Stand up paddle boarding in Swansea & Gower
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Paddle for the Foil

Paddles for foiling
Once you’re sorted with your chosen board and foil you make overlook your paddle choice however generating and retaining speed has to be one of the most important factors of foiling.

Support

Admittedly the foil will give the board some added secondary stability but your support strokes are still needed as the weight of the water pushing against the lower wingtip on a roll to one side on the board will mean the board can remain off axis.
Think of a support stroke like you’re slapping the waters surface with the blade flat to keep yourself balanced and over the sweet spot on the foil beneath. A larger blade with more surface area will catch more water and keep the power centred on the shaft rather than in your hands.

Catching waves

I’ve tried smaller blades whilst SUP foiling and although they work, this is when a larger bladed paddle can assist. That’s not to say a smaller bladed paddle will not be suitable but when driving the board forward to catch the slightest of ocean swells more surface area can do the job quicker without having to change sides.
I also find when catching crumbling white water rolling towards you, a larger blade will help you through this turbulence and support you in staying balanced on the board.

Paddle Height
I would recommend the paddle be at  your own height or + 2-3 inches . This will give you leverage once your are up on the foil and also keep your back relatively straight when applying power to catch a wave.
Longer paddles do have a tendency to clip the foil wing when paddling or once up and foiling.

My own choice
I weigh 83kg and a 95 square inch blade is what i’ve been using . My go to SUP surf paddle would be a 74″ . I have used both and found that to get the desired speed to foil, the paddle exchanges or cadence I need to achieve on the 74 can sometimes mean i miss waves.
Also my hands seem to ache more using a smaller paddle blade rather than the 1-3 strokes i need to get myself into some junky wave that no one would ever turn for.If you only have a smaller blade then you can gain more power by gripping further down the shaft.

Any Paddle suited to downwind paddling would be ideal , but go 10-15 Square inches over what you normally use or dig out that first time SUP paddle that used to blow your shoulders

My personal Paddle of choice is Ke Nalu Ho’oloa 95

The Ke nalu Ho’oloa blade has a slightly softened catch due to the narrower width but more drive due to the increased length and larger ‘sweet spot’. The narrower overall profile also helps to reduce flutter tendencies & keep the power more ‘centered’ around the shaft.

 

 

All words are my own opinions and copyright by Matt barker smith 

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Francis street
Brynmill
Swansea, SA1 4NH
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