Carbon Vs. Regular Stand Up Paddle Board Paddles – Which One is For You?

Since the invention of surfing, people have been looking for materials that are light, yet provide maximum performance. The earliest surf boards were made from hollowed out wood. That changed when polyurethane foam and fiberglass were introduced in the mid-20th century. The foam core surfboards turned out to be lighter, faster and more waterproof than complete wood boards. It ushered in a new era of surfing.


Today we may be looking at the third wave of stand up paddle boards. Carbon fiber, a key component of race cars, motorcycles, and bicycles, is now being included in the design of SUP boards and stand up paddle board accessories.


Carbon fiber is derived from petroleum pitch, a by-product of oil production. Since these fibers contain as much as 85% carbon, they are very strong. In fact, carbon fiber is five times stronger than steel!


The fibers are heated in a very high temperature, then spun and woven into what we know as carbon fiber yarn. As this material consists of fiber, it is very light. This unique combination of high strength and light weight makes this the ideal material for stand up paddle board accessories – paddles in particular.   For many years, stand up paddle board paddles were constructed using plastic or fiberglass. Plastic is cheaper, but very heavy. It also breaks easily. Fiberglass is lighter and stronger than plastic, but still not as lightweight or as strong as carbon.


Paddles need to be light so as not to overtax your muscles. They must be extra strong and sturdy as they are subject to more abuse and stress than your board or any other paddle board accessories. If it isn’t sturdy and durable, it could easily break and provide unreliable performance on the water. As such, a growing number of paddle board enthusiasts invest in carbon fiber paddles. These paddles are lighter than fiberglass, yet strong and sturdy enough to withstand all the pressure and strokes that take place during a normal paddle board session.

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