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How to Decide if You Need a Carbon Fiber Paddle

January 11, 2022
carbon fiber paddle

Stuck between choosing a carbon fiber paddle and a stock one? We go through the pros and cons to upgrading your paddle and explain if it’s the right thing to do for you!


There are certain questions that get repeated in the paddle boarding industry.

For example: Is a hardboard better or an inflatable board? Do I need to wear a PFD when paddle boarding in the ocean? What kind of leash do I wear, a coil or a straight one?

These questions are repetitive because sometimes they are hard to answer. Especially with a clear yes or no. That’s because in SUP everything is nuanced.

It largely depends on your skills, the type of water you paddle, and how you want to use your board.

We have covered some of the questions in previous articles. If you have any of these questions, feel free to search our Atoll Tales blog page.

But there is one question that comes up often. It is…

carbon fiber paddle

Are carbon fiber paddles worth the extra money?”

Here is the short answer…

Yes. Yes, they are.

If you want to know why that is, we will explain. What follows is a brief overview of the pros and cons of upgrading your paddle to the carbon fiber version.

If you are not familiar with the different types of paddles, please read our previous article “The Best SUP Paddle to Buy“.

Let’s get started.

Our Paddle Upgrade

At Atoll, we offer our customers the best of both worlds. With every purchase, you will receive a standard paddle from Atoll. These are a blend of fiberglass and carbon fiber. They are durable, lightweight and paddle well.

However, when you purchase your Atoll board, you will see an option for a paddle upgrade.

If you click on it, there is an additional charge of $159.99.

This is for our all carbon fiber paddle. Sometimes our potential customers wonder what the difference is.

The main difference? The weight.

It weight just 24 ounces. That’s ridiculously light. And a great starting point for our “pros” section…


  • The lightest paddle on the market
  • Fun to use
  • The only one you will ever need to buy

Carbon fiber paddles are the ultimate when it comes to SUP because they are made from the most durable and lightweight material available. Because of this improved construction, a carbon fiber paddle is really the only one you’ll ever need to buy.

Carbon fiber paddles usually come in adjustable and fixed models. The fixed models are a few ounces lighter, as they do not come with the 2-piece or extra adjustable knob. But the difference is negligible.

We only recommend a fixed shaft if you are a SUP surfer or racer. Or if you are the only person who will be using it. It is, after all, adjusted specifically for your height!

For travel, a 2 or 3 piece paddle is the best choice as it can be easily stored with your board.

However, the biggest benefit to upgrading your paddle is the fatigue factor. If you have a lesser quality paddle, you will have to move more weight.

At first glance, this may not seem like a big deal. But if you are paddling all day or covering long distances, you’ll experience pain in your shoulders and a greater sense of fatigue.

With a carbon fiber paddle, you can spend more time on the water without feeling fatigue thanks to the lighter weight. This is especially good for touring or long distances.

If you are using a standard aluminum adjustable paddle (we don’t sell these, our standard paddle is a mix of fiberglass and carbon fiber), that weighs around 2.75 pounds, your arms are going to feel it. And quick.

With a carbon fiber paddle, it’s a more enjoyable experience for you or your friends. And that’s what SUP is all about…

Having as much fun as possible on the water.


  • Can be expensive

Think of it this way: You can buy a cheaper aluminum paddle (not the one we sell, but it’s the cheapest option on the market, about $45) that will get you from point A to point B. It’s not the best paddle, but it works. It’s very heavy in comparison at about 2.75 pounds. And they often break after a season or two and need to be replaced.

Not good.

You have to ask yourself, why pay twice for a cheap paddle when you can upgrade once and keep it for the life of the board? Plus you’ll never have to replace it for a better option because it’s top-of-the-line. There is no going upwards from our fully carbon fiber blade!

We do not blame you if a cheaper option is all you can afford right now, but you should be aware of the consequences of your choice.

Consider this a friendly warning!

And a reminder to at least consider the paddle upgrade as it may be the best option for you over the longterm.


We hope this has clarified for you what our paddle upgrade entails. With a simple click of the mouse, you get a full carbon fiber paddle that weighs only 24 ounces. A paddle that will keep you smiling for hours on the water. Still have questions or comments? Contact us! Email HERE with your question and we will get back to you as soon as possible. And remember to adventure on!

2 Responses

  1. While out on the water my carbon fiber paddle snapped in two. I had to prone paddle back to the beach. Want to avoid this from happening again. how often do you recommend replacing the carbon fiber paddle?

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