Author Topic: Length of paddle for surfing and how do you know that you have gone too short?  (Read 3904 times)

IRideYellow

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I was out the other night and Olivia from Covewater switched paddles with me.  We thought his paddle was shorter then mine and I thought it was much better fit.  Turns out it was only a inch shorter and the paddle head shape was identical as was the sq inches of the head.  I have since bought another paddle with more of a tear shaped head, though the same sq inches as my current paddle and it is 2 inches shorter then my current paddle (maybe tonight I'll get to use it)

How do you know when you have gone too short on your paddle lenght?
Starboard WidePoint 8'10, Sunova 8'10 Speeed (Sold), Wardog  7'10 Jammer,  L41 8'8 S3 (sold), Naish Mana 10 (sold), 3 Wavestorm 9'6

TallDude

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When your lower back is sore after your session.
It's not overhead to me!
8'8" L-41 ST and a whole pile of boards I rarely use.

Bean

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I agree, you might feel it in your lower back.  From my own experience, I have to consciously maintain my posture, and make sure I'm bending at my knees when I surf with my short board/paddle.

PonoBill

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Back pain is certainly an indicator, especially for inflexible geezers. But there are probably two better and more immediate indicators.

If you find yourself not burying the blade, you're not getting an efficient catch. True for any paddle, but even more true for some shapes. Tear-shaped paddles are worse for partial planting than flatter-bottomed paddles because a smaller percentage of the total area is engaged.

If you find you can't brace effectively, or fall more often in chop, then your paddle is too short. Bracing uses all the length of a paddle. You want the face of the paddle to be flat(ish) on the water so you reach out. If you lean into the brace, you are partly defeating the purpose.

So if you want to know right away if the length is adequate, try a brace, and then do a good reach, lean as much as you are comfortable with and see where the paddle is. If it's not buried, then it isn't doing you much good.

Surprisingly, the difference between good fit and great fit is less than half an inch.
Foote 10'4X34", SIC 17.5 V1 hollow and an EPS one in Hood River. Foote 9'0" x 31", L41 8'8", 18' Speedboard, etc. etc.

socalgremmy

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So, what is the "current" rule of thumb for paddle length (SUSurfing, touring/race) in relation to one's height?
And, for those of us who don't have the resources to try many various incremental lengths how to know?

Zooport

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My paddle is two inches longer than I am tall.  I'm happy with it, but I don't know if it's proper.
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Area 10

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My paddle is two inches longer than I am tall.  I'm happy with it, but I don't know if it's proper.
I'm using an OC paddle for SUP surfing these days. Anyone who uses a paddle longer than half the length of their board really needs to take stock of what they are doing with their life IMO :)

Short boards, short paddles, short riders, short sessions, long periods spent in traction. It's the future!

PonoBill

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Honestly, there isn't a useful rule of thumb. Never really has been. Board thickness and paddle technique are big variables. If you want to see if a paddle will be tolerable, reach up and fold your wrist over the handle. At least that method accounts for a difference in arm length.
Foote 10'4X34", SIC 17.5 V1 hollow and an EPS one in Hood River. Foote 9'0" x 31", L41 8'8", 18' Speedboard, etc. etc.

Zooport

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Anyone who uses a paddle longer than half the length of their board really needs to take stock of what they are doing with their life IMO :)

Half the length of my board would make my paddle 3' 8" long.  I'm not tall, but I'm not that short! :)
8'6 Soul Compass
9'1 Sunova Creek
9'6 WaveStorm SUP
9'8 Starboard Element

Area 10

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Anyone who uses a paddle longer than half the length of their board really needs to take stock of what they are doing with their life IMO :)

Half the length of my board would make my paddle 3' 8" long.  I'm not tall, but I'm not that short! :)
Your board is too big then. My board is so small that I sink up to my knees on it. This means that I only need a paddle that is 36" long these days ;)

 


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