SURGE – Designing the Best SUP Surfing Paddle

Based in Hawaii, we were determined to design the best SUP surfing paddle on the market. At the time, not much was being made specifically for SUP surfing and as avid SUP surfers ourselves, that just didn’t seem right. So we went to work.

The demands of surfing are very different from racing and flat water paddling, but the real challenge was quantifying those differences and settling on new design parameters. We built several quality prototypes, but still weren’t satisfied. 

We spent months sitting in the lineup watching paddlers, talking to paddlers, trying their paddles, and session-by-session, the pieces started to come together. Our extensive research and development finally came to fruition with the Surge

What Makes a Good SUP Surfing Paddle?

By carefully analyzing what SUP surfers actually do, we changed some of our initial ideas. In the often frantic scramble to turn and catch the set wave or avoid destruction, SUP paddle stroke technique is at its worst. With paddlers jabbing more than stroking, we needed to adjust how the paddle behaved.

In essence, the paddle needs to grab the water and correct the stroke quickly for power and acceleration. Because in an environment when a couple of meters can make the difference between a long hold down and safely making it over the set wave, maximum power is essential. With more power and drive, the Surge helps your SUP surfboard accelerate quicker so that it’s much easier to catch more waves.

The paddle also needed to be lightweight, small and easy to maneuver. In SUP surfing, there is a lot of paddle movement and switching sides both during paddling and riding. Naturally, a lighter paddle makes it much easier to adjust the paddle position. This meant that we needed a small, lightweight paddle with tons of acceleration and power.

With a smaller blade, we also wanted to go with a slimmer shaft to both reduce weight and increase strength. Not to mention, a slim shaft is easier to swing and hold onto. For some paddlers, this takes some time to adjust to, but once you do you’ll never want to go back.

The XL is designed for bigger paddlers and bigger boards, hence using the Standard Diameter shaft (SDS) seems sensible. All other sizes use our Reduced Diameter Shaft (RDS), also know as SLIM. 

What Size SUP Surfing Paddle Do I Need?

As we moved through the development process, our blades and overall paddle dimensions were getting smaller. 165 pound (75kg) paddlers were now comfortable using a sub-80 square inch blade, when they were using 85s in the past.

To really perfect a design you need to push the limits and see where the observed relationship breaks down, then you can step back and moderate. What started as two Surge paddle sizes has grown into a range of five – XL, Large, Medium, Small & XS.

What Blade Angle Is Best For SUP Surfing?

With the typical surfer’s paddle stroke being short and fast, the angle of the blade was kept to 8°—giving paddlers a positive and direct feel.

Is More Shaft Flex Better For SUP Surfing?

We increased the shaft and overall paddle flex to provide a smoother power delivery, and also improve bracing and pivoting while SUP surfing.

Lighter Is Better

Weight is very important and the lighter you can go—without sacrificing strength—the better. The smaller blades and reduced diameter shaft automatically made the paddles lighter, but we continued to push the boundaries of what was possible. Using our premium TEXCARBON construction, we were able to further maximize strength and minimize weight. 

The result is this paddle weighs as little as 309 grams or 10.9 oz (depending on size and options), making the Surge the lightest SUP surfing paddle you’ll find.

A few grams or ounces, might not seem like much, but it makes a big difference when you are in the surf zone and trying to scratch into a big set wave.

Efficient Blade Shaping Saves Energy

Drawing on our experiences with race paddle development, we increased the blade shaping considerably from earlier prototypes. The dihedral shaping features a pronounced center ridge, which is then scooped out towards the blade edge.

This shaping delivers power and also stabilizes the stroke—ensuring you get the boost of speed you need. The shaping tapers toward the tip but remains pronounced, which helps deliver consistent power even if you don’t get your full paddle blade in the water. The front of the blade is angled with a soft center ridge which increases strength. 

A Safer Paddle

To improve safety and reduce board damage, the blade edges were rounded. 

Beginner SUP Surfing Tips Black Project

The Favorite Paddle of Pro SUP Surfing Athletes

The Surge was designed to meet SUP surfers’ specific needs and has become the paddle of choice for many APP World Tour athletes including; Bernd Roediger, Leco Salazar, Wellington Reis, Lara Claydon, Vania Torres Olivieri and more.

Thanks to its high power-to-weight ratio and comfortable slim shaft, the Surge is also the recommended paddle for SUP Foiling. It is the paddle of choice for pioneers of downwind foiling including M20 Champion Annie Reickert, as well as Finn Spencer, Jeffrey Spencer and more. 

SURGE Paddle Sizes & Data

XLLARGEMEDIUMSMALLXS
Shaft Diameter (mm)STANDARD (29)S L I M (26.5)S L I M (26.5)S L I M (26.5)S L I M (26.5)
Actual Size (cm2)568545519485446
Actual Size (in2)88.084.580.475.269.1
Paddler Weight (KG)80 - 10570 - 9560 - 8550 - 7540 - 65
Paddler Weight (lbs)175 - 230155 - 210130 - 185110 - 16585 - 140

The Best Paddle For SUP Surfing

We set out to create the best SUP surfing paddle on the market—the Surge is that paddle. If you want the best, sometimes you just need to build it yourself. At the end of the day, we’re SUP surfers too and that inspires what we do at Black Project.