Paddling the beast – Ainsworth carbon/glass paddle review


Paddles are an important part of your quiver and feel is everything. Subtle nuances with design and tweaks across brands can make searching out your perfect stick a bit of a headache. And yet, with a bit of research, it’s possible to discover your perfect paddling partner.

The Ainsworth carbon shaft/glass blade paddle comes from their performance range and it’s a bit of a beast! The company’s pedigree stretches back 35 years and they certainly know a thing or two about paddle shapes.

Taking inspiration from high performance kayaking, the Ainsworth stick features a stiff blade with spine running along the scoop for improved hydrodynamics and efficiency. The carbon shaft is extremely stiff and during strokes barely flexes. Directly transferring power into the Ainsworth is a highly efficient process – as soon as you hit the water you’ll be gunning along at a fair old pace.

The Ainsworth really takes no prisoners and doesn’t forgive less than perfect technique. SUPers not used to turbo powered machines like this should take it easy at first, gauging how to get the most from this stick. Covering distance is no issue and acceleration is very impressive. From catch to recovery you’ll be constantly driving forwards – distance, endurance and racing is where its pedigree lies.

This isn’t to say you can’t use the Ainsworth in the surf. In fact, the propulsion boost you get allows for late take offs and an increased speed through flat sections.

The design of the blade is very kayak like and as such has quite full shoulders. This does mean the Ainsworth doesn’t fit as snugly against the rail as perhaps some prefer. Rail to rail changes also felt a little cumbersome compared to other more dedicated surf blades, although this is something you get used to the more time you spend in waves.

For paddlers who love power, efficiency, pure paddling performance and a stiff shaft the Ainsworth glass/carbon SUP paddle fits the bill perfectly.


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