Stand-up paddleboarding has quickly become one of the most-loved water sports in the UK! As long as you have a high-quality stand-up paddleboard (SUP) and a paddle to accompany it, you can try this exciting activity. The UK has endless waterways, making it easy for SUP enthusiasts to try paddle boarding whenever and whereever they want. But before they start, it is crucial to invest in the right SUP gear. SUP paddles are critical for ensuring a seamless experience, helping paddle boarders navigate and glide through the water. There are three broad categories of SUP paddles available in the market: 1-piece, 2-piece, and 3-piece variants. Which of these paddles should you choose? Let's decode the differences and help you make the best choice!
Buying your first SUP paddles - top tips for beginners
Before we delve into the differences between the three paddle configurations, let’s break down the top buying tips for beginners:
Choose a Lightweight Material: The paddle's weight can affect your performance and comfort when you spend some time on the water. Therefore, it is better to choose a lightweight paddle to reduce fatigue and improve your navigation. Carbon SUP paddles are the lightest, allowing you to paddle longer and more efficiently.
Think About Your Intended Use: Do you want to use your SUP paddle for casual paddle boarding? Do you want to try surfing, touring, or racing? Answering these questions will help you streamline your search for the most suitable paddle.
Prioritise Durability: A high-quality paddle can be very long-lasting. Conduct a cost-benefit analysis to choose a paddle tough and durable enough to last for several years. Carbon fibre paddles are some of the best options for ensuring durability and strength
What is a 1-piece SUP paddle?
A fixed-length paddle, or a 1-piece paddle, consists of a single shaft with a blade. The integrity of the shaft ensures excellent performance when you paddle on the water. It also offers phenomenal flex to help you navigate with ease. The 1-piece paddle is also slightly lighter than the 2-piece and 3-piece variants because it does not need connectors.
You can choose a 1-piece paddle if you plan to use it for general use or one specific usage condition like surfing. However, if you want to use the same paddle for multiple specialised conditions like surfing and touring, the 1-piece may not be enough. Using the same paddle for surfing and touring will require height variations, which is not possible with a fixed-length paddle. 1-piece paddles are also not as transportable as 2 and 3 piece SUP paddles.
What is a 2-piece SUP paddle?
A 2-piece SUP paddle will be an excellent choice if you need your paddle for multiple uses. For example, you may need to shorten it for surfing. On the other hand, you may want to add an extension to elongate it for touring or racing. So, if you plan to move into these specialised water sports with your SUP, a 2-piece carbon SUP paddle will be your best bet! The 2-piece paddle is more travel-friendly than the fixed-length variant. It is also lighter than a 3-piece paddle. The 2-piece SUP paddles offer adequate flex and performance to try activities like touring and surfing.
What is a 3-piece SUP paddle?A 3-piece SUP paddle has three parts, joined by a connector. The primary utility of this design is the ease of packing. If you travel a lot with your SUP, a 3-piece paddle will be without a doubt the most suitable choice. It is the heaviest of the three variants, but its flex and performance still work well in different usage conditions.
You can browse a range of SUP paddles here!