Save your rails on your stand up paddle surfboard with video

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When I first started stand up paddle surfing I would hit the rails of the stand up board A LOT. I still hit it and have even taken chunks out of the rails. The carbon fiber stand up paddles are strong and easily dent and ding the epoxy boards. My friend’s board looks like a shark ate the rail. It is wasted almost the entire length of the rail. I gotta get a picture to post but I don’t think he’ll like that.

The first solution was to tape up the edge of the stand up paddle with electric tape. That works reasonably well but a hard hit and the gel coat comes off the rail. Then I tried ‘rim rubber’ which is made for kayak paddles. It looks like door jam material and you use Aqua Seal glue to make it stick. It looks and works great on kayak paddles because they are relatively flat on the blade. The stuff costs something like $30 and there’s a problem when doing stand up paddles. The stand up paddles don’t have the sharp flat blade a kayak paddle has. The stand up paddle blade is beveled which means the rim rubber won’t let the glue set because it’s slipping off. Go Bananas Kayaks tried putting tape on the rim rubber to hold it in place while the glue set but it leaked out the edges and basically looked like crap. I put 2″ wide electric tape on it to hide the ugliness. I could have pulled it off but it took so much effort to get on I just left it.

THEN I FOUND THE SOLUTION: I found it at www.infinitysurf.com. They have this rubber molding that goes around the paddle blade and has a strip of glue in it already. There is no mess and it sticks immediately. The best thing is it only costs $1.50 per foot and you need about 3 feet for a stand up paddle. I’ve been using it for the past month and it works awesome. I can feel myself still hitting my rails on the board with the paddle but there’s not even a mark anymore. What if it starts falling off? Who cares because it was less than $10 w/ shipping. I’ll just put more on. I’ll post some pictures so you can see what I’m talking about and why I’m so excited.

Here’s the video (click the thumbnail to view):

Save your rails on your stand up paddle surfboard

This is what the rim guard for the stand up paddle blade looks like:

stand up paddle rim guard edge protection stand up paddle rim guard edge protection

Here are some pictures of the rim guard on my C4 paddle:

stand up paddle rim guard edge protection stand up paddle rim guard edge protection stand up paddle rim guard edge protection stand up paddle rim guard edge protection

Here’s the blade of my paddle with yellow electric tape over the rim guard:

stand up paddle rim guard edge protection stand up paddle rim guard edge protection

Infinity Surf suggested that I put a little super glue on the ends of both sides of the rim guard so It will stay on. I chose to use electric tape instead so in case I want to pull it off and change it, I won’t have a part super stuck.

stand up paddle rim guard edge protection

On a side note, if you’re wondering how the close up macro shot on this is so clear it’s because the Sony DSC-T30 camera has a cool “magnifying glass” feature that takes unreal macro pictures. I also made a short video so you can see what the stand up paddle edge protection looks like.

icon for podpress  Save your rails on your stand up paddle surfboard [1:54m]: Download
icon for podpress  Save your rails on your stand up paddle surfboard [1:54m]: Download

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26 Responses to “Save your rails on your stand up paddle surfboard with video”


  1. Andrew Fatal 1Andrew Fatal

    The Surftech Epoxy Laird Hamilton SUP boards’ rails never look like a ’shark ate the rail’ after months and months of use.
    They are extremely durable unlike those other ‘epoxy’ SUP boards.
    Check ‘em out.
    I’ve been so stoked on mine ever since I got it about 6 months ago.

  2. Evan Leong 2evan

    I have a Surftech Laird also and it’s been really durable. I let new people ride it with no problem.

  3. DW 3DW

    The easy solution is to use door edge guard from an auto parts store. It even comes with self stick adhesive built into the gap. I have a nice rubbery door edge guard on mine. It cost $2.86 at Advance Auto Parts.

    Easier than all the options list above. I should take a photo and post it.

  4. Evan Leong 4evan

    I think that’s what this edge stuff is…door molding.

  5. STEVE BOEHNE 5STEVE BOEHNE

    THE PROBLEM WITH THE PACKAGED DOOR EDGE STUFF IS THAT THE PIECES ARE TOO SHORT. THEY WILL ONLY COVER ABOUT 2/3 OF THE BLADE.

  6. srfnff 6srfnff

    Hey Evan,

    After watching your video re the C4 paddle grip I ordered one. I finished the installation yesterday and used it this morning. I love it. I have a short story on my blog which might be interesting to someone who is thinking about buying the C4 grip and installing it. Hope it’s OK if I leave this link. Thanks for your video without it I probably wouldn’t have one on my paddle. I also ordered some clear plastic paddle edging from Infinity. I was thinking that I might apply some of the scrap from the paddle grip at the bottom of the paddle shaft where it meets the blade. I have a tendency to smack my rails with the paddle shaft right about there.
    http://srfnff.blogspot.com/2007/09/applying-c4-paddle-grip.html

  7. Evan Leong 7evan

    Srfnff – Great post on your site. I would have posted a comment but don’t have a blogger account so I’ll answer here. Before I put on the grip I had a piece of yellow 1″ electric tape on my paddle to give me a gauge of where my bottom hand is and should be. I could feel it and then know if I was high or low on the paddle. I added it there when I first started because I used to peel off a piece and put it on my board to mark where my feet should be since I had no idea where the sweet spot for standing was. I used that tape later as a marker for where to put the grip.

    I made a few mistakes when installing mine. Not sure if it’s ADD or what because I watched the C4 install video a few times. I lined up the C4 logo on the front of the paddle shaft but should have cut one side down a bit first because I just wrapped one side until it was completely stuck only to realize it was a little long and now my seam was on the side of the shaft and not on the bottom. Then I did a somewhat butcher job of cutting the other side but it doesn’t bother my hand when paddling so I guess it’s ok.

    Your post on your site is very detailed and informative. If you want, feel free to post it here too.

  8. Evan Leong 8evan

    Steve – Cool to see you on our site. Let us know what you have coming out that’s new. For those who don’t know Steve, he’s a legendary tandem surfer and the owner of Infinity Surf http://www.infinitysurf.com.

  9. harris 9harris

    Evan last time I saw you on the water I remember a short discussion about added weight. Seems insignificant but we’re talking about a paddle that weighs ounces and the weight is added at the worst possible place due to lever arm. My thoughts were to reduce the added weight by only using the molding in the impact zones on the side of the paddle and skip the bottom section I would think you could reduce added weight by 25%-40%.

    On the grip, I’ve picked up a 29 cent piece of craft foam from walmart, trimmed it to proper size and used contact cement to adhere it to my paddle. I actually got this idea from the c4waterman site a few months back.

  10. Carnet Williams 10carnetw

    Harris,

    I would agree with you. I have electrical tape on my paddle and I do bang my board here and there, but not as much these days. Weight is really important to me on the paddle as I had issues with my rotator cuff lately and well, I am weak. I also had picked up the craft foam and used contact cement to add padding to the shaft. Worked like a charm. Just keep the seam on the backside of the shaft.

    The trick I found is to put the contact cement on the piece of foam, wrap it around the shaft and then use a sharp x-acto knife to trim at the seam. That way you get it really clean.

  11. Evan Leong 11evan

    I don’t know if I’m just not that sensitive but I can’t feel any real difference in weight. Maybe if I did a side by side comparison it would be noticeable but I can’t tell currently. Maybe the better paddlers can tell right off the bat. Todd Bradley mentioned he didn’t like anything on the blade because he notices it immediately.

    For sure I’m going to leave it on my second paddle. That’s the one that I let others use. It gives me much better piece of mind that they won’t hack up my rail and they don’t have any clue on the difference of not having the guard there.

    I just got the C4 grip because it was convenient to get from C4. I’ve seen others use different methods and materials but I didn’t want to have to think about it too much. On Pono Bill’s site a guy even put a yoga mat as a deck pad to save money.

  12. Evan Leong 12evan

    Someone said there was a stand up paddle surf contest at Ala Moana Bowls on October 12. Anyone know anything about that? We should all enter. I’m willing to embarrass myself again.

  13. PonoBill 13PonoBill

    These pictures are killing me! I’m here in Portland working on my wrecked race car in 55 degree, rainy weather, dreaming about waves and paddling. I’ve got a surf jones so bad I might go to the Oregon coast next week and do some SUP. Of course I’ve gotten so fat this last four months away from Maui that I’ll probably need a 12 footer.

    Ah well, back on the Island in January.

  14. Evan Leong 14evan

    Pono Bill – Come over to Oahu and let’s go stand up paddling!

  15. DW 15DW

    I tested my paddle with and without the edging. It feels 100% better without it. Next I tested it with the edging only running down the sides, none on the bottom. That felt better.

    Right now I’m using full edging on the whole paddle. Soon I’ll remove it from the bottom edge. I’ll probably never go without it completely due to how bad some boards I’ve seen were damaged by riders not using it.

    To install grip on a paddle shaft, use windsurf boom instructions. You should be able to Google that topic. Your grip with look perfect and the seam will disappear. I’ll try to decribe the technique for you. Bevel cut one edge of the foam and 45 degrees. Then when the foam wraps around the shaft and overlaps the beveled edge, you have something nice to blend the seam. You trim the overlap away, then sand the seam with sandpaper. It is very easy to do a nice job installing this stuff. My problem with it was the increased grip size. What we need is super thin grip like the kitesurfing bars use. About 0.5mm thick. Then people will like it more. C4 are you listening?

  16. Evan Leong 16evan

    I gotta try a side by side comparison also. I just don’t want to keep putting it on and off. My second paddle will definitely continue to have it all the way on because new people can’t tell the difference and I want to protect my rails from them.

  17. srfnff 17srfnff

    Thanks Evan. I think I’ll just leave the link rather than put the whole thing here which would be kind of bulky.

    On another note I bought the clear plastic paddle edging from the Infinity shop and they mailed it to my house right away. I just installed it. I lightly sanded (220 grit) the edge of the paddle for better adhesion. I put a very small drop of super glue at the two bitter ends of the material and at several evenly spaced locations around the edging. I’ll paddle tomorrow morning and let you know how it worked out. It looks good though.

  18. Evan Leong 18evan

    I am currently on a trip in California and had the chance to stop by Infinity Surf and shoot some pics and video with the owner Steve Boehne. I also visited the shaping factory and office of Ron House, Laird Hamilton’s stand up board shaper. I have some killer info and posts from these guys once I get back.

  19. srfnff 19srfnff

    I paddled with the clear plastic paddle blade edging installed this morning in consistent shoulder high surf. There seems to be a slightly different feel as I expected because the blade taper is no longer a clean line. However this did not seem to interfere with the performance of the paddle. I didn’t feel off balance or slowed down at all. Perhaps when I get better at paddling I’ll remove the edging, although there is always going to be a time or two when banging the rail with the paddle occurs. But for now, it’s all good.

  20. Evan Leong 20evan

    DW – after reading your comment it made me think. I got a chance to try 2 paddles side by side yesterday and mine had the guard all the way around and the other didn’t. I can definitely tell the difference in the stroke and release when side by side. I’ll try a test where the guard is only on the sides next to see the difference. I’m definitely leaving it on my second paddle bc new people won’t know the difference and it will save my rails.

  21. Evan Leong 21evan

    I did some testing on my paddle today. I cut off the bottom part of the paddle edge guard and left the sides. That felt better as the paddle had a smoother entry and release but something made it wobble a bit. I’m not sure if it’s the water flow change since I cut off the bottom.

    I then tried a totally different paddle from Jim at Tropical Blends Surf. The paddle he let me try looks very different from anything else I’ve seen. I’ll go to his shop and shoot some pictures of it later. That paddle was pretty good however it was a bit short for my height. I also banged my rails a lot while trying it but I think that’s from the paddle being too short for me.

    Then I changed back to my paddle and decided to take off the paddle guard entirely. I noticed a difference in the way the paddle moved through the water. Then I noticed how much I actually hit my rails. The paddle leaves black scuff marks on the rails and there must have been at least 10-15 from today. I also notice that I hit the rail a lot on the left side and not much on the right.

    I put electric tape back on the paddle blade to try again tomorrow.

  22. Tim2Nite 22Tim2Nite

    [..YouTube..] Thanks for the upload. This is very useful information.

  23. Clay 23Clay

    This topic is way old but I’m hoping someone will notice my new post.

    I’m living in the middle of nowhere in Japan and can’t get my hands on a lot of the materials mentioned: mastic tape or the plastic edging from infinity. I do have access to C4’s website and rather than muck around with searching for tape and whatnot, I thought I might just order C4’s paddle guard (and another center fin while I’m at it).

    Has anyone got the C4 paddle guard?
    If so, what do they think of it?
    The C4 forum is pretty quiet so there’s not a lot of help there.

    Hope someone can help.

    Clayton

  24. Evan Leong 24evan

    Clay – You can use the stuff used for car door edges or electrical tape. I’ve used the C4 paddle fin and it’s pretty good. I haven’t tried the C4 paddle guard but I’m sure it’s fine.

  25. Clay 25Clay

    Evan,

    Thanks for that.

    I’ll put some sort of tape on it for the time being and get the paddle guard at a later date.

    C4 seem to have done their homework with their products that is for sure.

    Cheers,

    Clayton

  26. oawplayer 26oawplayer

    [..YouTube..] I brought this type of paddle guard material from a surf shop. It seem to be the same stuff you put on the edges of car doors to protect them.

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