The BIC SUP Original AP is a very solid and sturdy entry level, two piece paddle with an aluminum shaft and a long, thin polycarbonate blade. A 15" section of the shaft is wrapped in foam which makes for a nice soft padded handle. It's a fairly budget friendly paddle with a 16" length range and is the heaviest paddle that we tested. The Bullet Proof Surf Alloy is in the same price range as the AP, is 6 oz lighter, and has a 19" length range.
BIC SUP Original AP Review
Cons: Heavy, adjustment pin can scrape along aluminum shaft before finding adjustment hole
Manufacturer: SUP paddle
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Original AP is a blue anodized colored paddle with an aluminum shaft that is wrapped partially in foam. The foam piece makes it easy to see if dropped into the water and it also improves its buoyancy. The foam piece could also be nice to have if you are a beginner and tend to fall off of your board a lot and run the risk of your paddle hitting you. If you paddle a lot on your knees, the foam padding will make for a nice cushion for choking up on.
Ease of Adjustment
The Original AP recieved a low score in this metric because its adjustment pins are hard to snap into place. It has a clip clamp along the shaft that pushes out and releases a stainless steel pin; when the pin is released, it enables the paddle handle piece of the shaft to go up and down. Along the handle piece of the shaft there are adjustment holes with marked length measurements in inches. So if you know your desired shaft length is 74", then you just snap the pin in at that measured hole. The AP received a higher score because of the marked holes; they do make adjusting it to your desired length easy.
The part of the adjustment system that we didn't care much for was that you can't exactly see where the pin is going. Unlike the adjustment of the Bullet Proof Surf Alloy that enables you to see where the adjustment pin is going (because the clip clamp tips outward so you can see inside there), the AP's clamp stays firmly in place which causes the user to have to guess and hope that the pin and the hole are aligned and will snap back together perfectly. Of course, this doesn't always happen and sometimes you have to "feel around" with the adjustment pin for the hole. This can cause excessive scratching to the anodized finish on the aluminum shaft and eventually this could cause the adjustment markings to disappear.
The AP recieved a high score in compatibility because it adjusts to the smallest length range tested. We did test the kids version of this paddle. It measures 59" - 75" and is rated for a paddler 4' - 5'5" in height. We realize that this gives it an edge in this metric but we decided to leave it in the review because our main tester is 5'4" tall and also because its length range is 59.5" - 75.5", which not far from the average of the length range of all the other products tested.
TwinPin - push pin collar clamp non-mechanical adjustment system made of sturdy polycarbonate and stainless steel. It's easy to pull the plastic adjustment clamp out for readjusting and once adjusted, the pin snaps back into place securely. We do wish that we could see where the pin was going, but it's not too much of a bother. Check out the locking mechanism of the Bullet Proof Surf Alloy which was just a bit easier to use but doesn't have measurement markings.
The Original AP has a long, thin and narrow dihedral shaped blade that moves the water well. This paddle is not blade heavy, it is shaft heavy because of the foam grip. The foam grip is very difficult, if not impossible to move. Scooting it up and down on the shaft is not an option, which is disappointing, because when extended the foam almost ends up too low for your paddling hand to reach it. Keep in mind that our 5'4" tester is on the tall end of the adjustment scale for this paddle, so a shorter paddler would have a better chance of gripping the foam piece.
The grip on this paddle has a rubberized material on it that makes it more grippy and nice to hold on to. The handle is a bit small for larger paddlers, but the perfect size for smaller persons.
The AP is the heaviest product that we tested. It weighs 2 lbs 7 oz. The weight of this paddle makes for a smaller cadence, especially when out for a longer paddling tour.
This is an all-around, entry level paddle good for both flat water and surfing. When making your purchasing decisions, keep in mind that this product is very heavy. If you're looking for something in the same price range that's not quite as heavy, check out the Bullet Proof Surf Alloy - it is a little bit lighter and has four more inches of length range.
The AP has a 16" length range which makes it a great option for families or those who know persons of many heights will be using this paddle.
For $90, you get a lot with this product. It has a wide range of adjustability, a very large foam grip, and snazzy blue anodized aluminum shaft. The polycarbonate blade is sturdy and durable and won't easily scratch, get nicked or crack. The Original AP comes with a one year warranty.
Please keep in mind when reading this review that we have tested the kids version (59" - 75") of this paddle. It is rated for 4' - 5'5" height. Our main tester is 5'4" tall, so her recommended paddle length is 74". A shorter person would get more use out of the fancy foam grip; the paddle adjusted to a smaller length would make the foam more within your hands reach.
Original AP stands for aluminum blade and polycarbonate blade.An interesting note to end on is that the BIC SUP company was founded in 1979 by Baron Bich from the BIC pen family fame.
— Chris McNamara and Valentine Cullen