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Photo of Switchblade SUP, kayak, and canoe paddle.

Switchblade SUP, Kayak, Canoe Paddle in One

The outdoor industry comes up with a lot of gear “innovations” that, in my opinion, are not all that innovative. Switchblade Paddles is an example of a new piece of gear that solves problems, makes paddling more fun and easy, and can save you money. The four-piece paddles come in three models (entry level to high-end carbon fiber) that you can easily convert for stand up paddleboarding, kayaking, and canoeing. The adjustable shaft also makes it easy for people of different heights and sizes to use the same paddle. That’s the money-saving part. And here is where these innovative paddles help solve a real problem—paddleboarding when the wind kicks up. Last fall while paddling some challenging swell along a stretch of somewhat protected Costa Rican coastline, the wind did just that and the Pacific Ocean responded with big, choppy waves that threatened to knock me off my board. I dropped to my knees and resorted to awkwardly using the SUP paddle provided with my rental board as a make-shift canoe paddle. Had I brought my Switchblade paddle, which breaks down small enough to travel with, I could have quickly converted it into a kayak paddle, a much more powerful option than trying to canoe paddle a large board against wind, ocean current and waves. Windy conditions pop up all the time on Inland Northwest lakes too and can turn a fun SUP outing into a sketchy, uncomfortable ordeal with a standard SUP paddle. With a Switchblade paddle, it means it’s time to sit or kneel on your board, take a few seconds to switch to kayak paddle mode, and “kayak” on your SUP for a bit. Paddles range from $174.99-$324.99. Switchbladepaddles.com. //

About Derrick Knowles

Derrick is the editor and co-publisher of Out There Monthly. He has spent more than 30 years exploring the Inland Northwest’s trails, mountains, lakes and rivers.