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New to Paddling? Protect Your SHOULDERS!

Updated: Aug 4, 2022

I originally wrote this article for the World Paddle Association about Stand Up Paddleboarding. However, I've noticed it applies to a lot of paddle sports. So here is the re-worked, re-release!

When people first get into paddling they often buy an all-around board, kayak, or canoe and adjustable paddle. While this introductory gear is gentle on the wallet, it isn't so gentle on the body.

The aspects of beginner paddling craft that make them excellent for beginners are ironically the traits that make them harder on the muscles and joints. Beginner friendly boats and boards are often: 1) wide for stability, 2) heavy so they are more durable and/or cheaper, and 3) come with heavy, low-cost adjustable paddles for many family members to use.

What you may not consider is the increased drag you get with an all-around boat or board, and the increased torque on the shoulders from wielding a heavier and larger paddle blade. There isn’t anything wrong with these beginner kits with a big, stable all-around boat/board and a beginner paddle (adjustable or not).