There is something special about heading out with a wood paddle. It feels warm in the hands no matter what the air or water temperature and you get a really nice organic flex with each stroke that you just don’t get from a carbon fibre or composite paddle. They are easy to repair and last a lifetime so you can pass them down to future generations.
The only problem is that the majority of wood SUP paddles are made using techniques passed on from traditional canoe or outrigger paddle makers, which have been tried & tested over many years. However, a SUP paddle’s long shaft is exposed to much higher loads so many wood SUP paddles end up feeling like wet noodle.
Saka paddles are different. They are the result of 12 months full time R&D with many prototypes and construction methods tested. They outperform many of the latest carbon fibre paddles whether you’re entering big surf, open ocean racing, river rapids or simply flat water cruising.
- ➸ Tapered oval shaft provides an exceptionally high strength to weight ratio
- ➸ Full length timbers provide an even flex and incredible feel
- ➸ Dual composite layers provide longitudinal and torsional strength and stiffness
- ➸ Reinforced 11 degree blade ensures stiffness, strength, control and power
- ➸ Blade edge protected to withstand impacts from boards, reef, rocks or the car park
- ➸ Perfectly balanced weight distribution provides light & stable handling
You can choose any exact length you want (to the nearest centimetre). Paddle length depends on personal preference and paddling style, but as an approximate guide, I would recommend the following:
- Surfing/Rapids/Kids ➸ 5-15cm taller than you
- All round use ➸ 15-25cm taller than you
- Racing ➸ 25-30cm taller than you
As with paddle length it’s personal preference – larger blades require more effort to pull but return more power and are suited to a slower cadence. Smaller blades are easier to use but provide less drive so require quicker strokes. All 3 blade options are constructed to withstand heavy use so you’re not limited by paddler weight. As a rough guide:
- Small (7.0″ wide / approx. 90 sq.in.) ➸ ladies, kids & smaller paddlers
- Medium (7.8″ wide / approx. 105 sq.in.) ➸ surfers & all round users
- Large (8.5″ wide / approx. 115 sq.in.) ➸ big guys, distance tourers and racers
Again, it’s personal preference. I have huge hands and I like the medium size grip for surfing as I can twist it in my palm, but I’ve made 160cm paddles with the large size grip for a couple of very petite ladies who also surf! To follow this guide, measure round your hand at the fullest point just below the knuckles, excluding the thumb:
- Small grip ➸ under 19cm
- Medium grip ➸ 19 – 21cm
- Large grip ➸ over 21cm
Visually, all Saka paddles have the same finish satin finish as this proved to be the most comfortable in the hands with a great balance of grip and slide – not too glossy to cause blisters or stick when changing sides. However, there are 3 finish options to choose from:
- Oil ➸ The most natural finish. This feels great in the hands but requires regular re-oiling. If you’re an occasional user that doesn’t mind taking the time to apply oil every now & then, this is a great option. A minimum of 6 coats of Oil are applied and it comes with a small quantity of premium Watco Danish Oil to keep you going.
- Varnish ➸ This is basically a tougher version of the oil finish, requiring less maintenance. A minimum of 3 coat of oil/varnish mix are followed by up to 6 coats of the highest quality International Goldspar Marine Varnish. You may need to reapply some varnish once a year to keep it looking tip-top.
- Resin ➸ This is the hardest wearing finish and is pretty much maintenance free. I’d recommend this option if you are using your paddle near reef or rocks, and for regular use in the surf.
Grain & Colour Variations
All timber is hand selected based on its grain structure which affects strength and weight. Every paddle is unique so please be aware the your paddle will be similar but subtly different from any of the pictures shown on this site. All paddles are made from 100% cedar.
The weight of wood can vary significantly and paddle weights are also affected by your choice of length, blade & grip size and finish. Here are some guide weights. Please allow +/-15% but also note that these paddles feel lighter in the water due to the weight distribution and balancing.
- 160cm ➸ 750g
- 170cm ➸ 800g
- 180cm ➸ 850g
- 190cm ➸ 900g
- 200cm ➸ 950g
Not quite convinced? Many of my customers leave their carbon paddles hanging up in the garage, despite having spent a wadge of cash on the latest lightweight models. There is just something great about the performance of a decent wood paddle that makes you want to use it for every session! If you have any questions about Saka paddles, please get in touch. I may be able to arrange a demo paddle for you to try depending on your location.