The 10 Best SUP Paddles

Updated November 17, 2017 by Brett Dvoretz

10 Best SUP Paddles
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
If one of your current favorite pastimes is stand-up paddleboarding, make sure you are never left adrift out on the open water. These SUP paddles will reliably propel you across any lake or ocean and come in models designed for convenient portability, extreme durability or both, so you can select the right one for your needs and budget. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best sup paddle on Amazon.

10. BPS Alloy

With its strong aluminium shaft, nylon composite blade, and ergonomically designed handle, you can't go wrong with the BPS Alloy. It is a great general use paddle that virtually anyone from a beginner to an advanced paddler can use, all at a fantastic price.
  • guaranteed for 12 months to float
  • developed and tested in new zealand
  • poor quality adjustment latch
Brand BPS
Model pending
Weight 2.2 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

9. Airhead Carbon Composite

If you're in the market for a lightweight option, the Airhead Carbon Composite makes a great choice, as it weighs in at a mere 2 pounds. It has a duck foot blade and can easily adjust between 63” and 70” to accommodate paddlers of varying heights.
  • great for downward runs
  • easy for first-timers to maneuver
  • shaft flexes too much
Brand Airhead
Model AHSUP-P4
Weight 1.9 pounds
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

8. Super Paddles 3-Piece

The Super Paddles 3-Piece is a great entry-level model for beginners or casual paddlers who are on a tight budget. It is constructed of an aluminum shaft and a nylon blade that can handle rugged abuse while you're learning the ins and outs of the sport.
  • available with or without a bag
  • feels solid when paddling
  • seems a bit too heavy
Brand Super Paddles
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

7. SUP Supply Adventurer

The SUP Supply Adventurer is great for casual users or rental shops looking for high quality at an affordable price. Its rugged construction is built to last, and it can also easily break down for storage in the back of your car or in the corner of a tight closet.
  • secure locking mechanism
  • makes a great backup
  • not meant for serious paddlers
Brand SUP Supply
Model pending
Weight 2.3 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

6. Advanced Elements Alani

Take the Advanced Elements Alani along on your next adventure, featuring a bright orange color that stands out against the water if dropped. Its translucent, hard polycarbonate blade offers great performance, but the shaft doesn't break down for storage or travel.
  • blade has a slight curve
  • height adjustment can slip
  • pricey for a fiberglass model
Model AE2057
Weight 3.8 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

5. Bic Sport Original

If you are just as concerned about style as performance, the Bic Sport Original is for you. It 's available in four attractive color schemes and has a cool graphic on the blade, plus you can choose between a fiberglass and aluminum model to fit your budget.
  • available in kids' and adult sizes
  • rubberized grip texture
  • easy to see float
Brand BIC Sport
Model 100720
Weight 3.8 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

4. Super Paddles Carbon Fiber

The Super Paddles Carbon Fiber has an unusually shaped handle that may take some getting used to, but most find it extremely comfortable after the small learning curve. It can be purchased with either a carbon fiber blade or a fiberglass one based on your preferences.
  • practically no blade flutter
  • adjusts from 72 to 86 inches
  • easy to carry bag with strap
Brand Super Paddles
Model pending
Weight 2.4 pounds
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

3. BPS Slider

For those who take their paddling seriously, the BPS Slider is a solid choice made from high quality carbon fiber. It allows you to set and lock your own length preference, plus it comes with a 12-month guarantee if it doesn't deliver to your expectations.
  • blade enters the water quietly
  • weighs less than 2 pounds
  • no noticeable flex when paddling
Brand BPS
Model pending
Weight 3.5 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

2. Own the Wave Alloy

The Own the Wave Alloy is the perfect choice for beginners who are just getting into the sport and don't want to spend too much money as they test the waters. The blade is made from a sturdy nylon composite that can stand up to a beating.
  • available in 2- and 3-piece designs
  • minute length adjustment increments
  • grip is comfortable in the hand
Brand Own the Wave
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

1. iGK Pure Carbon

The iGK Pure Carbon is an extremely lightweight option that is suitable for competition and casual boarding. Its 3-piece design can be assembled in seconds and makes for easy transport, especially when paired with the included travel bag.
  • adjusts from 72 to 86 inches
  • floats if dropped in water
  • high performance dihedral blade
Brand iGK
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

A Brief History Of Stand-Up Paddleboarding

For virtually as long as there have been canoes, kayaks, or other watercraft, people have been using them for stand-up paddleboarding. It's a practice that developed independently in many different regions of the world, including Africa, Hawaii, and South America.

In Africa, warriors used it to sneak up on their enemies, riding dugout canoes and propelling themselves with their spears. The technique was virtually silent, making it the perfect delivery system for a sneak attack.

Meanwhile, in Peru, fishermen would stand on something called "caballitos de totora," or "little reed horses." These were very unstable crafts made of reeds that were either stood upon or straddled like a horse.

The Hawaiians, meanwhile, were becoming the original masters of surfing. The Hawaiians used either canoes or special boards made from the Koa tree, and these craft were so large that using a paddle to power yourself through the waves was a necessity.

When surfing surged in popularity in the 20th century, SUP did as well. In fact, part of the reason was due to the fact that surfing instructors needed a higher vantage point in order to keep a watchful eye on their students.

In the 1940s, a man named John Zapotocky was on vacation in Hawaii when he caught sight of the instructors. He immediately fell in love with SUP, and surfing in general. He quickly became such a regular on the water that the locals made him an honorary "Beach Boy," the name given to local surfing legends (he didn't get any royalties from the other Beach Boys, though). Today, he's considered by many to be the modern father of SUP.

By the 1990s, surfing was a global phenomenon. Instructors began teaching SUP as an alternative way to get out on the waves when there wasn't enough swell to surf, and the technique proved popular enough that many surfing competitions began offering SUP contests and races.

Today, SUP continues to grow in popularity, with many enthusiasts enjoying it as much — if not more — than traditional surfing. If you're just getting into paddling, SUP is an excellent way to get your feet wet, so to speak.

Actually, it's a pretty good way to get your entire body wet, as keeping yourself upright isn't nearly as easy as the pros make it look.

Choosing The Right Paddle

When looking for a high-quality SUP paddle, there are a few general things you should consider: length, blade size and shape, and material.

Getting the wrong length of paddle is obviously a mistake, as it will be hard to propel yourself if it's too long, and a paddle that's too short will leave you looking like you should be ringing the bells at Notre Dame. To find the right length, stand the paddle up next to you vertically with the blade on the ground, then reach your arm up toward the other end. The handle should reach the bend of your wrist. Keep shopping until you find one that fits, or get an adjustable model that you can tailor to your body.

A quick note on adjustable paddles: while many people like them for their versatility and the fact that multiple members of the family can use the same one, others like the increased rigidity that a fixed-length paddle offers. This is totally up to you, but you should try out both to see which you prefer.

The blade is the next thing to consider. There are two basic shapes: teardrop and rectangular. Teardrop blades are great for generating lots of speed and power, but they require quite a bit of effort, so they might not be suitable for beginners. Rectangular, on the other hand, give you a gentler stroke, but they're not ideal for racing.

The size of the blade will also play a big part in determining how much you enjoy your day on the water. Basically, the bigger the blade, the more water you can move — but the harder it'll be to push. Larger people can generally get away with larger blades, but this will ultimately come down to personal preference.

Finally, take a look at different paddle materials before you make your decision. Most beginner paddles will use plastic blades and aluminum shafts, which makes them less expensive and keeps you from dropping too much cash before you're sure the sport is for you. Once you get more experienced, you'll likely want to transition to a lighter, more rigid fiberglass model, and if you're still fanatical about your new hobby, carbon fiber paddles are top-of-the-line.

Once you find the perfect paddle, you'll be set for a day — or a lifetime — out on your board riding the waves.

Health Benefits Of Stand-Up Paddleboarding

SUP isn't just a fun and relaxing way to spend a weekend — it also gives you a killer workout.

One of the main benefits is that it engages your whole body, as everything from your shoulders to your hips gets involved with every stroke. You also get the double-whammy of a cardio workout with some resistance training thrown in, helping you to build muscle while shedding fat.

If you spend most of your workweek slumped over behind a desk, then SUP can help correct your posture. Because you'll need to balance yourself at all times, your core and lower back muscles will be constantly engaged, and keeping them in shape will do wonders for your alignment.

Of course, your body won't be the only thing that benefits from regular time on the water. It's extremely relaxing, and communing with nature will help reduce the stress of daily life. The regular rhythm of your stroke can have a calming effect similar to that offered by meditation, as well.

Getting into an SUP habit will do wonders for your health, both mentally and physically, and it's a lot of fun to boot — right up until you hear the theme music from Jaws.

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Last updated on November 17, 2017 by Brett Dvoretz

A wandering writer who spends as much time on the road as behind the computer screen, Brett can either be found hacking furiously away at the keyboard or perhaps enjoying a whiskey and coke on some exotic beach, sometimes both simultaneously, usually with a four-legged companion by his side. He hopes to one day become a modern day renaissance man.

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