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Stand Up Paddle BoardingStand Up Paddle Boarding Gear

SUP Paddle Blade Shapes

You may have seen that there are several shapes to choose from when it comes to SUP paddle blades (the actual flat surface that moves through the water). The blade shape of a stand-up paddleboard paddle can have a fairly significant impact on the paddler’s experience. There are several blade shapes to choose from, each with its own set of pros and cons. These shapes are inherited from other paddle sports, such as canoeing and kayaking. The four most common blade shapes for stand-up paddleboarding are teardrop, rectangular, dihedral, and scoop. Let’s take a look at how they all perform.

stand up paddleboarder

When it comes to choosing a stand-up paddleboard blade, one of the key considerations is the shape of the blade. The blade shape can have a significant impact on the performance and feel of the paddle, so it’s essential to choose the right one for your needs. Here are four common blade shapes and the pros and cons of each.

Flat Blade Shape

A flat blade shape is a simple and straightforward design that provides good power and stability. The flat shape creates a larger surface area for the water to push against, which can help generate more speed and momentum. However, the flat shape can also create more drag and require more effort to paddle, which may not be ideal for longer paddles or races.

Scooped Blade Shape

A scooped blade shape, also known as a teardrop or spoon-shaped blade, is designed to provide more lift and reduce drag. The scooped shape creates a concave surface that allows the water to flow more smoothly over the blade, reducing turbulence and resistance. This design can be ideal for long-distance paddling or for those looking for a more efficient stroke. However, the scooped shape may sacrifice some power and stability compared to a flat blade.

Di-Hedral Blade Shape

A dihedral blade shape features two flat surfaces angled away from each other, creating a V-shape. The dihedral shape helps to reduce flutter and blade wobble, providing a smoother and more stable stroke. Additionally, the V-shape helps to create lift and reduce drag, similar to the scooped blade shape. However, the dihedral shape may not provide as much power as a flat blade and may require more precision in paddling technique.

Concave Blade Shape

A concave blade shape features a slight depression or scoop in the center of the blade. This design can help to increase power and efficiency by creating a more focused area of pressure on the blade. The concave shape can also help to reduce blade flutter and increase stability. However, the concave shape may require more effort to paddle and may not be as versatile as other blade shapes.

Blade Shape Pros Cons
Flat Good power and stability More drag and effort to paddle
Scooped More lift and reduced drag, efficient stroke Sacrifices some power and stability
Di-Hedral Reduces flutter and blade wobble, smoother and more stable stroke May not provide as much power and requires more precision in paddling technique
Concave Increased power and efficiency, reduced blade flutter and increased stability May require more effort to paddle and may not be as versatile

It’s worth noting that the pros and cons of each blade shape are not absolute and may vary depending on the specific design and construction of the paddle. Additionally, the best blade shape for each individual will depend on their personal preferences, paddling style, and intended use.

The blade shape of a stand-up paddleboard paddle is an important consideration for paddlers of all skill levels but ultimately, the best blade shape for each individual will depend on their personal preferences and paddling style. If you are a beginner, you shouldn’t worry about this too much. It’s the more seasoned paddlers that tend to fret about blade shape as they have a lot more nuance in their paddle strokes.

Hayley Gordon

Hayley Gordon has been surfing for over 20 years. Riding both shortboards and longboards, she's traveled the world to surf but mainly sticks to her two home locations of San Diego and Long Island.

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