Monday, April 7, 2008

The Old Mastic Trick: Just in Case You Don't Know

Yeah, yeah I know... it screws up your release. Whatever. Here at the paddlesurf command post we have different priorities. I use the stuff because:

a. I'm not a paddle stroke perfectionist. I don't do long runs- I'm surf-centric.

b. The paddling that I do is to catch waves, so it's usually just a couple of quick strokes to get in and going and in the churning, aerated water I'm paddling through- a little lip on the blade's not a big deal and finally,

c. the edge on some paddles is sharp- I'm worried for me and I've seen some pretty substantial rail gashes on guys who don't wrap the edge.

So if it's screwing up my release, so be it- besides once you see how mangled the rest of my stroke is you'll understand it doesn't really matter.

So, in case you haven't seen it (I think the guys at wrote about this awhile ago), here's how to wrap your paddle with electrician's mastic:

Top Photo: Get the right stuff. I buy mine at Home Depot. Look for it in the electrical department. It's not electrical tape, this stuff is thick, stretches and stays on in water.

Middle: Cut it about six inches short of what you actually need. You will be stretching it around the edge of the paddle so you'll make up those lost inches when you pull the mastic around the blade. You'll want to either clamp the shaft into a vise or get somebody to hold it steady for you while you wrap the blade.

Last: What you end up with is a nice, clean looking, rubbery edge on the blade. I do this to protect the board more than the paddle. In fact, some blades come with built in blade protection. For example these QuickBlade Laird Hamilton paddles feature an integrated ABS plastic edge. The ABS is tough enough to protect the blade but it is rather sharp and it can ding up a board pretty badly if you're a paddle hack; like me.

Check Back: I'm working on a video of the whole paddle prep process!


Unknown said...

I use the car door edge protector.
you can find that at any pepboys auto shop for $5 a piece (one paddle).

I started using that after 2 major dings in the rails on the back of the board.

John Ashley said...

Hey Olivier-

You know Tex was telling me about the damage done to his board after hooking the rail with his blade. Bad ding.

I heard that stuff works good- and it goes on really clean too. Thanks for the tip- surf this weekend maybe?

See you in the water!

Steve said...

I may be a moron. I've gone to Home Depot twice and been unable to figure out what product you are using. Is it sticky or just insulated? Any chance of posting a photo and confirming that you got it at Home Depot? Thanks, Joel

John Ashley said...

Hey Joel-

Nope you're not a moron- some HDs don't carry the stuff. I just bought a roll today (8.95, it ain't cheap).

The stuff is made by the Plymouth Company- comes in a blue and white box and is called rubber mastic tape.

It's super sticky comes with a white paper backing and stays on it water. As a matter of fact, I just peeled off an old layer to replace with a new one and it was really difficult to get the old stuff off.

I'll see if I can find another photo to post.

Hey, you're not from Santa Barbara are you? Did you go to the Cate school?

Good Luck!

John Ashley

John Ashley said...

Hey there's a big photo of the stuff in this post- that's the stuff go find it!

Anonymous said...

John, I found the stuff at Joel's local HD but have another question: You show epoxy glue in your photo but don't mention it. Did you expoxy the mastic on? I'm guessing yes since when I tried to stick it on just using the tape adhesive it falls right off.

Thanks for any guidance.

John Ashley said...

Hey AR-

Are you using the correct stuff- it comes in the blue and white box and it's called "electrician's mastic"?

If so then the stuff sticks like crazy!

The epoxy in the photo was for gluing on the handle of the paddle once I'd cut it down.

You definitely don't need to use epoxy to affix the electrician's mastic!

Good luck.