Simple SUP Traction Grip

I needed to replace my soft SUP paddle grip after months of wear, so since I had to refresh it anyway, I thought I’d try a different type of grip this time, just for fun.
I first measured around the shaft of the paddle to see what the width needed to be to have the traction wrap around the circumference.

Measuring the SUP paddle shaft

I got about 3 3/4″ inches. I had a piece of scrap 3 mm Seadek traction I wanted to use for this. Knowing the measurement, and due to the thickness of the traction, I decided to cut the traction 4″ wide (to allow for bending) and 10 1/2″ long. The length was to give me a lot of slop on my grip so I could have my hand almost anywhere without being off. To get an idea of where you should place a grip, take a couple of strips of bright colored electrical tape on your paddle when you go out and move them around until you find your “zone”.

Cutting a small traction rectangle

Afterwards, I peeled off the backing, affixed it to the paddle shaft where I wanted it by placing the shaft on the traction in the middle:

Ready to roll!

To adhere the grip, I used a careful “sushi-roll” technique on the corner of a table, where only the shaft would be in contact with the table.

Done!

Once completed, I can leave it as is, or I can put the soft grip layer back on, and now I’ll have a back up grip underneath.
I’ve got some paddle wax that was given to me that is supposed to be used to wax up and form a grip on your paddle. Um, yeah. Don’t be that guy.

DIY Surfboard Traction from Scraps

So, I’ve been cutting a HUGE traction pad for my 9’2″ longboard from this SeaDek stuff made locally, normally used for tread on boats and other watercraft. It also works great for surfboard traction, and cuts and sands easy. I like it because I’m lazy about wax some days, especially on my longboards, and that always makes for some “Really, I meant to do that” maneuvers.
So, after cutting out my big traction pad, I had a bag o’ scraps leftover that I just couldn’t bear to throw away, plus some blue scraps leftover from another project. Some were pretty small, but the traction’s not the cheapest, so I seem to find some use for them. On a side note, if you have flat bar roof racks, a long strip across makes a great grippy, cushiony pad.
So with lots of small, odd shaped scraps, I decided to make some more art on my 5’8″ that can’t seem to hold wax to save it’s life. I was warned by the shaper that wax would have trouble sticking to the all over color on the epoxy, but found out that he was REALLY serious. I thought making some traction that was artsy fartsy might be fun and solve the problem.
At first, for this 3 mm traction, I tried using some extra heavy shape punches that you can find in the scrapbook section of most craft stores. Doesn’t work. The Martha Stewart XL punch almost made it through, but didn’t. So, I was forced with hand cutting a lot of pieces, which luckily, isn’t too hard with 3 mm.
After cleaning my my board thoroughly, getting rid of any wax (which wasn’t hard to do) I had my area mapped out- from the kick pad up to about the BAT logo:

The area I was putting the traction on

First, I printed out a couple of fish shapes in two sizes from my clip art on my computer, and cut them out.

Fish shapes

I traced these shapes (simplified a bit) onto some craft foam so my pencil would have some thickness to rest on when I used them as templates to trace the shapes onto the traction:

Cut out craft foam tracing templates
Traced shape ready to cut out from the traction

I cut out quite a few of these fish in the two different sizes, since I was aiming to cover that large area.
Next, I had some light blue scraps I wanted to make into bubbles around the fish. I did use a tool for some of the larger sized “bubbles”. It’s called a Rotary Cutter, and is used a lot by quilters to cut circles for applique, but also works well on this traction, which I was happy about. It’s essentially a compass with a wheel blade on the outside edge to cut the circle. I didn’t cut all the way through to the backing, just enough so I could peel the circles off like stickers.

Rotary cutter and circles cut in the traction

For small circles that were smaller that the rotary cutter could do, I used a plastic circle template (like you may have used in school!) to trace the other circles and hand cut them. I did manage to get my regular small hole punch to punch out really tiny dots too- I couldn’t believe it actually worked!
So here’s the finished traction that I will need to give at least 24 hours to cure before I can use it in the water:

Middle traction on the board completed

If I ever wanted to decorate a bathtub, I think I could do it now. Anyway, to those who say it’s going to give me terrible rash when I surf, I always surf in a rashguard and boardshorts so I don’t get charbroiled. Don’t you???

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.

***Update***
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!!