Downwind hand paddle vs SUP paddle

The wing blade is cool - I was thinking more symmetrically when moulding shape into our hand paddles. The Kayak blade maybe benefits more from this profile as the way it pulls through the water is different to when two paddles are pulling at the same time??

Update on Hand Paddle use - have stepped down foil sizes and am now using HPS880 (1100cm2) as my go-to for kneeling downwind takeoffs. Can flatwater start the HPS1050 (1500cm2) and PNG1010 (1400cm2), but will just keep the HPS1050 for worst conditions - it’s much better in the ocean than the PNG1010 and can keep up with good conditions if it turns on during a run. Next will be to run the ART999 and then down to ART899. The gap is closing :slight_smile:


Re wing: I think it depends on the paddle stroke, if it’s entirely vertical then no benefit, but if your hands are moving out and away from the board at all then it takes that outward component and creates extra lift. I would imagine probably too much of a leap as even surf ski paddling with a winged paddle is much more nuanced. If you have some slowmo footage from front or top it might be interesting to see. I often wonder why SUP paddles don’t have wing shape, and I think it is because the stroke is very vertical.

Epic that you can do the 880, paving the way for us non-sup types!

Have you tried any prone pop ups with the hand paddles?

It seems a bit more thought is going into angles and curves. SUP paddles are probably pretty optimised now for how they’re being used.

Prone with Hand Paddles is definitely more difficult than knees, and less effective. You can get speed (maybe a bit more than kneeling), but more important than speed is the bouncing you can achieve from knees. The transition from knees is a lot easier also. From prone it’s easy to catch the paddles in the water as you bring them up under chest. In Botany Bay when it’s very good and steep i’ve managed a couple of prone paddle ups without the hand paddles - had them clipped to vest and saw good bumps coming along so went for it! But i got lucky - wouldn’t set out to do that unless i was on something very long and very narrow.


I wonder if SUP paddles would be shaped differently knowing they only need to be paddles on one side.

Cool, thanks for the feedback. Would you reckon necessary or worthwhile to spend much time on big 1300 wings doing flat water starts? I’ve been doing the knee paddles a few sessions in small/flat surf and the bouncing and takeoff is getting smoother and easier. Wondering when to progress to wind chop further offshore and what wing to use (axis 880/910/1099/1300)

Im most curious about board size: If you prone paddle, do you need a longer, same size or shorter board (vs SUP DW)?

I’d be getting out into the bumps now for sure :slight_smile: Flatwater starts are a novelty, and certainly not a requirement for successful downwinding. I was doing good downwind runs with handpaddles long before i could flatwater start. Josh Ku asked me a few days ago why i’ve been hung up on flatwater starts - i did it really just to prove the hand paddle concept. To show that it doesn’t have to be a disadvantage to SUP. To encourage others to get into it.
Wing size? Just start stepping it down. I started on BSC1060, then PNG1010, HPS1050 and now HPS880. Next will be ART999 and 899. I’ve come very close to getting going on a boat wake in the river on the ART999 so feeling pretty confident for using that in bumps now. Next time :slight_smile:


Prone paddling without hand paddles? You could do it with 8’x18" with consistency. I’ve paddled into bumps in Botany Bay on a 6’5"x24"x106L - just happened to come down and paddles were still clipped onto vest when perfect steep bumps came through so i went for it and got up! But I wouldn’t go out expecting to get up regularly without serious board length. But for Hand Paddles it’s different. You can definitely go narrower sooner. I’m using a 6’6"x20"x85L Sunova Elite Custom at the moment but something a little longer would be easier. I’m pretty dialled in now though so short is fine.


What’s your weight? Yes, I was talking about board length with hand paddles. Thx

I’m 65kg. Helps to be a lightweight sometimes :slight_smile:

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This is really interesting info - thanks Jordan! :call_me_hand:t2:

Hey guys, super interesting thread…thanks a lot to Mike and Jordan.

So has anyone tried those, no offence Jordan, just interested how the more curved shape compares and what size makes sense for a 1.80m/73kg guy makes sense?

Also, i am pondering a bit about what board to get or build myself.
Have been surfing for 25 years, so doing ok for a swiss guy i guess…
Am thinking more of a hybrid that i would use for super light wind winging and also for handpaddling on swiss lake waves (yes those winterstorms produce 1-1.5m, steep, super short period waves quite regularly on lake Constance, Lake Uri or Lake Neuchatel) or on occasional holiday trips to the atlantic or mediterranean (lots of shor period windswells too)…

So i suppose those superlong pure downwindboards above 7’0 would be way too long both for the steepness of the waves as well as for winging?
You probably wouldn’t go much below 20’’ neither to be able to have some stability winging in low winds?
Maybe something like the AFS 6’2’'x21.5x90l could be good, or too wide?

I like the idea of the hybrid tail providing some extra stability as well as surface area to be pushed by waves? (my 5’4 minisimmons is so easy to paddle into tiny log type waves, the wide squaretail gets pushed into it)…The slenderness ratio/pull in angle of the bottom part of the tail seems a bit much though, as well as i probably had added some sort of sprayrail-edge to prevent water flow wrapping around the top?

what do you guys reckon?

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the armstrong 6’1/85l looks sick…like the longer foilboxes too…doesn’t say the width…as far as i know they should be arriving in abot 10 weeks in Europe…no info about sizes yet though…

edit: here it is, had missed that one before…

not sure if 18.75’’ wouldn’t be too narrow for winging?

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Wing side of things depends on you I guess. I’m a beginner wing just slow gybes and found the wing boards viable down to 65L on flat water but then could not manage a friends hybrid-copy DIY ~100L job in choppy water at all, with same weight as you. Possibly the width at 21”. Under 10 sessions winging so perhaps just need more time. I suspect it is viable just trickier than I imagined. For reference I can balance on it fine in flat water.

In all I think your only real reference may be the gorge riders, but even then you may have to pioneer the decisions on this, especially incorporating wing requirements.

Hand paddles - the swimming ones worked fine to get started, I have yet to see anyone compare them to the bespoke or kayak versions. Also interested in getting reference points here.

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I’ve got the 6’3” 85L Armstrong on order to serve as that hybrid light wind Wing Board and hand paddle DW board in tight wind chop conditions. I’m 65kgs and have pretty good balance at 38yrs. I also hope to prone / knee paddle into small waves (or bigger waves) when getting in early is crucial.

I also plan on practicing SUP paddling the board on flat days to hone skills so hopefully, eventually I will be able to SUP DW the board. The 18.75” width and relatively short length has me pretty nervous.

I should have the board in a couple weeks!


Hey Graham.

I’m regularly using a 6’3x24x101L for wing and downwind sup. short length is ok for most bay conditions. I’m finding I wing a lot now on my 6’3 versus my 5’x75L. The reason being is it’s easier to travel with one board. Second the downwind boards take off so easily, I can use a smaller wing and smaller front foil. This makes the setup more manoeuvrable, and I really don’t notice the extra board length. Only reason to wing on a smaller board is for jumping now.

Very keen to see how you get on with the Armie board. I’ve found width doesn’t add much stability but length definitely helps. If you can stand up and get the paddle in the water for a few strokes it should take off easily at 18” wide. If you can’t stand up, use hand paddles.


Hey Jordan, I’m pretty curious now that you’ve been doing it a while what your thoughts are on board dimensions for prone specific DW boards. Or are they much of a muchness? Just wondering things like whether narrower is better for ease of getting paddles in and out that kind of thing? I’m also guessing because you’re not trying to stand on the thing you can get away with a bit less volume?

I really want to get into it next season. I have decent enough prone skills but tourist+ levels of sup skills so I’m thinking skip the paddle and go straight for hand paddles. Just really getting analysis paralysis on the board as there’s so many coming out.


Hey, yep still sticking with the hand paddles :slight_smile: I haven’t been able to test one of the longer narrower shapes yet! Wilmotte has the AXIS, and Ku has the AMOS, and hoping to get a spin on one of those soon. So i’m still riding the SUNOVA 6’6"x20"@85L and really love that board. Without experiencing the 17/18" type boards I could only say that you’re right in thinking that with knee paddling the hand paddles you can go narrower and lower volume than you might with SUP.


Yeah Baldy! I’ve had around 5 sessions in the Armie board. Each session starting off winging and then some variation of DW SUP or prone practice with the Hand Paddle CO’s. So far I’ve had pretty good success paddling SUP, except my J stoke is more of limp noodle stroke, so some flat water practice will for sure pay dividends. I’m not falling all over the place, so that’s a huge plus. I’m burying the nose every so often, but it is recoverable. Hand paddles feel great, but I haven’t had sufficient bumps yet to really give it a 100 chance. The stroke feels very powerful, but my stamina in a few muscle groups needs some work to give it a proper send.

Today winging a 4M in 10-20mph gusty conditions, I dropped from my 1325 light wind wing to my smallest 525 just to see how it went. Surprisingly I was able to get up in gusts around 15-18mph really easily, but needed some gusts to make it out of gybes. Tacks were pretty good! The narrow waist was really evident doing powered up S turns. I swear at one point the entire side of the board touched down. Didn’t change a thing shim/mast wise either.

Really stoked on the board and looking forward to the continued DW suffer fest. Just picked up a cloud ix anchorman leash so I can go upwind with a paddle and ditch the wing to practice in better bumps.


Keep us posted, I think your situation is pretty common, I’m there. Axis hybrid and Appletree are the first on my list to try over the next few weeks.

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Starting to think that for me personally maybe the primary benefit of hand paddles won’t be that it is easier with hand paddles (the popup is tricky), bur rather that you can ride a much thinner narrower board, as once up the 100+L boards feel pretty heavy and cumbersome to pump. I’m finding the J-stroke and balance quickly improves to the point where I can catch waves and mostly not fall off on a 6’4x21" wide board. This theory yet to be tested in downwind conditions but hopefully soon as we figure out the necessary conditions.