Fiber Paddles – What’s the Difference between Carbon Fiber Paddles and Fiberglass Paddles?

Second only to choosing your stand up paddle surfing board is choosing the SUP paddle that will be your companion through the thick and the thin of this high-octane sport. For the SUP surfing amateur, money may definitely be a primary consideration. Even when the wallet is shallow, however, it’s important to have a quality paddle to accompany you in your fiber paddles adventures or you may get into some pretty deep water, metaphorically speaking. Quality paddle board paddles are an essential part of the sport of paddleboard surfing, without which the SUP surfing amateur may find himself up a creek, so to speak.

Two of the most popular paddles for sale in today’s SUP world of commerce are fiberglass paddles and carbon fiber paddles. Although their names may look deceptively similar, there is a world of difference separating these two types of paddle board paddles. Here are a few comparisons between fiberglass paddles and carbon fiber paddles.

Both of these paddles are constructed from man-made materials. Both are reinforced with fiber and have much more flexible properties than paddles made from natural materials, which are rarely used in this sport. Both fiberglass paddles and carbon fiber paddles are made from layers of fiber woven in very specific directions in order to afford the maximum amount of flexibility and strength.

Because the materials that these paddles are made from are completely synthetic from the ground up, the manufacturers have a great degree of control over the fabrication of the paddles, their design, and the way they are layered. Both carbon fiber and fiberglass paddles have the ability to be stiffer, stronger, lighter, and more flexible than paddles made from other materials.

Still, even the great amount of similarities between these two can be deceptive. When it comes down to it, these paddles are more different than night and day, and in the battle for supremacy between the two, there is a clear winner.

According to the majority of paddle reviews, fiberglass paddles are the cheaper of the two. Because fiberglass is heavier than carbon fiber, the fiberglass paddle is also the heavier of the two. The properties of fiberglass and the amount of reinforcement it requires can often cause fiberglass paddles to be about a third heavier than carbon fiber paddles. If this doesn’t seem like much to you, wait till you’ve tried it out on the water.

This extra weight means that you will get tired about a third faster than when using the more expensive but much lighter carbon fiber paddle. For this reason, the majority of racing paddles are carbon fiber paddles. The heavier fiberglass paddle is less maneuverable than the lightweight carbon fiber paddle, and this can make all the difference in the world for the amateur learning an unfamiliar sport in unfamiliar territory.

If you decide to buy a fiberglass paddle, you may find yourself trading it in for a slightly more expensive carbon fiber paddle after a short time of struggling with its inefficiency out amongst the waves. Why not do it right the first time and go for a carbon fiber model right off the bat?

Chris Gutzeit is the co-founder of Carbonerro Inc., a Stand up paddle surfing company offering a range paddles for sale for the SUP surfing enthusiast. If you found this article about SUP paddle surfing helpful you might like to visit where you’ll find more great information about SUP paddling.