SUP Paddle shafts at different lengths

Technique with Travis – Choosing SUP paddle length

Technique with Travis

This SUP paddle length tutorial is one of several clips in an NSP exclusive series of short, instructional videos by Travis Grant. His tips and techniques will help racers like yourself to improve and perhaps iron out some of the kinks in your current routines.

Travis explains choosing the right SUP paddle length

About Travis

Travis Grant is a stand-up paddle athlete with several world titles under his belt, including Molokai, the Carolina Cup, King of the Harbour NZ and countless others. Rumor has it he owns several paddles and they have different lengths.

About paddle length

Depending on the shape of your board (height is affected) and your preferred technique, a certain length makes the most sense for your paddling and the type of paddling is to be taken into account as well. Longer distances require paddles which are a bit longer while sprint racing benefits from your paddles being a little shorter, accommodating a more hunched position.

A word on foiling and SUP paddle length

And while the shaka-method Travis demonstrates is definitely an evolution over the old “arms-length” method, the recent surge in foiling may require additional adjustments.

We’ve spoken to riders who foil with the exact same length as their normal wave setup, but we also noticed riders who will go foiling with an additional two inch of paddle. In the end, it all comes down to your budget, and the guys and girls who foil with longer paddles were quick to point out that paddle length should be your last concern. Once you’ve figured out the ideal depth of your foil and you invested in a coiled leash, instead of a regular one, perhaps then a new paddle is in order.

Main Takeaways


The length of your race has an impact on how long your ideal paddle should be for that race.


For short sprint races, the perfect way to get a paddle length is a shake on your dome.


Longer formats require an additional inch above a shaka because you tend to stand taller (more upright) during endurance racing.

Also in this how-to series:

Technique with Travis – Buoy Turning
Technique with Travis – Racing Strategy
Technique with Travis – Choosing your SUP fins
Technique with Travis – Recessed decks and what does it do? (scroll down)
Technique with Travis – How to do fast beach starts

Video by: Taylor Johnson