I am getting ready to make the jump into down wind sup foiling and am starting to get gear together but am totally lost when it comes to the paddle. I am very comfortable on foil both winging and prone but have no sup experience. I am looking for a paddle that is on the cheaper side but will get me up in the surf while I dial in sup skills and will get me on my first runs. Any suggestions?
I’m using the 2 piece adjustable naish s26 performance paddle. It was only 200$. I’ve gone from 0 sup experience to being able to paddle up in the flats and starting to do short DW runs. Still working OK for me so far.
Blade size is probably an important factor. Too big and the new load on shoulders could be costly. I also found when starting with SUP that a smaller blade made navigating a bit easier - that is, just paddling straight is a challenge at first, and the large blades will make you go in circles haha.
What do you think a good starting point is, I was thinking around 90cm^2
Others on here with more authority on that, but i’d assume 72-82sqi is small, up to 95sqi is big, and 105+ is mega??
80ish seems to be a well tolerated size for both beginner and pro alike.
good info here from Marcus Tardrew
To start I’d say be very careful about going really big. Supping can be hard on your shoulders and we all want to be doing this when we are 80, right? When you are learning you’re going to paddle up hundreds of times more than the accomplished DW foiler and those huge blades you see out there are going to put you more at risk of injury when you perform as many sprints as a learner does each session.
Once you’re paddling up easily and staying on foil for longer periods then things can change. The crew I foil with are different. It’s not about long skinny boards for these advanced guys. I’m the smallest of the bunch and use the longest skinniest board at 6’10 x 18. The closest in size to me quite often uses his 5’9 sinker!! What we noticed is that the big blade doesn’t work well with the small boards. You need higher reps to get them up and going because they have less glide and the bigger blade doesn’t help with that.
To summarize, bigger blades work great with long slippery boards and smaller blades seem to match the shorter surfier boards better.
Go for black project if you have access to them, they ship internationally and have wide range of options with different prices.
If you want to start on a budget but still a good carbon with a blade that’s not gonna tear apart your shoulder go for the LAVA.
If you want to go premium go for the SPRINT X, it’s a racing paddle optimized for sprinting as it’s name indicates, which is what you want for sup downwinds. These are more expensive but materials are premium, it’s what I use for downwind.
Don’t get the adjustable thing… It only adds weight (and also water) and reduces stiffness. Start cutting a bit on the highest side and then keep cutting down until you find your sweet spot. For downwinding I use at the length of my own total height, maybe you want to start with couple inches more.