Mysterious damage to paddle

This past week my Black Bart Troublemaker was damaged somehow. If you look closely it looks like the surface of the blade imploded; there’s a round crater and the (thick) carbon fiber skin has been penetrated (there’s a hole). Weird thing is - I have no idea how it happened. Even weirder thing is that it’s the second time it’s happened to this paddle.

A little epoxy and gorilla tape and the paddle is back in service.

bullet holes :joy:

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Did you check warranty?

Was anyone using a BB gun in the area?

Jyak, there are no more warranties on Black Bart paddles, they are historical objects because their creator passed.

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My first thought was pellet rifle, my second though twas there may have been significant air bubbles in the resin when the the blade was made. Any tiny bit of moisture inside the blade in hot sun might make it pop. Not sure though.


Does the lower hole have foreign matter in it, or am I just seeing a lighter ring?

I ask, because my immediate reaction upon seeing the photo was, “That looks just like the skirt of a pellet!” I frequently practice with my air rifle, and trust me—that sure looks like what happens when a pellet lodges in something and does not pass through.b

Yet when I zoom in on that spot, I don’t see more than an upwelled ring of the layup. If there IS something metallic stuck in it, then someone fired a pellet at your blade. Probably not—let’s hope not.

Another wag, could it have been used as a pry bar somehow? lots of leverage against something round like a bolt?

Do you have kids?

Because my little brother shot our tv and it looked exactly like that right between Dan Rathers eyes

Indeed. And Bud Moll was a great guy and probably would have made a new one for me but I wouldn’t have requested it.

It had to be something like an air pocket in the foam core that collapsed.

The new crater and hole are clean as a whistle…no debris. It’s not an upwelling of the fabric; the fabric has been pushed down into the blade (in an extremely uniform way as if done by pressure).

And I always use my spare paddle to deflect bullets, not my primary use paddle.


That’s part of the mystery. No prying. It has a safe place at home and in the car. Frankly I think it would be hard to create two identical failures like that even prying or slamming a door on it.

No kids but I suppose it could be another tactic that my wife uses to try to drive me crazy. :wink:

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Does your wife have an irrational fear of roaches? If so, maybe it was used to swat one.

I said BB gun, because BBs will ricochet and a neighbor kids might have made it happen unintentionally.

Black Bart paddles are old enough that any bubbles would have long since surfaced, and Bud did such a great job making sure that did not happen.


What rests below and above the paddle when it is stored? Any heat?

Any volatile compounds around?

Also, those holes might be for tooling to hold core material while it is shaped or an ejection pin from a mold, which ejects the piece from the bottom part of the metal molding cavity. Maybe air pressure and heat forced the fabric in. Some epoxies gave a glass temperature that is low, and the black blade absorbs solar energy.

Is it kept where the sun can shine on it regularly?

I had a black storage bin with a humidity sensor and dessicant in it. Around 4pm every day, when the sun can shine through the garage window onto the black bin, the internal temperature shoots up to 122F.

When stored it hangs happily by the handle in the garage. No heat or volatile compounds. The biggest thermal cycling I can think of is when it goes from baking in the sun as spare paddle to being used in water. BUT - today I (finally) realized that it’s unusual in that I shortened it which entailed cutting off the original grip. It’s the one with the wood grip, the one on the left is an undisturbed one. So I did break the seal on a sealed system and the first blemish happened shortly after it was shortened. The plot thickens.

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