Paddle care?

Does anyone have any advice about “the care and feeding” of a kayak paddle? I have the “standard” fiberglass Werner Camano. I am usually careful with my gear, but…today, after a much-colder-than-normal October, I ended up using my paddle to bash my way through about 15 feet of ice at the boat landing until I got to open water. (I probably shouldn’t have done that, but I was desparate to get out for a paddle before winter really sets in!) Should the edges of a paddle blade be lightly sanded so they are “sharp”? Should I be waxing my paddle the way I wax my boat? Any other suggestions?

here’s what I do with mine
(i) break it down and shove it into the trunk

(ii) stick it in the corner behind the door

Hope that helps

Low (no) maintenance
I haven’t done a single thing to any of my whitewater or touring kayak paddles, some of which are over a decade old. Granted, thanks to a lot of rock grinding, the blades on one of them have a different shape than they started with, but it still gets me where I need to go. I have seen some paddlers put a bead of epoxy along the edge of the blade for some protection.

But wax a paddle? Maybe sex wax for the shaft in cold weather.

For ice…bring along an ice pick. Works wonders.

my favorite paddle
Oh, I forget to break it down and take it out of the car.

On the other hand, the $450 paddle lives in a bedroom closet.


Sharp blades NO way
if anyghing i’d slightly round them off with some 800 grit and a super light touch.,

Surfing with a sharp blade can certainly take you or a friend right out.

Bashing with a paddle
Two winters ago I bashed a lot of ice an broke two carlise paddles, but the mohawk paddles held up fine.

I would never bash anything with my nice werner.

Paddle Care
The carbon fiber paddle is treated like my lady friend - caressed with loving hands and cared for like it is a golden treasure.

My wooden voyager, well, it gets treated like me - a crusty ol’ retired sailor. It gets beat up tossed about and missed treated. However, it does get a Christmas present - I lightly sand the ends and edges of the paddle to remove the burrs and nicks, and hit the top and bottoms of the blade with some 240 wet/dry sandpaper. Then I reseal everything with a couple of coats of poly-spray.

Ice? I just look at picture of that stuff down here in coastal NC.

“Any day on the water is a great day”


Get a “bashable” paddle
Look for one used like a big old WW paddle with plastic blades that you can use in winter, among rocks, or in a situation where paddle loss is not a remote possibility like in surf. It’s an easier solution than worrying about your nice one.

Agree with above - paddle blades that could be used as a weapon make me nervous…

I have a FG Camano and similar
paddles. Don’t worry about the edges getting blunted. Just watch the edges for any genuine cracks or delaminations. Heck, if you don’t play icebreaker again or get into ww and rock-bashing, even edge cracks or tiny delamination are of no significance.

For tiny defects, you might use “super glue”. It will get into small cracks by capillary action, and you can help it in by squeezing and releasing. Then it will set up.

The standard Werner FG blade is amongst the strongest on the market. A little edge wear is usually of no consequence.

Werner paddles
Unfortunately, I am very hard on my paddles (and my kayak and all my gear (I USE them all – A LOT).

I had a great Werner Camano that I used every time out (until I “lost” it). It definitely showed wear on the blades, from hitting rocks mainly, but it never cracked, and I never did a darn thing to it, except toss it in my car trunk. Apparently it was in good enough shape NOT to be returned when I left it in a boat launch area, (with my name and phone number written on the blade).

Now my Werner Shuna also shows blade wear, and has a few small nicks, esp. from hitting rocks, and from hitting the sides of the concrete pool while playing kayak polo, but I am not too worried. Once this summer I wiped the blades down with 303 to make them look nice and shiny.

These Werner blades seem pretty tough to me.

Seems maybe you could wipe them down and sand the edges lightly, but unless they show a crack, why bother?

Well…gee, you guys. When I asked about sharpening the blade, I wasn’t thinking of using my paddle as a weapon! Hmmm….I suppose there may be certain situations, like being attacked by a crazed beaver. But then I think I’d use the powerface of my paddle to bonk him on the head, not the edge of the blade. (A snapping turtle….? Maybe…) :slight_smile:

Anyhow…. I think I’ll be taking Celia’s suggestion and bringing along a spare, cheap paddle for any future ice-wacking adventures. Thanks for everybody’s advice!