How Do I Choose The Right SUP Paddle Shaft?

How Do I Choose The Right SUP Paddle Shaft?


This guide helps riders to choose the right SUP paddle shaft which fits their unique set of variables. There is a lot of choice so it is important to find the right paddle shaft which best fits your needs as a SUP paddler.


ADJUSTABLE SHAFTS: 100% or 50% carbon

We have the choice of two adjustable SUP paddle shafts. The EPIC Adjustable 100% Carbon comes with our full carbon adjustable shaft, this has a stiffness rating of MEDIUM and is great for a range of paddles and uses from racing to waves. This ultra durable and lightweight adjustable shaft comes with our 12k bumpy shaft for added grip. Finished in gloss this shaft will resist abrasions and general wear and tear extremely well. This is the lightest and stiffest of our adjustable shafts. The PURE Adjustable 50% Carbon features our 50% carbon adjustable shaft which come with a stiffness rating of FLEX. This is softer and hence offers more feel and is ideally suited to smaller riders, on smaller boards or those who just like more bend in their paddle. The matt finish 12k bumpy shaft is excellent for grip in warm and cold waters. Both shafts feature our double pressure clamp and the size markings make adjustment easy on the fly. The range of adjustment is 170 – 230cm (67 – 90.5 inches) which fits most riders.

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3-PIECE TRAVEL SHAFTS:  100%, 50% carbon, Adjustable or Fixed Length

If like us you love to travel or always have a paddle with you in the car then the 3-Piece travel shafts shafts are the perfect option. The unique hexagonal join eliminates any twist and assembles in seconds. No tools are needed and thanks to the lightweight construction you do not notice that you are using a collapsable paddle. The 3-piece adjustable shafts are available in both 100% and 50% carbon. For the performance minded we can also make fixed length 3-piece travel paddles in either 100% or 50% carbon.

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100% PREMIUM CARBON SHAFTS – Standard Diamater 

Our elite level 100% premium carbon shafts are available with our HYDRO and EPIC SUP paddles. These shafts are made to the highest specifications for light weight, responsiveness and durability using only the finest pre-preg materials by skilled engineers in our USA based factory.  You are offered a choice of three stiffness options; STIFF, MEDIUM & FLEX. These shafts feature our textured 3k carbon finish for comfort and grip. It is important to choose the optimal bend characteristics which match your unique set of riding variables. 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;

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  • 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.

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