Buying a paddle, what to look out for and how to look after it.
So you have got your board sorted and now need the other piece of your Stand up paddle quiver which is the paddle. So how do you know what to get and what is right for you? well below is a guide of what paddle for what condition and what kind of paddling each paddling is suited to.
Lets start with the very basic.
This is your price point paddle and in a lot of cases this might be a paddle that is in a package. These paddles do work but they are not something you would want to paddle to very far with.
They make great paddles for the kids as they are quite tough as far as knocks go.
*Tough against knocks and being dropped on the ground
*Terrible to paddle with
*They bend if loaded up to much
*They sink once the foam inside gets water logged
*As most of the alloy paddles are adjustable they also seize up if not washed out every time you use they, if they seize you will not get them apart again.
Overall if it was free you would take it for the kids but really try and stay away from Alloy where possible.
Mid Range paddles:
These are most likely a carbon/glass mix in the blade and shaft. You will find these are great as a touring style paddle and can hold up against the knocks a little better than a high end full carbon paddle but this does come at a cost.
With the Glass/carbon mix in the shaft most of these paddles have a very soft flex which might be ok if you are a very light paddlers or just cruising along but if you really put the power down then they can over flex which is bad two ways, one is it takes all the power out of your stroke and two higher chance of breaking the more it flexes.
*price is midrange, so a bit easier on the wallet.
*Better than Alloy in that they are much lighter and good for touring or just general paddling
*Can be tough against knock and drops
*Can be to flexi
*No good for distance paddling
*Not really good for stronger or heavier paddlers
So here we are at the TOP END paddles the ones that make you shiver when the guy in the shop tells you the price, so are they worth it or is it just a over kill and a waste of money? Well 100% it is worth it as long as we are talking about good top end paddles that have done real development then you will real feel the difference.
A nice full carbon paddle is super light they will have some flex but not to much (this can vary a bit as well depending on brand) and after going for a paddle where over a 8km distance you might do 2000 strokes plus your body will 100% thank you for spending that little bit more.
*Can be very nice on the body if you get one with the right amount of flex to stiffness ratio
*Very strong(more on this later)
*Very efficient at getting power from the rider to the paddle to get the board moving
*Can be fragile(more below on this)
*Maybe not so great for the kids as a play paddle
So i touched on the Full carbon paddles and how they are very strong but - there is a BUT, to a point so here is what i mean for this.
If you look after your paddle and make sure you don’t knock the shaft around don't drop it on the ground or just throw it in the back of the ute then it should just about last forever but if you are rough with it or somehow give it a hard knock then it could break very easy the next time you paddle it. Carbon is very strong right up until it gets a fracture and then it will break on they point with hardly any force.
Paddles have warranty’s like any product and if there is something wrong with the paddle it should show on the very first few strokes you take, if you have been paddling for a week or month or a year and then it just breaks for no reason you will find in 99% of cases that you might have damaged it in a previous session or when you accidentally dropped it on the ground it your rush to the waves.
Remember Paddles VERY rarely break for no reason!!!
Happy Paddling , Foiling and look after your Paddles