Like kayaks, paddles don’t require much maintenance. Nevertheless, some minimal care will eliminate problems down the road. The ferrule on a two-piece paddle is vulnerable to wear or jamming from sand, salt, mud or grit.
Once the joint becomes loose, the movement within further accelerates wear. A simple rinse or dip in clean water prior to putting the paddle together, and after taking it apart is the proverbial “ounce of prevention”. If the joint has become loose, a light tape wrap when paddling will prevent further wear. (See joint repair below)
If your paddling style causes abrasion on any part of the paddle shaft, we recommend a light wrap of vinyl tape in that area for protection. Inspect the shaft occasionally for signs of damage. Blade tips are very strong and designed to withstand pushing off of beaches etc. However, the blade edges are vulnerable to impact and abrasion.
Be cautious in shallow rocky water and try to avoid “chopping wood” with your paddle. If blade edges do get dinged, repair can be accomplished with epoxy or fiberglass resin. Some folks tape the blade edges with vinyl tape to protect them. Also light sanding will remove the smaller dings and will not affect your paddles performance.
The breakdown joint of a two piece paddle is a dramatically precise piece of work. Only a few thousands of an inch in dimension can make the difference between too loose and too tight. There are several factors that can cause changes in the fit. Fine deposits of salt, silt, chemical buildup from pollutants in the water, even temperature changes can affect the fit.
We recommend sanding the ferrule using 600 grit sand paper and water. Rotate the male ferrule in your hand while cupping it with sandpaper. Sand a little, clean it and try the fit until you have what you like. Then some auto wax or Armorall will keep it sliding smoothly.
If a ferrule has become so loose that it wobbles when paddling, it can be repaired by dipping the male end in a varnish or lacquer. (Polyurethane works well) Several dips may be necessary. Wet sand the ferrule lightly with 400 grit paper to remove tackiness or if the coating is a bit too thick and now the fit is too tight. By coating and wet sanding, you can fine tune the fit to your personal preference.