Carbon Fiber – Worth the Hype and the $$$?

In Equipment, General by Daniel

Let's get straight to the point -

Yes.

Carbon fiber equipment is worth the hype and the extra dough.

But that doesn't mean a carbon fiber paddle or board is a fit for every paddler.

Let us explain...

Carbon Fiber Paddles

What makes carbon fiber paddles worth the extra dough is their weight.

Or lack thereof.

Instead of a bulky three-piece aluminum paddle, or a slightly lighter fiberglass one, a full carbon paddle weighs mere ounces in comparison.

If you have the chance to hold both in your hands, you will immediately feel the difference.

At first, this may not seem like a big deal. But experience will tell you - spending a little extra on a carbon fiber paddle will save you a ton of energy on the water.

A heavier paddle with a bigger blade means an increase in tension in the water and will result in you quickly tiring.

With a carbon fiber blade, you can maximize your strokes and keep having fun for hours without feeling the burn!

Another benefit a carbon paddle offers is its added stiffness. With each paddle, your blade responds better to your stroke, highly increasing your efficiency. This can also be very helpful if the conditions go sour with heavier winds.

This, of course, will also mean you will tend to have more pressure on your shoulders with each stroke. It's a give-and-take situation.

The only time a carbon fiber paddle is not worth the extra cash - river paddling.

In rivers, you are often faced with bumping into fallen trees, shorelines, and rocks.

If you happen to strike your carbon fiber paddle against any of these obstacles, it will likely result in a cracked blade.

For flatwater paddling, SUP racing, or SUP surfing - a carbon fiber paddle is the tool of choice.

And for a short explanation of the difference, here is a 2 min video:

In the market for a carbon fiber blade?

Then check out Fire Paddle Company for a performance paddle with style!

Carbon Fiber Boards

Boards constructed of carbon fiber require a hefty price tag for the same reason paddles do...

Their weight.

Having a lightweight board is great for certain SUP activities such as...

SUP Racing and SUP Surfing.

The lighter touch of these boards allows for an increase in speed and maneuverability...

Both of which are extremely important for the SUP racer and surfer.

Outside of these activities, carbon boards are a luxury -

And not one every paddler needs.

Especially again, for river paddlers.

Just like their paddle counterparts, carbon fiber boards aren't as durable as plastic boards or inflatable ones, and should definitely not be used in a rocky river setting.

But, if you are into increased performance for your races or catching the big kahuna, then a carbon fiber board is the right fit for you.

Final verdict:

Yes, carbon fiber equipment is worth the extra money but not for every paddler...

Before you take the plunge, make sure it fits the type of paddling you want to do and the correct environment.

We hope this makes sense! If you have any questions on this subject or general SUP activities, give us a shout! Our inbox is always open.

Carbon Fiber Rentals

Did you know - many of the Paddling Pros listed on our site provide carbon fiber paddles and other high-quality gear in their rental fleets?

If you want to give this type of equipment a test run, head to our Location/Activities section and click on Carbon Fiber.

You can check out the results HERE.

Now that we've covered equipment, let's get to this week's stroke technique with Jeff Chang and Robert Stelenick.

This week, Jeff and Rob discuss the 'catch' portion of your paddling stroke.

This is the entry point of the blade into the water before you pull back towards your feet.

Inside the video you will learn the correct technique to have the most efficient 'catch' as possible, making your paddling stroke more efficient and saving you unwarranted stress in your shoulders.

Enjoy!

That's it for this week Perfect Paddles community...

Remember to stay stoked!

-The Perfect Paddles Team

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P.P.S. In case you missed it - our 2021 Spring Newsletter dropped! It's full of information on places to paddle, SUP-inspired vacation trips, the latest and greatest equipment, and more! Click HERE to check it out!!