Friday, September 28, 2007
Applying the C4 Paddle Grip
I found out that I could buy a rubberized paddle grip from Evan's most excellent SUP website. I ordered the grip from the C4 website after working with Kellie at C4 who helped me cut shipping costs in half. (Mahalo Kellie!) The grip arrived via USPS a couple days later.
Both Evan and the C4 website provided good info on the grip and how to install it. C4's website has a very good video of Todd installing and talking his way through the application. I watched Todd's video a couple times just to make sure I had it down. I didn't want to screw up the install which would be easy to do with something sticky like the adhesive on the back of the grip. Everything went smooth which is a testament to the instructions not the installer (yours truly).
RECOMMENDATION: I have one important thing to recommend re location of the grip on your paddle. Prior to installing the grip I made sure that it would be located in the right place on the paddle shaft by measuring five or six times while I was out in the water paddling. I measured by counting the black horizontal pattern lines in the fiberglass cloth that are on the shaft from handle to blade. I found that my hand placement is almost always (90% of the time) approximately 40 lines down from the paddle handle on the shaft. When measured with a tape measure this is 22 inches.
On the video I understood Todd to say that the top of the grip should be placed about 24 inches from the handle. I think that is a good "rule of thumb" and a general statement which doesn't necessarily take into account the individual paddler.
I wanted to make sure that the grip would be located so that I would always have a good amount of grip above and below my hand when placed on the paddle grip. This would take into account the 10% of the time my hand wasn't at 22 inches from the handle. I ended up installing the grip 18 1/2 inches from the paddle handle. The adhesive paddle grip itself is 12 inches long, so my grip covers from 18 1/2 to 30 1/2 inches of paddle shaft. This is just right for my hand grip which again, is at about 22 inches 90% of the time.
Finally, Todd's instructions for cutting and finishing the grip are spot on. I paid special attention to the cut as I wanted the cut end to overlap like a bevel cut over the bitter end of my starting point. Following Todd's instructions will make this happen. In order to ensure that the grip would go on evenly I marked the grip with a light pencil mark at each end uniformly above the C4 logos, and also marked the paddle shaft with a light "dot" of "Wite Out" correction fluid so I would have mutual landmarks to line up. The Wite Out is easily scraped off with the edge of your fingernail.
I finished the rough edge overlap by sanding lightly with 60 grit sandpaper as per Todd's instructions. It's important that the seam lay down tight to the paddle shaft so it won't catch an edge in the future and begin to peel back or delaminate. I installed the grip yesterday and SUPed this morning. The placement is perfect and the grip is fantastic.
The difference between having and not having the grip is substantial. No more slippery paddle shaft; instant orientation to hand placement on the shaft; a comfortable sure feel to the paddle shaft and a nice bright yellow color which will be easier to spot when I lose my paddle one day (I hope that never happens though!).