Sanding glossy paddle shafts

Anyone sand their glossy paddle shafts to they’re not so slick when wet? I love my Onno and ZRE paddles, both of which have non-glossy shafts that have a soft feel when dry and seem to get stickier when wet.

My Epic small-mid wing, on the other hand, has a glossy shaft that gets pretty slippery when wet. I don’t feel like I can keep as relaxed a grip as I’d like. Today I wet sanded it with regular 600 grit (not P600). Only took a minute and the shaft feels pretty good. Haven’t had a chance to get it on the water yet. I’ll report back when I do.

So, anyone else? What grit do you use?


wet sanding paddle shafts

According to Epic rep Brian Houston, Greg Barton wet sands his paddle shafts, so you are in good company.

I didn’t mind the glossy finish on my Epic carbon wings (mid and small mid) until I started practicing maximum effort sprints during interval training and had some trouble with my hands slipping. For touring it was never an issue.

I prefer to use 800 or 1000 grit. To make the job neater, I recommend masking off the area to be wet sanded first.

I recently ordered an ONNO small endurance wing, for ultra long distance racing (Watertribe events, etc) and look forward to trying it out. As you say, Patrick’s paddle shafts are wet sanded, but I don’t know what grit he uses.

Greg Stamer

Me and Greg
Good news. I’m sure the slippery paddle was the only thing keeping me from paddling at his level. Can’t wait to set the water on fire tomorrow!! :slight_smile:


I just grab up some sand from the
riverbank, and wet sand with my hand. Even after wet sanding, these surfaces can take up hand oils, and may need cleaning during an outing.

My Question is …So Greg does it to
his own … So why sell every one of them with a thick, heavy, glossy surface ???

Same thing David Mitchell once told me
I chided David, the founder of Mitchell Paddles, once for varnishing the grips of one the wooden paddles I had bought when I thought he knew I preferred unvarnished. He told me to just pick up some river sand and rub off the varnish, as he and his friends used to do in England before slalom races.

Lady Gaga
I don’t know much about the marketing of current composite kayak paddles, but Lady Gaga has been very successful with a thick, heavy, glossy surface.

wax the shaft
Waxing the shaft will give you grip when wet. Once a year seems enough for me.


Wax it with what kind of wax?

Yup. Done that
I built my own carbon/kevlar Greenland paddle and on that I had 600 grit sand paper finish. Looks smooth but not glossy and does not slip when wet.

My Epic mid-wing with the green shaft (carbon blades) is smooth and slippery. But in general I don’t notice it, unless I mess-up something and push the wrong way. I might sand off the gloss - won’t hurt and will help with grip.

The 2 carbon Werners (Cyprus and forgot-the-name-outrigger-single-blade) I got are also not shiny and they feel great in the hand.

I like smooth (but not shiny) as it causes fewer problems with skin friction. If the shaft is too grippy it will likely rub the hands raw too fast…

800-1000 works for me
I bought a used carbon Norvoca GP. After first use I wanted to shine it up free of scratches from its first life. 3m buffing compound made it very pretty but too slick. I masked off sections with tape and hit it with wet sand paper for much improved grip under duress. My wooden GP’s are waxed with common Johnson paste stuff. It helps on carbon too while making the water bead up nicely.

Stonyboater paddle wax
It’s beeswax based, used by ww paddlers.

Most any hard wax…
…I keep a small bar of ski wax in my day hatch and rub a bit of it on the shaft when I notice it getting slick again. No real science to it.

My BS Cypress has never been slick though the BS Ikelos is slipperly when wearing Glacier Gloves. I doubt that it matters much which kind of wax (or what temperature). Just a bit of wax. Birthday cake candles will do.


Tried it out tonight
Got out tonight for a short workout paddle. Shaft felt good. No slippage.

Unfortunately it didn’t make me as fast as Greg Barton. Maybe if I tried 800 grit…


Italian Cork Bicycle Handlebar Tape
Will do the trick without any sanding involved. Plus increase the diameter of the shaft for for us with large grips. The big bonus is being able to paddle immediately without having to wash off the slippery sun block from the hands. The cork is comfortable and doesn’t cut up the hands like other materials do.

good one
I believe that is the first lady gaga reference ever on pnet.

Thank you.