How to Choose Your SUP Paddle

When it's time to buy an inflatable SUP paddle, you want to be sure you're considering the following 3 choices. There are options that serve myriad purposes, so we're here to break it all down for you to help you get the best inflatable paddleboard paddle for your SUP style!


  1. Travel (breakdown) Paddle vs One-Piece Paddle
  2. Blade + Shaft Materials
  3. Adjustable vs. Cut-to-Fit

Travel (breakdown) Paddle vs One-Piece Paddle

Travel paddles are often less durable, less stiff and weigh a little more. That being said, if you don’t have a lot of storage, or if you need to fly with a paddle, these paddles are the ideal solution. The convenience of being able to throw your paddle into a backpack and take it anywhere with you is hard to beat.

For ultimate performance, a one-piece paddle is the way to go. While more inconvenient for traveling, these are made to be lighter, more durable and have a continuous shaft allowing for the ideal balance of flexibility and stiffness. One piece paddles will still fit in your car and don’t take up much storage space due to the low profile of a paddle, but they don’t fit in a backpack and if you want to take it on a plane you might get an additional baggage charge.

Blade + Shaft Materials

There are two places the materials really matter: The blade and the shaft.

Many high-quality blades are made with CFRT which stands for continuous fiber reinforced thermoplastic. This is a composite material more durable and often lighter than a carbon or fiberglass option.

For the paddle shaft, most paddles use carbon, fiberglass or some blend of the two. Carbon is stiffer, but less durable and more expensive. Fiberglass is more durable and cheaper but slightly less stiff.

Adjustable vs. Cut-to-Fit

Many paddles on the market these days are adjustable. This means you don’t need to worry about sizing as most paddles are usually designed to fit someone between 5-feet and 6-foot-4-inches tall.

The main point where the paddle adjusts is at the T-Grip or handle at the top of the paddle. A Lever-Lock mechanism is the most common type of adjustable T-Grip due to the ease of use and the simple yet durable design.

Some paddles can be sold in a cut-to-fit (CTF) version in which you cut the paddle to the desired length. For most paddlers, an adjustable paddle will suit their needs best.

Our Favorite Paddles

Travel Paddle Options

The Lock n' Load is a full carbon paddle from the T-Grip down to the blade. This full carbon layup makes the paddle very light and rigid for a travel paddle. If you need a travel paddle but don’t want to settle for low performance, this is the paddle for you. Serious paddlers will appreciate the versatility of a performance paddle that you can still fit inside a standard paddle board bag.

Best for: Travelers who take their paddling seriously
Hala Lock & Load Carbon Travel Paddle

One Piece Options

The Hala Grafik Carbon HS Paddle a great performance-focused, all-around, adjustable paddle. With a full carbon shaft, this paddle is extremely lightweight and durable. And the LeverLock adjustable handle gives you the opportunity to fit the paddle specific to your needs or maneuver it to share with family and friends. Get this high-performing adjustable paddle for your adventures.

Best for: One paddle to rule the rivers with
Hala Grafik Carbon HS Paddle

What do you think? Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published

About Us

We're a group of whitewater kayak, raft, and stand up paddleboard enthusiasts committed to stocking the highest-quality gear and deliver it to you as quickly as possible.

Learn more about us

Don't Forget About These

Check Out More of Our Blogs

View all
Why "Classing Up" in Whitewater is NOT the Answer

Why "Classing Up" in Whitewater is NOT the Answer

Jonny Ortiz
Progressing through the difficulty levels should be approached gradually, with a focus on skill development, knowledge acquisition, and a deep appreciation for the sport itself.
Immersion Research Devil's Club Dry Suit: One Beater's Honest Review

Immersion Research Devil's Club Dry Suit: One Beater's Honest Review

GearBenjamin Thornton
The Immersion Research Devils Club Dry Suit is one of the most durable drysuits on the market, and in my humble opinion, one of the best pieces of gear money can buy.
In Defense of Bootie Beers

In Defense of Bootie Beers

GearVictoria Ohegyi
Let's face it--we are all in between swims.