Steering paddle griptape?

Any steers want to pass on some ancient lore?

I read in my friend's copy of "The art and skill of steering" that it's recommended to put a bit of rubber grippy strip on a steering paddle where the power face meets the shaft to save the paddle varnish and improve the hold on the boat hull.

Is this a good idea? What sort of materials have you tried and what works?

Submitted by anthill on Thu, 10/14/2004 - 5:40pm



Hey anthill, I always put that grey gummy tape that you can find at ace hardware on the part of my blade that contacts the hull. Usually 3 pieces, one on each edge and one in the center at the top of the blade; just to be sure that it covers all places it could contact. At least thats what I do with a new paddle. As it wears the stuff kind of falls apart and the varnish wears off anyway, so then I don't care as much. It definitely slows the process down though. Best thing to do is refinish it with epoxy and then polyurethane spray.

The tape can help give the blade a better grab on the hull so it doesn't slide out when you poke...but a good steering blade should hold itself to the canoe with out much effort anyway so that's kind of secondary I think. And make sure the tape is not abrasive at all so you don't screw the canoe up.

I bet there's some kind of spray on stuff that could work well too, but I haven't done much experimentation with anything like that. Or I suppose something could be built in like how xylo has tough stuff on the edges.. hrm.. ideas...


#1 Thu, 10/14/2004 - 6:22pm


Keizo is right, a good steering blade should hold itself to the canoe. When you poke your blade, if your technique is right the blade should almost snap itself to the hull. I personally have never found the need for any type of grip tape on my steering blades and that includes surfing a OC-4 at Pops on a big south swell.


#2 Sat, 10/16/2004 - 9:19am


ocean, you're right, you don't need grip tape on paddles.. .guess I used the wrong word, I'm looking to reduce wear on my nice shiny new blade. I've got the stick to the boat technique working for me, it's the scraping the varnish off every year that I'm hoping to slow down. Thanks keizo, I will see if my local hardware shop can help me out...


#3 Sun, 10/17/2004 - 7:39pm


well, I dunno you guys......I must have that rubber gripe on my paddle. Its less strain on my arm when I have to "poke" and it doesn't slide in rough condition. Les puts it on the Makana Alii steering blade and it so easy to steer. I've had it on my blade for over four years now and I can't imagine using a steering blade without it.....


#4 Wed, 10/27/2004 - 7:45am


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