I have a Perception Horizon Line whitewater Kevlar carbon kayak paddle that I want to trim down the blades. Basically I never use this excellent paddle for myself so I want to trim the blades and make it a high-end sea kayak paddle for my wife. It is super light and would be perfect for her. I know some are gonna say “why don’t you just go buy one” but I don’t have $200+ to spend and I am just asking for advice or suggestions on what would be the preferred cutting method/tool. Thanks for any helpful input.
You could be in for an interesting project. Kevlar is hard to cut and it frays if you try to sand it, so it can be a pain to work with. I would suggest that you start by making a pattern of the blade shape you want. Apply masking tape to the blades so you can trace the pattern onto it.
Composites are most easily cut using a cutoff wheel, which you could do if you have a Dremel or similar tool. You can also use a saw with hardened teeth, like a jigsaw with a fine, metal-cutting blade, or a hacksaw if you don’t own a jigsaw. While sanding Kevlar can be problematic, you can scrape it to shape using a carbide scraper. They’re available in the paint department for hardware stores and home centers.
Grinding wheel. mark off what you want to remove. Or, make her a Greenland paddle.
I’m not familiar with the subject paddle, but aren’t most white water paddles substantially thicker (the blades) than touring paddles. My Werner WW paddle is also quite a bit shorter than a normal touring paddle. If the Perception paddle is somewhat similar, I would think you might be better off to look for a trade.
Cutoff wheel is the way to go as others have said.
Something to consider, most ultralight composite paddles have a PVC foam core. You can see it in most paddles if you look at the gloss at and angle and look for a halo in the sheen. If your paddle has a foam core, be sure not to cut into it, as the halves will easily delaminate if they are not held together at the edge.
On my carbon ZRE canoe paddle and Epic small-mid wing knockoff , both have .50-.75" around the perimeter of the blade of solid un-cored carbon that could be removed without consequence. My guess is that makers have a singular foam core size and just add carbon to the perimeter to yield larger blade sizes.
I’ve used a belt sander . I marked off 1/8" on masking tape and removed to the line; then tried out the paddle. Repeat until the paddle suits.