DIY SUP Paddle Soft Grip

So it seems like Stand Up Paddleboarding has taken off everywhere. What used to be a lonely sport has now become quite popular and social.
If you’ve been SUPing a while, you have noticed that while the carbon and fiberglass paddles are nice and light, they sometimes aren’t the most comfy on your hands. Instead of wearing gloves, I decided to try this little cheap hack to help instead.
Go to any hardware store that sells a pretty good selection of plumbing supplies and look for pipe insulation. It’s probably a good idea to take your paddle with you for a fit check.
For me, I found some elastomeric self sealing foam insulation that works well. The foam is more like thick neoprene rather than that pool noodle type foam. My paddle shaft circumference worked with 7/8″ inner diameter insulation that came in 1/2″ wall thickness.

The self sealing pipe insulation for the project

Now, the thickness is 1/2″, which may seem thick at first, but will certainly compress with use. The length of insulation costs about $6, but can make about 3 grips, so get 2 of your SUP friends to give you 2 bucks each and the 3 of you are set!
Before I went attaching this to my paddle, I cut a piece of bright electrical tape that I could move around on the shaft to see where I naturally hold the paddle.

Marking the grip placement

Turns out, when I paddled out to test it, my hand was about in the middle of the place where I hold the paddle normally. I took the tape off and proceeded to fit the insulation on the shaft after cutting the length I needed:

Cutting the insulation to length.
Insulation before sealing up.

As you can see, there are peel away covers on the insulation where it’s split lengthwise. Carefully peel these away and press these together without catching the adhesive on the paddle shaft. It’s tricky, and the seam may not be pin line straight, but just make sure it’s sealed up as tight as possible.

Grip sealed up on the paddle shaft

Just to be extra sure, I wrapped some black electrical tape around the top and bottom to give it a little more security.

Completed grip on paddle.

This will be interesting to get used to, but I think it’ll be more comfortable to use. So I’ll give it a go tomorrow in the ocean and river, and I’ll update if there’s any issues.
Well, I’ll update about issues with this project- any other issue I’ll just have to get a tissue.

Quick update- only got to go out to the river today due to time constraints, but I found that the seam came apart a little with some sun on it. To remedy this, I did a candy cane stripe with electrical tape around the grip, kind of like a tennis racket.

Securing with electrical tape.

The grip works great and is VERY comfortable!!! YAY!!

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