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McConks new SUP paddle blade graphics – which one’s your fave?

We’re always looking to evolve here at McConks. With this in mind we’ve been tinkering with different SUP paddle blade options, as you can see below.

From a stand up paddle boarding point of view (with emphasis on the standing and paddling bit – even though SUP has evolved to include other forms of propulsion) your paddle is still the defining piece of equipment. We appreciate, however, that as much as paddling performance is required from your ‘engine’ it also has to look decent.

McConks graphics and liveries have been changing over the last few seasons but up until this point, we’d not shone a spotlight on our paddles. So, now we have. But which one do you think’s best? Is the timeless, understated and knocked back version your favourite or do you like something with a bit more pizazz?

Let us know what your preferred design is. You can follow the original Facebook conversation here. Get involved!

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Helping taller stand up paddlers to achieve correct SUP paddle length.

It’s long been established that too lengthy a SUP paddle shaft is detrimental to your joints and limbs – particularly your rotator cuff. Rotator cuff injuries can be pretty problematic and sometimes require surgery – especially if damage has occurred over a duration of time and the injury is severe. Some omay have you believe this is par for the course of being a stand up paddler. Yet there are things you can do to mitigate this injury.

During the early days of stand up longer SUP paddle shafts were the norm. But as SUPers (particularly performance riders such as racers) pushed the limits, more and more were best with injuries related to, and directly applicable to, damaged rotator cuffs.

Soon after, any stand up paddler aware of the problem began shortening the length of their paddle shaft to (hopefully) halt rotator cuff damage. As adjustable SUP paddles became more popular this got easier and didn’t require the use of hacksaws and glue guns. Cutting down fixed SUP paddle shafts can be strewn with errors if you’re not experienced.

This is all well and good if you’re an average height stand up paddle boarder. The industry, by and large, produces SUP equipment based on the average. Even shorter stature riders shouldn’t have too much issue these days nailing the correct paddle length either. There is, however, a bit of head scratcher if you’re a tall SUPer. In a lot of cases the longest of SUP paddles just aren’t quite long enough – especially if you’re 6′ plus.

McConks has always tried to address potential problems, no matter how small. We’re all about making stand up as easy and accessible as possible. Which is why we cater to, and provide SUP paddles for, the taller rider.

If you fall into this category then McConks SUP has carbon paddles that are suitable for you in our online shop. We can make our two and three piece SUP paddles adjustable between 220cm and 260cm. That’s 40cm longer than most brand’s paddles. They’re £180 including delivery so message us to find out more. In the meantime check out McConks’s SUP paddle range here.

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Paddles and paddling – STILL, the most important aspects of SUP

McConks SUP paddleboard paddles

It’s been mentioned countless times in the past, by much more informed paddle sport luminaries than us, yet with each year’s new influx of SUPers entering the fold it’s still often missed. The fact is: paddles and paddling (the actual act of catching water, drawing through the stroke and recovering to repeat a momnet later) are THE most important aspects of SUP. In reality the paddle you’re holding – blade, shaft and handle – is THE defining piece of equipment you own as a stand up paddle boarder. The clue’s in the name. If paddles and paddling weren’t so important, and just a secondary afterthought, then we’d be referred to as stand up floaters…And nobody fancies that.

Of course, stand up paddlers need a craft. Yet look at the evidence. With SUP, or rather standing and paddling, being millennia old it’s not an actual board you ‘need’. The second coming of SUP, if you want to call it that, peddled via Laird, Kalama and crew back around the start of the noughties, seems to be more about boards than paddles if you follow the marketing by the big brands. But further back in history, way back before the Waikiki Beach Boys of Oahu, Hawaii, featured sleds that may just have been crudely shaped, dug out, hollow pieces of tree trunk. Although, crude might not be fair, as our paddling forefathers sure knew a thing or two about propelling ‘machines’ forwards with a stick and blade or two.

The efficiency and quality of a paddler’s paddle back in those days could literally be life and death. Standing and paddling, as well as sitting and paddling, wasn’t recreational. It was a means to source food; hunt and feed your family. A way to transport necessary items for everyday life – and we’re not talking the weekly shop! Although in days gone by foraging from the land and water was the equivalent of visiting a supermarket – just a natural, environmentally sustainable one.

Paddling is also a route to new lands and was even how some continents were discovered. It’s written in history the ancient Polynesians discovered their extensive and vastly spread archipelago using a paddle. In some ways the paddle can be compared to the sail, which as we’re all aware is another form of harnessing natural power to travel, investigate, locate and discover.

Back to SUP, and it’s clear that paddlers should be thinking hard about what ‘engine’ they’re going to pairing that shiny new SUP board with. Here at McConks we offer a variety of spangly new inflatable boards to do battle with mother nature, explore and discover. Even if something as hardcore as ‘doing battle’ isn’t your thing McConks still has the right tool for the job. We even bundle our kit to get you going, out afloat and on the brine as soon as your gear lands at your doorstep.

So if have made your board choice, but are still wondering where to spend that hard earned cash allocated to a paddle, may we suggest having another look/see at the paddle currently in your basket. We’re pretty confident that a McConks SUP paddle, whatever part of the range it sits in, will be more than fit for purpose. And if you want the very best performance, our carbon race paddles are worth checking out.

And for those of you that don’t have any extra budget, fear not. You can always upgrade your paddle in the future when you have a bit more cash. As long you remember that your paddle is of utmost importance then you’ll be sweeping ahead – quite literally.

Don’t forget to check out McConks’ range of paddles over in the online shop. If you’re after a helping hand choosing which one to get then hit up the Paddle Selection Wizard that’s been designed to simplify the process. And if all else fails give McConks HQ a shout to discuss – we’re only happy to help.

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5 SUP mistakes anyone can make…

5 SUP mistakes anyone can make…

This isn’t poking fun at anyone, we all make mistakes. It’s merely a bit of fun to lighten the mood and also highlight a handful of goofs that many of us have made – even the now so-called experienced stand up paddlers amongst us. Anyway, learning by trial and error isn’t a bad thing as you’ll never forget!

Paddle the wrong way round

Who knew there was a front and back to a stand up paddle board paddle? And why wouldn’t it be the angled face (the back) that faces towards you? After all, intuitively anybody new to SUP would do the same.

Fins facing backwards

This is one we’ve seen a few times; SUP fins inserted in their box the wrong way round. As with SUP paddles SUP fins are designed to work with the rake of the skeg aiming rearwards, like in the image below. Just so you know…

McConks flush fin box

Wetsuits worn with zips at the front

Yep, another ‘wrong way round’ product that doesn’t just apply to stand up paddlers. And putting on a wetsuit back to front is probably more common mistake than the two above. The zip goes at your back – even mini chest zip wetties the same!

Waxing an already deck gripped up SUP

Actually, there isn’t anything wrong with waxing a SUP fitted with deck grip already. Extra traction is always good even if you don’t technically need it per se. Deck grip will usually provide ample engagement whereas adding surf wax will just cause a mess. Most of the time only SUPs without deck pads need waxing.

Incorrect paddle length

This mostly applies to those SUPers who own adjustable stand up paddle board paddles. It’s probably more common to have the adjustment set too long, which can damage your rotator cuff. There’re are also instances of paddles being too short which results in too stooped a paddling stance.

There are plenty more SUP goofs that we’re sure you’ve seen and maybe made the mistake of doing yourself. Let us know what you’ve seen or done.