you will need to power it through the water. When paddling on a smaller SUP surfboard with too big a blade, you will notice that the board wants to pivot with every stroke. A smaller blade enables you to track better and paddle more efficiently.

 

Type of Racing & Paddling Distance

For shorter distances and sprint racing, athletes tend to use a bigger blade because fatigue is less of an issue and they want to gain the most power they can while maintaining a high cadence. Over longer distances, athletes generally use a smaller blade to conserve energy while focusing on maintaining an efficient stroke technique.

 

How do you know if your paddle blade if too big?

If you paddle blade is too big, you may notice some or all of these symptoms:

  • Sore shoulders
  • Back pain
  • Rapid fatigue
  • Difficulty maintaining a high cadence
  • Pain/soreness after paddling and/or next day
  • Hard to paddle in straight line

 

How do you know if your paddle blade if too small?

If you paddle blade is too small, you may notice some or all of these symptoms:

  • Decreased top-speed
  • Lack of acceleration
  • Heart rate too high
  • Lack of overall stroke power