“With a 100% carbon shaft, contoured palm grip and fiberglass-reinforced proprietary resin blade, the Freedom weighs only 29 oz. so your time on the water will be less fatiguing. Perfect for intermediate paddleboarders, its stiff, durable blade delivers more power with every stroke: no whippy, wimpy blade here.” -Aquabound
Blade Size: 8.5”x17” (100 sq inches)
Shaft Material: Carbon
Blade Material: Fiberglass-reinforced resin
Grip Type: Contoured T-Grip
Paddle Lengths: Adjustable in 70”-80” or 76”-86” lengths. (4 piece also available)
Weight: 29oz (for 70-80” paddle)
MSRP: $139.95 (2pc), $164.94 (4pc)
The Freedom SUP paddle joins the likes of the Stingray/Eagle Ray Hybrid kayak paddles as yet another “best bang for your buck” paddle by Aquabound. Seriously, the quality and features that you get at the $140.00 price-point are mind-blowing! The Freedom paddle features a carbon fiber shaft, abs plastic blades, and a blow-molded, T-grip-style handle which add up to a mere 29oz (a real steal at this price point). The blade sports a dihedral design that makes it super stable (and powerful) in the forward stroke and a great choice for folks interested in paddling at a moderate cadence while touring. This paddle comes in both 2-piece adjustable (70-80” or 76-86”) and 4-piece adjustable for those travel-minded SUPers!
My fellow SUP instructors and I have had the chance to use the Freedom SUP throughout the summer and our experience has been quite positive. It honestly blows away most of the other paddles in this price range in terms of performance! To quote a fellow instructor “the Freedom paddle is a great entry level SUP paddle. It’s light, sturdy, and fits a wide range of people!” My thoughts echo those of my compatriot but thing that I like most about the Freedom is the carbon fiber shaft. It’s stiff enough to efficiently transfer energy through the paddle while feeling light in hand. The blade is equally stable due to its dihedral design and hardly slips at all in the water. One would think that the dihedral design would affect the smoothness of transition strokes but you hardly notice it! Finally, I really appreciate the simplicity of the button-style ferrule system. It locks in tight yet remains easy to adjust. The one thing is that the ferrule whistles in the wind. Any holes that are open below the handle act much like the keys on a flute or clarinet to create music in the wind. Not a huge deal but it can become a tad annoying on a longer trip…
It can be difficult to ascertain the longevity of a paddle without using it for quite some time. Luckily, we have some great data on the Freedom paddle; we liked it so much that we decided to add a dozen of them to our SUP instruction and rental fleet. Take my word for it; the paddles in this fleet take all sorts of abuse. They’re thrown around, used like hockey sticks by kids, smashed on rocks, stepped on, and rarely ever cleaned. The good news is that we only managed to break one blade over the course of the summer (it took an unreasonable pounding)! Yes, they’re roughed up around the edges but the ferrules are still tight and adjustable, the blades are still intact (save the one), and the shafts are as straight as they were when they came out of the box! We obviously don’t condone “paddle abuse” for personal paddles (and we’re lucky that we didn’t kill off a few more). However, if a paddle (or twelve) can survive this sort of constant abuse then one can probably rest assured that it will survive many seasons in the hands of an average paddler.
Overall, I’m a huge fan of the of the Freedom SUP paddle both for the everyday paddler and for outfitters. I’ve found this paddle to be extraordinarily robust, stiff-in-the-shaft, and stable-in-the-blade. It’s really the best “bang-for-your-buck” SUP paddle on the market and it’s clearly far superior to anything else released by the major brands at the $140.00 price point in my humble opinion! Finally, I was stoked to hear that the folks at Aquabound have released a 4-piece version of this paddle and I look forward to purchasing one as a travel companion for next season!
Pros: Great “bang for your buck”, stiff shaft, durable, sturdy ferrule design.
Cons: Adjustable shaft “whistles” in the wind