How to Properly Size
a Fixed Stand-Up Paddleboard Paddle

By Danielle Buenrostro

This beautiful carbon fiber T-Grip is molded to fit inside the elliptical shaft of the EL-500 Fixed Elliptical Shaft Carbon Paddle.

If the thought of cutting your favorite fixed carbon fiber SUP paddle has you nervous, we’ve got some tips to make the process a breeze.

For this Advisor, we’ll use Surfstow’s Fixed Elliptical Shaft Carbon SUP Paddle with a bamboo blade. This paddle is designed to be tailored to the individual paddler, so it’s just the right size for you and only you.

What you’ll need

To properly size a paddle, you need the following items:

If your paddle has heat shrink tubing, you’ll need a heat gun. Make sure the tubing is on the shaft before you begin.

Deciding where to cut

Surfstow’s ultralight cut-to-length EL-500 Fixed Elliptical Shaft Carbon Paddle.

Next, we need to determine at what measurement to cut the paddle. Paddle length is dependent on a few factors. First, consider how you will be paddling. If you are wave riding, consider adding eight inches to your height. If you are cruising, touring or racing, add closer to 12 inches. It’s important to get the length right to prevent shoulder injuries over time.

Remember to factor in the length of the T-grip. This one measures four inches. Add that to your length above your height and tape the measurement. Place the paddle next to you and reach to the tape while you’re flat-footed to make sure the new paddle length is proportionate to your arm length. Adjust accordingly, retape and mark the correct length with a pen. The tape also keeps the carbon fiber shaft from splitting while it’s being cut.

Cutting to length

Put on your safety goggles and secure the paddle with a vice grip or saw guide for an even cut with a hacksaw. Sand the cut, inside of the shaft and outside of the T-grip to smooth any frays and to prep the surface for a strong bond. Wipe off any dust.

Put on the gloves, apply the adhesive to the T-grip and inside the shaft. Make sure to glue the T-grip to the shaft facing the correct side of the paddle. The fingers should face the angled blade with the logo. Check that it’s on straight and square.

Wipe off any excess epoxy and tape the shaft to the handle. Don’t be surprised if the T-grip keeps popping out. That lets you know you have an airtight fit. Allow the adhesive to dry five minutes (using WEST System G5 Five-Minute Adhesive) or the recommended drying time for the type of epoxy you’re using. Remove the tape carefully. Pull the shrink tubing over the seam and heat it with the gun making sure to rotate the paddle so you shrink the tubing all around the shaft.

Allow your paddle to cure for 24 hours before using it on the water. At that point, you’ll be ready for many enjoyable and injury-free paddling sessions.