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G. Niblock on the L41 TipSUP Noserider. Photo: J. Chandler

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Clear Plastic Paddle Edging





I installed the edging day before yesterday and paddled with it yesterday, just in time for the new swell. I surfed hard for over two hours and put it to the test. I could notice no degradation in performance, i.e. it seems to me that my paddling wasn't slowed down and that I caught as many waves with it as I would have without it. I didn't leave any black marks from the paddle on my rails and that can't help but be good for the paddle edges too.

The edging was easy to install. I placed a small dot of super glue at each bitter end and in several evenly spaced spots along the edging. So far no delams or separation of edging from paddle blade. I bought the edging from the Infinity shop in Dana Point and they mailed it to me right away. Call to buy as it is not sold on the website. (949-661-6699) Three feet will do the trick but I bought four just in case...$1.50/foot. It came in one continuous piece.

In thinking about it and by judging how sore my forearms and hands are today I've reached the following conclusions: 1) it takes more work (more muscle energy) to get the same output from the paddle 2) paddle efficiency has to be negatively effected and 3) the edging does protect the rails and edges of the paddle.

The paddle blade is designed to be foiled and to work as designed. If the designer was worried about beginner paddlers he would have designed edging into the blade. But the blade is designed for a competent paddler to enjoy maximum output from the design. Whether or not the paddler is capable of achieving that is up to the paddler. Edging interrupts the hydrodynamic design of the paddle blade and causes at the very least more drag or resistance as the paddle is pulled through the water. The water does not flow off the blade as designed. Therefore it takes more energy to move the paddle through the water and my engine (arms and hands) had to work harder. But with the edging I can probably extend the life of the paddle and certainly reduce the number of dings, chips, deck pad lacerations, etc. that I create when I cannot efficiently control the paddle or when accidents happen.

So life is full of trade-offs. I'll keep the edging on until I think I'm a better paddler or maybe not. Who know what the future will bring?

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