Stopping blisters

When using my paddle kayak I get a blister on the hand near the thumb and index finger. Haven’t used any gloves due to fishing and catching fish. Any suggestings would be nice. Thanks in advance!

Don’t hold the paddle tightly
Loosen your grip.

adhesive tape
I don’t use it but I know a few whitewater kayakers who always tape the base of their thumbs for that reason.

Try holding your paddle as loosely as you can, without dropping it. Unless your paddle is really poorly designed, it will find the right angle on its own, when pulled through the water. If you grip the shaft tightly, the blade twists the shaft in your hand, causing blisters. If you hold it loosely, the paddle finds its orientation easily, and your hands are spared.

doesn’t always help
I have a very light grip with my fingers regularly opening up but still after multiple long days I will rub a couple spots sore. On those days I use a very small bandage with electrical tape wrapped around it.

do you feather it?
I’ve noticed more people than not tend to feather their 2-piece paddles. Unless it’s windy you don’t really need to, and when the paddle is feathered you have to rotate the shaft slightly with each stroke, which causes more friction on that part of the hand. Fingerless paddling gloves help a lot too (bike and workout gloves absorb too much water.) A cheap pair (I’ve found them for under $20) works fine and should not interfere with fishing gear. YOu can cut the fingers back as far as you like with them if they seem in the way.

I never get blisters from my wooden Greenland paddle but that’s a whole other issue and more expense than I’m sure you’d want to bother with.

what I did
Took a cheap pair of brown cotton jersey gloves and cut the fingers off, works as well as the $20 paddling gloves and keeps the sun off the back of my hands. I’ve also seen the neoprene slip on sleeves for paddles but have never used one. But mostly, loosen your grip.

I got yakgrips 2 years ago and havent used gloves or gotten blisters since! They are cheap (around $10 for a set i beleive) and work great.

pulling causes blisters
Most of the time you can stop getting blisters by changing from pulling back on the paddle which forces you to grip it tighter, to PUSHING the top hand which (the one highest on the shaft) which requires almost no grip at all.

I was a puller for years and not only did I get blisters but also had elbow problems. By paddling properly and using the torso and legs you should eliminate over gripping and hand and elbow issues. When in doubt take a lesson from an instructor and you’ll be amazed what you’ll learn!

Simply put a piece of electrical tape
around the thumb in that area.

Advice given to me many years ago by “canunut” (US Nationals Champ).

Sooner or later you will develop a callus there.

Jack L

stopping blisters
I put moleskin on that area. It is a soft fabric with a sticky backing you can cut to size and is available in the drugstore foot care department. You have to apply it to the skin before you get in your boat, when it is good and dry, or it will peel off eventually in the water.

I get blisters there too.
Or at least I used to, but now have big calluses there.

It has nothing to do with gripping too tight, since that part of the hand doesn’t do much gripping, it does more pushing on the paddle. I also don’t use a feathered paddle.

I use cheap bicycle gloves. Some have extra padding between the thumb and forefinger.

when I tour, I tape the base of my thumb, then wear the gloves over top. It sucks getting a blister on a trip.

ask your mom!
Remember mom’s old Isotoner gloves. They still sell them during the holidays. They are stretchy like swimsuit material with leather accents. I haven’t tried it yet, but I bet those would work great if you cut the finger ends.

keep your hands dry.
If that doesn’t work tape them. Grip probably doesn’t matter much, but gloves and yak grips can lead to too tight of a grip which will result in very sore forearms. Band aid also makes a friction block product. It looks like a tiny stick of deoderant. I sweat by it. A little slippery for a minute but it quickly turns waxy and helps repel water.

Ryan L.

Wet hands
Do blister easier, but I always get my hands wet kayaking… it a water sport! Worrying about not getting wet would spoil some of the fun.

I don’t find gloves make me grip any tighter. I usually stretch out the fingers on the top hand.

I use first aid tape… seems to work well.

I like that idea about those paddle grips, I had purchased a 2 piece paddle cost little over $100. Had a cheaper set and sold it when I sold my Pungo 12’ now using my canoe. I had paddled down river with it, and then had to paddle back to the launch ramp this is where I always getting blisters. I try to just use my fingers and the thumb going along the barrel.The seat of the canoe is not on the floor like the kayak but 4" down from the gunnal. I try to make wide sweeps with the paddle, also it has 3 setting on the paddle shaft to make the fins turn in a different degree. I have it set on the 3rd setting making the blades one blade be at on angle and the other at another.

Thin Neoprene or Hydroskin
I think NRS sells neoprene and hydroskin gloves with and without the fingertips. I like the hydroskin because it provides a good grip, prevents blisters, and still goves you a decent feel for the paddle.

You can probably find inexpensive neoprene gloves locally and just chop off the fingers.

In whitewater I tend to get little cuts and nicks when I’m not wearing gloves, so I wear them year round.

Over time, you will develop calluses,
esp. on your control hand. I start each new paddling season with a little blistering,but your hands will get tougher,given a little recovery time.

Man up and go paddling
Your hands will toughen up and blisters will go.

James Fennimore Cooper Advice
"Keep your hands dry" Do you eve paddle a kayak anywhere besides in your dreams?