How To Size And Cut A Fixed Length Paddle
BOTE’s Gatorshell and epoxy paddle boards include a fixed length paddle that needs to be customized to the correct height of the individual paddler. This process involves cutting the paddle shaft to the correct length, glueing the handle back in place.
- Marker or Pencil
- Hand Saw or Miter Saw
- 250-300 Grit Sandpaper
- 60-150 Grit Sandpaper
- 2-Part Epoxy
- Painter's Tape (recommended)
- Heat Shrink (included with some paddles)
- Heat Gun or Hair Dryer (for Heat Shrink)
How To Measure Correct Paddle Length
- To begin measuring where you should cut, start by standing on flat ground with the paddle standing up straight in front of you. Hold your right arm up above your head and outward at a 45-degree angle and grab the shaft of the paddle. This is roughly how long your paddle should be with the handle attached. Mark the shaft at approximately the height of your wrist to accommodate the handle.
- We recommend marking with a pencil or marker then wrapping the shaft with painters tape at the bottom of the mark. This will keep the fibers from splintering when you make your cut.
- Swap to your left arm with the same 45-degree angle to ensure that the mark is still roughly in line with your wrist on your left hand as well.
- When in doubt, err on the side of caution by cutting a little less off the shaft rather than more. You can always cut again to subtract shaft length, but you cannot add back. You will be able to measure again after you cut, which will allow you to see if it needs to be cut further.
- Remove the handle from the shaft and set it aside.
Cutting the Paddle Shaft
- Use a hand saw or miter saw (chop saw) to cut the shaft of the paddle where you have marked.
- Before removing the tape, use 250-300 grit sandpaper on the newly cut edge to smooth it.
- Use 60-150 grit sandpaper along the inside of the shaft as well as the portion of the handle that will be inserted back into the shaft. This roughing process will help the epoxy adhere to both surfaces and make for a stronger bond.
- After you're done sanding, use a cloth or paper towel to clean away any excess dust particles from the handle and shaft.
- Double-check the height by inserting the handle into the shaft and placing your hand onto it. If your cut was the correct height, your hand should rest on the top of the handle with your arm extended out and above your head at roughly a 45-degree angle.
- If it still feels too long, mark your shaft again and cut away the excess. Keep in mind that your paddle will be below you in the water as you paddle, so it’s okay if it feels just slightly longer than you need.
Attaching the Handle
- Apply a 2-part epoxy to both the inside of the shaft and the part of the handle that inserts into the shaft.
- Insert the handle, making sure that it is aligned with the blade of the paddle. The grip should face the same direction as the “BOTE Axe” logo on the shaft of your paddle just above the blade.
- Quick Tip: If you need help aligning the handle, lay the paddle flat on the ground. If aligned properly, the handle should lay flat as well.
- Wipe off any excess epoxy that comes out then allow the suggested set time for the 2-part epoxy to harden.
- You can wrap more painter's tape around where the handle attaches to the shaft to keep it from shifting or turning while the epoxy hardens.
- OPTIONAL: For some paddles, a small piece of heat shrink is included with the paddle adding an extra step of covering the joint between the shaft and the handle. Most paddles do not come with this and it is not necessary. If your paddle does include a heat shrink material, wait for the epoxy to set, then slide heat shrink over the joint then heat and allow it to cool accordingly.
- Allow the epoxy to cure completely before using the paddle. If you’re unsure what the cure time is, wait a minimum of 24 hours before using the paddle.