The paddle you choose should be light enough to use all day but strong enough to handle most paddling conditions. The material used to make the paddle will have alot to do with how the paddle feels in your hands and how it performs on the water. Generally, carbon fiber is the most lightweight and strongest material available. A carbon paddle is easier to manipulate and won't tire your muscles as readily as other paddles. Not surprisingly, carbon paddles tend to be more expensive than other paddles. You will need to decide if weight and responsiveness is worth the extra cost. Wood paddles are simply beautiful to look at and have that authentic feel and only comes with wood. Many wood paddles will have a wood grip and blade, but a carbon shaft for added strength and lightweight flexibility. To avoid damage, wood blades will often have a fiberglass or plastic protective edge. Fiberglass is a popular material choice as it tends to occupy the space between value and performance. Fiberglass paddles are stiff and responsive, though will be heavier than their carbon cousins. Plastic paddles are on the low end of the price scale due to their weight. But plastic paddles can be a good option for first-time SUP paddlers or anyone looking for an economical way to get out on the water.