I love stats. I love looking at them, analysing them and creating them. I love it even more when somebody takes my stats and expands upon them. And that’s exactly what Quickblade did when they posted an analysis of the SUP Racer World Rankings on their blog, highlighting the paddle brand of choice for the top athletes in the sport.
It’s no secret that Quickblade has one of the most impressive lineups of athletes on its team: Travis Grant, Candice Appleby, Dave Kalama, Casper Steinfath, Shakira Westdorp, Jamie Mitchell and Kelly Margetts, just to name a few, all use Jim Terrell’s famous designs religiously. And it’s well known that many of the other top guys, such as Kai, Connor and Zane, occasionally use QB paddles on the side despite being sponsored by other brands (something I’ve written about in the past).
But while it doesn’t come as a surprise to see that Quickblade is the most popular paddle of choice for the top athletes, even I was surprised at just how dominant they are among the elite crowd.
Chris Aguilar, Quickblade’s resident media guy, posted some interesting numbers on the QB blog under the title of “Yes, The Top Racers Use Our Paddles” the other day. It’s kind of a ‘Battle of the Brands: Paddle Edition,’ and it’s great to see more people practicing data journalism in this sport.
I’ll let you read the original post and go through the numbers, but the most striking stat was how 60% of the top 10 guys in the world are all using Quickblade as either their primary or secondary paddle. Just goes to show that few people in this sport know how to create and innovate like QB’s legendary Mad Scientist, Jimmy Terrell.
(Edit: I just ran the numbers and I think it’s actually 70% of the top guys — QB are selling themselves short)
It’s also interesting to see how the women are “more loyal” to their brands than the men. Some of the top guys regularly switch up blades depending on the race, however it seems the top women always use their primary paddle no matter what. And while Quickblade is clearly the top paddle brand for the pros, other brands to feature prominently include Werner and Starboard.
Quickblade find themselves in a similar position to that of SIC a couple of years ago, when almost all of the top athletes in the big Hawaiian races (eg. Molokai) were using their unlimited boards, regardless of which team the athlete was from (though that’s starting to change as more brands, such as NSP, focus on creating winning unlimited designs).
However the paddle market is even more competitive than the world of unlimiteds, with many of the top board brands pouring big dollars into their paddle R&D, which makes QB’s position in the sport (they’re basically a mom & pop operation) all the more impressive.
Anyway go read the full post on Quickblade’s blog for all the stats.