Summer’s almost here! Okay it’s officially spring, but these days that may be as good as it gets. So it’s time to take stock of what equipment is left after the harsh winter. Personally I snapped my only purchased paddle, flinging me back at a ‘wood and carbon’ one that I made three years ago. And you know what? it was just as good – light, buoyant to push off of, particularly when requiring balance on low volume SUP’s. But I think I can do better!
So here’s a recipe for an all wood paddle using what I’ve learnt from two previous builds. The shaft uses a denser wood, as do the external laminates of the paddle face for strength and resistance to wear. In the comparison image with my wood/carbon paddle you’ll see I’ve put some tape on the old paddle, to better protect the wood and board. Given this paddle is three year’s old – it’s done well, delivering thousands of strokes. And that’s what’s useful about these self-made paddles, you can repair knocks, splits and scratches. I’ve recently re-varnished my old paddle after a particularly punishing day in the surf. Now it’s as good as new.
The latest paddle will have increased rake with the same 23 cm width across the face – a higher gear that sacrifices usefulness over distance, for quick acceleration in waves. I’m going to plane in a dihedral face for more power, to help scoop, grip and thrust. Oo! That’s a first for me, thanks to the boffins of ‘R & D’ at the million pound firms of the North Shore.
Essentially, you will need waterproof glue to clamp sections of wood together for the blade. They need to be deeper at the trailing edge, so you can plane in ‘rake’. That way, for each paddle stroke the blade remains vertical in the water for the longest, possible time. This particular paddle is going to get a light coat of fibreglass, for a thinner blade and to assist with overall lightness.
Once the blank is made (See image) the rest is just planing … and paddling. I’ll post an image of the finished article