Whip it?

I have noticed in videos I’ve seen, that many of the ottertail paddles folks are using have what appears to be a leather wrap on the shaft above the blade. I’m assuming it’s there to protect the paddle from wearing against the gunwale when using a “northwoods” stroke.

I’m sitting here with a nice new (my first) ottertail paddle and wondering - is it really worth the bother? And what material is best - should I find strips of leather for this, or can I just whip it with poly cord?

550 cord and varnish
So far that is the toughest oar paddle protection I’ve used. I think they had tougher leather easily available in the old days.

What’s 550 cord?

yep and yep
you can use leather strips or cord.

I have an ottertail whipped with leather.Carefully so it does not sag when wet. One brass tack on each end and the ends are trimmed at an angle.

What the leather does is grip against the gunwale and resist sliding.

Its particularly useful in the stationary pry which keeps the canoe spinning when doing Canadian Style. Otherwise the canoe paddle tends to travel more against the gunwale and you lose your grip.

Similarly in the NW stroke the shaft may rest on the gunwale and the leather resists sliding. Its a goal for the NW stroke for that part of the paddle to remain quiet and the power and turning come from the wrist resting on the shaft which travles quite a bit with a mixmaster motion.

I know…clear as mud. We have to get a good video on this.

550 cord works great
kblackyak, 550 cord consists of seven nylon cords inside a sheath.(the individual cords can be used as fishing line or thread in an emergency). You can attach it to the paddle via a “fancy work” wrap. Very useful. We use it on our patrol boats for a very good grip on the rails.

Great idea. Never thought to put it on a paddle.

Better still
check a good marine store - preferably one that sells sailboating gear - for whipping twine. It comes pre-waxed in several sizes. Using a traditional whipping wrap you will be able to cover the throat of the shaft in one step with no tacks or varnish. Easy to remove and re-do if needed.

And when you are done you can whip the ends of all of your lines for a neat and anal appearance!


PS: West Marine sells this material.

Thanks, guys!
I think I’ll try leather first. Should be able to find a nearby saddle shop that has what I need.

Civilian Version of Parachute Cord
Called 550 cord because that is the tensile strength. Working strength is one tenth tensile strength.

One thing the civilian market has not caught on to is “Ranger Cord” which is braided nylon. Very handy


duct tape
quick, effective, and a good theft deterrent :wink:

Maybe you were joking, Matt…
…but it’s not a bad idea. Used to always wrap some duct tape around a handlebar on my bike 'cause it was an easy way to store some in a handy location. Could work the same on a paddle shaft. Just have to decide on a suitable color. Hope Mr. Kettlewell won’t be insulted. :wink: