How to cure sticky carbon paddle connection?

I admit I have wondered if it is just the fastidious wiping that I do before applying the T-9 is what REALLY keeps the joints from sticking. Maybe a reason for a field test.

I can add that I did nothing with my carbon paddles for years, other than rinse well at the end of the season. Worked fine, until it didn’t.

I actually also had a Wind Swift all carbon paddle, that Eddyline used to make. Eddyline did suggest very light sanding if stickiness and difficult operation was an issue, and that paddle I did use very fine wet/dry sandpaper to loosen up the fitting after several years. It was the only one that needed that at that time. And that helped…for a while.

The tightness was very gradual, both for the Wind Swift and the Werners. Like watching the diameter of you tree increase, smile. Nothing I could detect, either carefully feeling, or inspecting with bright light and a magnifying glass. It was like one season they felt a bit tighter, but I could easily think it was my imagination. The next season, maybe a bit tighter, maybe not. Next season, once in a while I had to really pull hard, but most times seemed normal. Next season had to pull hard more often. Until it became very difficult at the end of a paddle, and at the start it was just a bit more difficult to put together.

All of that suggested possible salt deposits. We mostly paddle in low salinity brackish, tidal rivers. Salinity 1-8 ppt (yes, science nerd here, guilty as charged), so quite low and the deposits, as I said, were not visible. But apparently enough to reach a threshold where the operation was compromised. And, it reminded my of experience with ropes that live on deck for long periods of time, that very slowly, get stiffer and stiffer, as the seasons progress.

I did try washing, using a scrubbing sponge, and magic erasers, to remove any deposits. That only partially helped, and not for long. I tried shifting to rinsing every time we got back from paddling, again not really much help. So I tried soaking, recognizing that is the typical treatment for ropes with salt embedded. It simply takes some time for the salt to dissolve. A couple hours worked fine for our paddles. But it is easier to just leave them soaking overnight for an absent minded person like me, so that is now my standard procedure, with a 5 gallon bucket living in my garage with the kayaks for just that purpose.

They do make salt dissolving solutions that you can buy, and that probably works faster, but water is fine so far. I will say that I am curious if mineral deposits from our municipal water supply may do the same thing over time. We get deposits in all the sinks and the tub, and on faucets. An application of vinegar from time to time solves that, so if the paddles get difficult even with soaking in tap water, I will add some vinegar for non salt deposits that may have formed.

I am a fan of using a bit of sunscreen on both sides of the connection. It is handy and works great.

I’ve had a problem only once, and that was with an older Camano which I had loaned out so I may or may not know the whole story. Anyway, after thorough soaking, sponging with clean water, rinsing and drying, I applied a very small amount of DuPont silicone with Teflon. I still have the paddle and have not had to fuss with it since.


Werner has long been plagued with stuck joints on their paddles. They usually blame it on user failure to rinse and maintain the paddle. They also expressly - at least in the past as I haven’t owned one of their paddles for years - say not to use any sort of lubricant.

My solution to the ever unwilling to separate, yet properly maintained Camano I previously owned was dry lube for bicycle chains. It doesn’t attract dirt, can be cleaned off with rubbing alcohol and worked very well. My current GearLab GL paddles have all come with a tube of what looks like drysuit zip lube.

I also don’t toss my paddles up on the beach when I land or lay them on the ground. The paddle gets stored under the deck lines or in the cockpit. My spare paddle is assembled rather than in two pieces on the deck, which helps keep the joint cleaner. Plus it seems to me that a paddle will break at the most inopportune time. Quicker to grab an assembled paddle than try to put one together under stress. Maybe that’s just habit from my wood GLs, and might not work as well for euros.

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I’m impressed that it hasn’t happened more frequently, considering the tight fit. The paddle now remains together until I reach the truck. I also take greater care to make sure the fitting doesn’t get knocked about and that it doesn’t get dirty.

In hindsight, I know the joint had been soaked from wind blown salt water. The salt would accumulate over time unless rinsed with clear water and dried. I guess the alternative is to deal with a sloppy joint. It’s an issue I’ll gladly deal with as long as they cover it under warranty.

Paddle sand beach. Dried salt is rough I guess. Interference fit doesn’t take much.

It happens I guess.

6 or 7 CF paddles 15 years never used anything but water. Never had a problem. Always in salt water.

Werner says no lube’s.

That’s probably a good point.

I have never used any of mine in anything but fresh water.

Salt is something I had to deal with in my USMC days and it was easy to do IF you had a good amount of fresh water, but it was not uncommon to NOT have large amounts of it, and I remember trying to get salt off equipment. The best we could do is reduce it a bunch, but without running fresh water it was nearly impossible to get rid of it all.

Also, sea salt (sodium chloride) and other sodium salts are generally very easy to dissolve in water. But the oceans also have salts of magnesium, calcium, iron, etc. Even though present in much smaller amounts, they far less soluble in water. Some may be nearly impossible to rinse in cold water alone if allowed to dry first. I suspect some fresh bodies of water (esp. brackish) may have enough various salts to be potentially troublesome too over time.

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Just over 3 years ago I had the opposite problem with my Werner Cyprus in that the two halves wouldn’t stay locked together. I paddle almost exclusively in salt water but I religiously flush with fresh after each paddle. I contacted Werner who suggested the usual soak in warm soapy water, which I had already tried. It was strange in that the release button appeared to work perfectly; it was easy to move and the spring felt fine. We eventually discovered that the button molding has a small hook that latches on to the ring gear and this had failed. I had noticed that the ferrules had developed a tiny bit of play - maybe 1mm or so, which was probably caused by the button assembly failing.

So, I sent the paddle in to Werner and they fixed it. My costs were $57 to send the paddle in, $31 for the repair and $36 for return freight.

I was just happy to get my Cyprus back and it’s been fine since.


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Graphite might work, but it’s messy to work with and any lube you might use is just adding more material to the joint, and many attract fine grit.

I’m of the rinse well with clean fresh water and sometimes wipe dry school. Grit and salt in a ferrule can roughen up he surface making it stick before it eventually sands down the ferrule and makes it loose.

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Dirty water has all sorts of stuff in it that helps adhese it when dried. The best advice is probably to take apart, rinse with clean water and let dry. If sanding it should be very light.

I sanded my aquabound manta ray 210 packraft paddle about 15 years ago and it has a little “play” in the joints now. It doesn’t bother me but it might bother some.

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I agree with @rstevens15 … better to “wipe dry” (with a clean, soft cloth or chamois) than “let dry”.

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I let it soak overnight in a bucket of water with a little bit of vinegar added, and that seems to have done the trick. Thanks everyone.

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Thanks for following up, that is useful information!