The TEXCARBON Shaft Range & Flex Categorization Explained

The Most Technologically Advanced Paddle Shaft

Shaft design, construction and flex is one of the most important, and often overlooked aspects of paddle design. Choosing the correct shaft is vitally important when customizing your paddle.

TEXCARBON Shaft Options

We have six TEXCARBON shaft options to suit all paddlers from 100 – 250 lbs (45 – 114kg).

Standard Diameter (SDS / 29mm / 1.14”)

  • STIFF50
  • MEDIUM75
  • SOFT125

Reduced Diameter (RDS or SLIM / 26.5mm / 1.04”)

  • MEDIUM75 (formally known as RDS Stiff)
  • MEDIUM100
  • SOFT150

TEXCARBON shafts in order of stiffness

Through testing and analysis, we have set 75mm of flex, as the midpoint in our range. This is the flex which is suitable for a widest range of paddlers. The SDS and RDS versions of the MEDIUM75 shaft generate the same flex.

  • SDS Stiff 50 (stiffest)
  • SDS Medium 75 = RDS Medium 75
  • RDS Medium 100
  • SDS Soft 125
  • RDS Soft 150 (most flexible)

TEXCARBON shafts are lighter and stronger

We use the same shafts for our Hydro race paddles and Surge surf paddles, depending on paddler and size of blade. While our shafts are extremely light and we could make them lighter, we prefer to make them a little stronger.

Strength is increased due to; design, materials used and production methods. Texalium is extremely impact and UV resistant when compared with carbon and fiberglass, by adding this to our shafts we have increased strength and longevity. Our TEXCARBON paddle shafts enjoy a new zero failure rate.

You may notice that each of our textured shafts is unique, with very subtle cosmetic differences in the finish, this compares to matte sanded shafts which look identical.

While matte smooth shafts are great for adding graphics and a consistent look. To achieve this they are sanded to a specified dimension, so that any imperfections formed during production (slight bulges etc.) are removed, this can lead to a lower carbon density in some areas, creating a potential weak point, this also increases the variance in terms of weight and flex.

With our TEXCARBON shafts you get the full laminate with no sanding, exactly the layers which we designed, even if this means we cannot have fancy graphics or identical looking product.

What do the shaft specifications and labels actually mean?

Our shaft classification has 4 components;

  1. Diameter
  2. Material
  3. Flex Band
  4. Flex Number

All TEXCARBON shafts are a 100% mix of high-grade pre-preg carbon and Texalium as denoted by the first number on the label.

The stiffness rating, STIFF, MEDIUM & SOFT is based on the spectrum of flex. We have a stiff band, which clearly flexes the least, the medium range (most commonly used) and then the most flexible shafts fall into the soft range, which are used by our smaller paddlers.

The final number (which is where some confusion creeps in) denotes the actual amount of flex (mm) when measured in controlled conditions. The higher the number, the more the shaft will flex, the number represents the actual flex in mm (when 50kg / 110 lb of force is applied, while the shaft is supported at two points, which are 150cm / 59” apart).

Which shaft should you choose?

Based on our recommendations, taller and heavier paddlers should choose stiffer shafts while shorter and lighter paddlers should use a more flexible shaft.

About 80% of all paddles we supply have a medium flex rated shaft. Many shafts being used in the paddle market today, would be classed as stiff by our ratings or at least, at the stiffer end of medium. It is our view that most people are using a paddle shaft which is too stiff based on their needs, this could be damaging their body or reducing the number of sessions they can do.

For reference, our racing athletes all use the Medium75 shaft flex, while Black Project surfing athletes mostly opt for the Medium100, with some smaller paddlers like Lara Claydon who use the Soft150 for surfing and the Soft125 for racing.

Shaft flex, is something which has been a key factor in the development of our paddles since the beginning. We continue to review, test, refine so that we can learn and optimize your custom paddle as a result.

Success doesn’t come from just choosing the right paddle, it is about customizing that paddle to best suit your specific needs – Luckily, we are here to help, use our 5 Steps To Choosing A Paddle guide or arrange a personal consultation. The the table below gives more information on the TEXCARBON shaft options.

Learn more about shafts and paddle flex.

DiameterSDS 29cmmSDS 29cmmSDS 29cmmRDS 26.5mmRDS 26.5mmRDS 26.5mm
Carbon / Texalium Content100%100%100%100%100%100%
Flex BandStiffMediumSoftMediumMediumSoft
Stiffness Rating507512575100150
Available for Hydro FlowX & Hydro BladesXL, LXL, L, M, SM, SM, SS, XSXS
Normal Use with Hydro (Racing & Recreation)Racing for taller & heavier paddlers.Most paddlers.Lighter racers who like the standard diamter shaft or have shoulder issues.Most paddlers who like the feel of the RDS shaft. Smaller paddlers using the Small or XS blade or or have shoulder issues.Only for XS blade and for very light paddlers and Groms.
Available for Surge BladesXLXLN/AL, ML, M, S, XSS, XS
Normal Use with Surge (Surfing & Foiling)Tall and heavy paddlers with XL blade.Heavier paddlers with XL blade.N/ASurfing and Foiling with the Large blade or longer Medium blade paddles.Most paddlers with Medium or Small blade. Small padders with Small or XS blade.

How do you know if your paddle shaft if too stiff?

If your paddle shaft is too stiff you may notice some or all of these symptoms:

  • Sore shoulders
  • Back pain
  • Quickly fatiguing
  • Pain/soreness after paddling and/or next day

How do you know if your paddle shaft is too soft?

If your paddle shaft is too soft you may notice some or all of these symptoms:

  • Lack of speed
  • Excessive flex when paddling

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Need help choosing a paddle?


More SUP Paddle Resources

The Benefits of Softer, Smaller and Shorter SUP Paddles

5 Steps to Choosing & Customizing Your Paddle

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How to choose the best beginner SUP paddle

SUP Surfing Tips from Mo Freitas

Designing The Surge SUP Surfing Paddle