How To Choose The Right Paddle

Are you starting your paddling journey? Choosing the right paddle for paddleboarding is crucial for comfort, efficiency, and performance. Take these three essential tips to help you choose the right paddle for your adventures.

Select your material

The material of the paddle affects its weight, durability, and price. Here are the most common materials to select from.

  • Aluminum: Affordable and durable but heavier. Good for beginners or casual paddlers.
  • Plastic/Nylon: Often used for paddle blades; it’s durable but can be heavy and less efficient.
  • Fiberglass: Lighter than aluminum and more rigid, providing better performance. This is a good mid-range option.
  • Carbon Fiber: A Girl Paddlers community favorite. The lightest and stiffest option, offering the best performance. At a higher cost, carbon fiber is ideal for serious paddlers and racers.

Adjustability and length

The length of your paddle should be appropriate for your height and paddling style. Adjustable paddles are versatile and can be shared among different users.

  • Height: As a general rule of thumb, the paddle should be 8-12 inches (20-30 cm) taller than you. For racing or aggressive paddling, a longer paddle is beneficial, while for surfing, a shorter paddle works best.
  • Adjustable Paddles: These are ideal for those who need flexibility or share their paddle with others. Ensure the adjustment mechanism is robust and easy to use.
  • Fixed-Length Paddles: Typically lighter and can be customized to your exact height and preferences, offering better performance for those who paddle frequently.

Choosing blade size and shape

The shape and size of the paddle blade impact how the paddle interacts with the water and how much power you can generate. Having the correct size and shape is essential in how to choose the right paddle.

  • Blade Size: Smaller blades are easier on the shoulders and ideal for long-distance paddling or smaller paddlers. Larger blades provide more power and are suitable for stronger paddlers or short, quick strokes.
  • Blade Shape: Teardrop shaped blades are great for powerful strokes often used in racing. Rectangular blades provide a more consistent power phase, making them suitable for all-around use.

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced paddler looking for an upgrade, by considering the above factors, you’ll be able to choose a paddle that enhances your paddleboarding experience. Happy paddling!


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