Cutting your Stand Up Paddle to the right size
Legend of Australian SUP, DavidJohn wrote this fine article on resizing your new paddle to right length:
For those who have never done a carbon fiber SUP paddle circumcision it can be a scary thing..and painful if you get it wrong..
When I cut my new Kialoa paddle last week I took some pictures that might help those who might be a bit worried about taking a saw to their $500 carbon paddle.
Paddles come at a maximum length for those tall bean poles like me..and anyone any shorter will need to cut it to suit themselves..This is important.
I think the best rule of thumb is to flip the paddle upside down..rest the handle on the ground..and where the paddle blade starts to spread from the paddle shaft it should be about eye level..this seems to work much better than the old 6-8" above head hight..or stretch you arm up so the handle is when you arm is slightly bent...btw..Mine are about 12' above my height..I'm about 6'4" tall.
If you're into big chunky boards and mostly flat water you need it longer..and if your are into waves on a sinky board you need it shorter..It's best to be a bit on the long side if anything because you can just paddle deeper..that's better than having to bend over to fully dip the paddle.
Here's a pic taken from the Starboard site...and a pic of me and how mine ended up..Sorry about the stunned mullet look.. ..I took two pics and the other was a real shocker and couldn't hit the delete button quick enough..
Once you work out where to cut the paddle shaft I use a hack saw..and also use a saw guide to make sure the cut is at 90 deg..It's no biggie if it's not perfect.
There's no going back now..
All paddles are slightly different with the shaft and style of T grip..The Kialoa has a small foam plug in the T grip..This has to be removed.
I then get a small screwdriver and poke some holes in the foam core of the T grip to let the glue run in the holes to help prevent the chance of it twisting on the shaft.
I use 5 minute Araldite...The good thing about the 5 minute Araldite instead of the full strength Araldite is that it can be un-glued after.
The next thing is to tip the paddle upside down and make sure there's nothing inside to rattle about..and then push that small foam plug into the end of the shaft.
I then run glue into the end to make sure that little sucker seals properly and stops any water getting into the paddle shaft.
I then run glue into the T grip and let it flow into the holes in the foam that I made.
The next step is very important..and you need to act fast..Sometimes they lie about it being 5 minutes..I've seen 5 minute glues go off in less than 1 minute..
Also note that most T grips are not symetrical..Most are shaped to go one way and the more curved side fits into your palm..and the straighter side goes against your fingers..You need to double check this and maybe mark it with some tape so you don't have to worry about which way it goes when you push it one with the glue in it.
Push the T grip on and quickly make sure it's straight..I first lay it down on a flat surface..You can see that what you thought was straight is nowhere near straight.
I don't stop at that..What if the ground is not straight.. ..I rest it on something horizontal and double check by lifting it up and down to check that it's straight.
Once the glue has set..I then like to run a bead of glue around the join..See paddle left without..and paddle right with..It's no big deal to not do this.
I have paddled with a paddle less than an hour after doing this but it's best to leave it over night before using it.
Cutting a paddle and gluing a T grip is no big deal for most people..But for those who are not sure I hope these pics help.
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