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 supsurfmag.com 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!