Shortening a fixed length SUP paddle
Earlier this year, I managed to win a Robson fixed length SUP paddle, and finally got around to cutting it to size!
I’m using another fixed length paddle as a guide to start with (an 81inch long Quickblade), and the T piece will be glued in with hot glue as I’ll possibly going to cut it shorter later and use it as a sprint paddle.
So, what do I need to do?
As this is a new paddle, the T piece isn’t fixed into the paddle shaft, but if it was, a few minutes with a hot air gun/hair dryer to heat and soften the glue is needed to remove it.
Anyway, back to the paddle.
We need to measure the paddle length.
Tape the paddle shaft
Cut the paddle shaft
Sand/smooth the cut edges
Glue the T piece.
I’m using an existing paddle as a guide. I’ve put the paddles next to each other and lined up the bottom of the paddles.
I’ve lined up the top of the new T piece with other paddle.
The paddle shaft needs to be cut where the thick part of the T piece finishes
Taping the paddle shaft.
I’m using masking tape to mark the paddleshaft. The tape is applied to the bit of the paddle that we are keeping (so, the long bit, unless you’re really short!). The tape is applied just below where we want to cut. The tape is carefully applied at right angles to the paddleshaft so it goes around the paddle in a straight line, and not a spiral. This is so we get a good mark to cut against.
Cut the paddle shaft.
I’m using a fret saw for the actual cutting. Any reasonably fine bladed saw should do!
Rather than cutting straight through, I start the cut, and then work around the entire outside of the shaft before cutting deep. This is to minimise any potential splintering of the carbon and to hopefully give a neater cut.
Once the outer part of the shaft has been marked, I’ve started cutting through the entire thickness of the carbon (it’s only a few mm thick) whilst rotating the paddle to keep the cut even.
After a while, you’ll get back to where you started cutting , and you’ll have two pieces.
It’s now officially too late to worry about check if it’s the right length!
Sanding the paddleshaft.
Now you’ve got your newly cut paddle, remove the tape to put on earlier, and grab some sand paper.
Make sure you sand the top edge of the shaft (where you just cut) to ensure it’s flat and smooth, as well as inside and outside of the shaft. You don’t need to go mad, just ensure it’s smooth and free from any splinters.
Glue the T Piece
I’m using a hot glue gun initially as I’m very likely to cut this paddle shorter
As most of the force when paddling goes downward through the handle and into the shaft, the glue doesn’t need to be that strong. Having said that, once I’ve cut this to it’s final length, epoxy will be used for a permanent fix.
Before glueing, check the handle fits, and that you know which way round it should go. Some T Pieces have a front and back side, so check, and recheck which way round it goes!
Once the glue gun is up to temperature, it’s time to really go to town with the glue.
The glue doesn’t just fix the handle, it also seals the paddle shaft to stop water entering, so too much is better than too little.
Cover the bottom half of the T Piece with glue, and put it in the paddle shaft. Check it it lined up correctly – it should be parallel to the paddle blade.
Wipe off any excess glue.
If using epoxy, at the point insulation tape around the joint (or heatshrink tubing, put on the shaft first) is a good idea, and storing the paddle upside down overnight will allow the glue to settle where the join is.
And that’s it!
Happy paddling 😀