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.