Jan 02

What should I consider when choosing the stiffness of my Premium Carbon shaft?

When choosing your EPIC Pro 95 Premium Carbon paddle you are offered a choice of shaft stiffness and it is important to choose the optimal bend characteristics which match your unique set of variables. There are a few things to consider and this post aims to empower you to make an informed decision. If in doubt please get in contact and we can discuss in detail and/or arrange a demo. Things to consider when choosing your Premium Carbon shaft;


  • Your height and weight: Being taller means that you exert more force through your paddle, and being longer your paddle is naturally more flexible. The taller you are and the longer your paddle the stiffer shaft you will need. The same rules apply to weight, the heavier you are the more force you can apply and hence the stiffer your shaft should be. Lighter and shorter riders will want a softer shaft. Our chart below seeks to take account of both factors based on a typical body type. If you are tall for your weight then choose a stiffer option and if you are shorter on average for your weight choose a more flexible option than suggested.
  • The type of paddling you do: Advanced level racers will want ultimate stiffness for the most effective delivery of maximum power hence will need a stiffer shaft. Over longer distances and for recreational paddling riders want a softer more forgiving paddle, this is also true of downwinders. Wave riders may want a more flexible paddle compared to flat water paddling, this helps to increase the feel on the wave and is more forgiving when you fall, as wave riders are typically using shorter paddles this also means that the shaft needs to be softer.
  • Your board length and volume: As your board gets shorter consider a more flexible shaft. For wave riding we have split the chart into over 8ft boards and under 8ft boards however use some degree of judgement. For lower volume and shorter boards you will sit deeper in the water and hence need a shorter paddle and hence a more flexible shaft. This also relates to the type of riding you are doing, aggressive riders on shorter boards will be leaning into their paddle more and need more bend. A softer shaft gives you more feel on the wave face but a little less power when catching the waves.
  • Body type and previous injuries: We do not recommend the STIFF shaft for anyone who has had shoulder issues in the part, either SUP or non SUP related, if this is the case then you should consider choosing the MEDIUM of FLEX shafts. Our stiffest shaft is reserved for racing and larger more powerful riders who can handle the extra strain on their mussels and joints.
  • Personal preference: As paddlers we are all different and have our own unique set of variables. If you are unsure of what you prefer then chat to us about the options and try to arrange a demo. We have smaller team riders who prefer stiffer paddles than larger team riders who choose softer paddles. The ability to customize your paddle to your unique set of desires is one of things which makes owning a Black Project paddle so rewarding.


Refer to the table below which gives a shaft suggestion based on your weight, remember that this is a guide based on the discussions above and feedback from paddlers. For most riders the MEDIUM shaft is likely to be the right option for a range of paddling with dedicated wave riders opting for the FLEX and advanced level racers choosing the STIFF.

shaft stiffness


If you have questions please get in touch, if you are ready to choose your next paddle go to the online store.


More to follow…