This is part of the Kevin Woodin Reviews Everything column. To read all of his entries, click here. 

I’ve been paddling for several years now and getting better each summer.  For me I made the mistakes of buying before trying and the end result is a couple of spare paddles that I will end up never using, the custom size is hard to sell or trade-in, and now it’s turned into some decorative wall art in my home office  🙂

Rule #1 – If you have a local SUP shop that you can go to and test out products I would strongly recommend it!  For me I go to DownUnder in Westport CT.  Tell Kim I sent you if you go.

Rule #2 – Your paddle is the most important piece of equipment.  It’s like choosing the best sword to slay a dragon!

Take good care of your paddle!  Here’s a video of how a break can happen:

Rule #3 – Once you have your perfect blade you can begin to work on

–        Breathing

–        Focus

–        Technique

–        Rhythm

–        Tempo

–        Power


This is the paddle I’ve been using the last 3+ years:quickblade kanaha paddle

(Present) QuickBlade Kanaha Elite Race Paddle (All Carbon)

I won’t even tell you the paddle I had before this one, it was a terrible online purchase and almost made me fall out of love with this sport!


–        Lightweight

–        Strength, durability, and versatility.

o   Here’s a video of just how strong it is


–        Excellent entry and exit from the water

–        Medium blade size, 101 sq./in.

–        Slightly curved tip on the blade makes for a clean, fast catch.

–        Slight dihedral contour on the blade face keeps from twisting.

–        80” carbon shaft.

–        Grip I have on this paddle is the P40 EVA wrapped.

–        I also had an adjustable version of the same paddle but sold it because it was just laying around.

–        If you plan to have more than one rider using your paddle and board I would strongly recommend and adjustable paddle.


–        Carbon paddles are strong but can break if you hit them against solid objects like rocks, etc.

–        If you want a friendlier paddle choose the carbon/fiberglass version.

–        Found a video that shows how a paddle can break in the spot it was hit with force on the shaft.


This is my NEW paddle I will be learning and growing stronger/faster/better with:

(New for me this Fall) QuickBlade V Drive (All Carbon) quickblade v drive paddle

Purchased at DownUnder in Westport, CT.

Tell Kim I sent you and her and the team will help you find the perfect paddle for your next adventure!


–        I purchased the grip & shaft “P55-065 carbon Grip with Oval Tapered Carbon Shaft”, 78” length.

–        Blade size is Small (91 sq./in).  Smaller blade size for a faster(race) paddle speed.

–        Its design features a unique scooped V section that’s edges create a double dihedral for enhanced stability during the power application.

–        The blade offers a very stable yet effective power phase with an effortless exit.

–        The oval tapered carbon shaft allows for better grip and switching from right to left iseffortless because the majority of the weight is down by the blade.


–        The V Drive with the Oval Tapered Carbon Shaft does not come in an adjustable model simply because the end that is sized/cut is by the blade and tapered section is by the grip.

–        None

Some other helpful information:

–        If you have a local SUP shop that you can go to and test out products I would strongly recommend it!  For me I go to DownUnder in Westport CT.  Tell Kim I sent you if you go.

–        See for help with

o   Choosing blade size.

  • Smaller for racing and faster paddle speed.  (Moving less water with each stroke.  Less effort but because you have to paddle faster you will get tired and out of breath much sooner and requires more fast twitch muscle fibers.)
  • Larger for touring.  (Moving more water with each stroke.  More effort but because you are paddling slower it will require more slow twitch muscle fibers.)

o   Choosing paddle length.

o   Note – I’m 5’9” so my paddle for touring is 80” and racing is 78”.  You can see that I went 1” longer vs. the recommended because that felt good to me.

o   Not everyone is the same because your arm length can vary even for two people with the same exact height, just saying 

–        If you have a local SUP shop that you can go to and test out products I would strongly recommend it.  For me I go to DownUnder in Westport CT.  Tell Kim I sent you if you go.


  1. *** Moving water with each stroke?
    I did want to add that this is where many beginners get into trouble with blade size. Once your stroke is dialed in, you should not ever be moving water. You should be firmly planting the paddle, it should never move, and you should be drawing the board to the paddle each stroke. You don’t want slippage. Excellent paddlers on unlimited boards actually take their paddles out IN FRONT of where the put them in !?!?! Mind. Blown. The ideal paddle is one where you can get a higher cadence (small blade) and also never get slippage (usually a big blade). That’s why Dave Kalama helped make the new V-Drive, it should stay put with each stroke even though it is a bit smaller. Plus you save your shoulders with a smaller blade. Move your board, not water!


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