Yes? No?

Do they work well or not at all?

The paws are not what thay used to be and a little cusion wouldnt hurt.

Tennis racket handle grip tape…
…Or what ever they call it.

I wrapped a small diameter paddle shaft years ago to better fit my hands. It adds some cushion and it has stayed on. Maybe bicycle handlebar wrap would help.

I can’t comment on the Yakgrips…

didn’t like them
I tried them as a solution for blisters on very long trips and races. An advantage over gloves is that they don’t keep your hands constantly wet (and more prone to blister), and they do add cushioning, but for me they make the paddle shaft too large in diameter to be comfortable. YMMV.

IMO, if the paddle shaft has too much “cushion” you might actually find yourself gripping tighter in order to retain the same feeling of control.

To get around the “thick grip” issue, I have experimented with very thin (1/16") neoprene attached to the shaft with tape and/or glue, but I didn’t find the material to be durable enough to be practical.

For long races, I prefer to go without gloves (but take a pair just in case), and wrap the middle joint of my fingers, and the base of my thumb with electrical tape or 3M Nexcare tape.

Greg Stamer

In some people, they may tend to cause
reflexive over-gripping.

I have Yakgrips on my paddle, and they do slide a lot. I have to adjust them every so often. Otherwise I like them. I mainly use my kayak for fishing though. I may put a small cable tie on each end.

Neither gloves nor cushioned grips were
ever helpful to me when rowing or sculling for many miles. The skin and hands adapt.

true to a point
I agree that most people can toughen their hands and improve technique to where they can paddle for a trip without getting a blister.

I even know some endurance paddlers who put “TuffFoot” on their hands (a product originally made for hunting dog’s feet) in attempt to prevent blisters.

Where I have issues with blisters is long races/expeditions, like the 300 mile Everglades Challenge. Even after doing plenty of long training sessions of 30 miles or more (with no blisters), this year I was fine at mile 30, but blistered at mile 50. At that point you need to keep your hands intact in order to finish well, before you hands have a chance to toughen up.

IMO, training more than 12 hours causes more harm than good (as far as recovery goes), so there is a limit to how much you can prepare, and most of these events include a fair amount of suffering.

I agree that gloves keep you hands wet and can cause blisters, but once you have hamburger hands, for whatever reason, you need to find a way to keep going, if stopping is not a viable option. I find that tape works, but have also used gloves to good effect to manage the pain enough to continue.

Greg Stamer

Blisters are not
the problem.

I was shooting for a little cusion to maybe ease the after effects on the joints.

yes, try wrist grips. But grips are not the solution. wrist/hand squeezers and


everyday squeezers with wrist weights in arm circles, stretches while squeezing and walking answer the problem.

See EXRX for wrist/arm ex

learn relaxing hands, paddling against hand hams without finger gripping.

I did some recreational badminton before I had to switch over to kayak because of a knee injury. That is why I know that there are a lot of different types of racket tapings. Maybe it is worth the effort to try some different types. I use them on my paddles and for me they are a relieve (70+).

finger gripping
"" paddling against hand hams without finger gripping"" Yes, indeed. http://www.paddling.net/message/showThread.html?fid=advice&tid=1721388

We sell them at my shop. All of the employees there are experienced paddlers, and we constantly laugh about how stupid these things are. They’re supposed to make your hands more comfortable. But that’s not really necessary. It’s all in the shaft (the right shaft) and paddling form. If your form is good, and your paddle is good, you shouldn’t need these little cushions.

wrist info last paragraph
in Nollen’s essay.

I bought them to prevent blisters, and they work well for that.

Hockey tape with any paddling
I bought the paddle index kits with the heat shrink tubing for the shaft. I used hockey stick tape instead of the heat shrink tubing and I really like it.

My wife uses the yak pads on one of her paddles and says they move too much. I plan to tape them in place with the hockey tape or use glue.

If i am using a very relaxed grip a thicker shaft with grip tape works best for me on long paddles.

taping against blisters
I have to admit that the taping I use doesn’t help much to avoid blisters but it certainly helps to have a better grip with less effort. It is all personal I think and asks for some experimenting and the priorities one has. Also the angle between the paddle blades has an influence on the wrist joints and blisters and for me no angle (parallel) works fine.