Are wondering to how to cut your SUP paddle without ruining your investment? Paddles can run upwards of $500, so you are right to be concerned about possibly damaging your sizable investment. Adjustable paddles are the answer for some, but they have been known to snap. Unless you spend a sizable amount of money, an adjustable paddle is usually not dependable over the long run.
So cutting your SUP paddle to the perfect length might be your only option. If so, you can use the following professional tips and tricks to perform a perfect paddle circumcision every time.
Once you know how long you want your paddle to be, you should wrap the shaft where you are cutting in masking tape. This makes for a clean cut, and a non-sliding blade. For an aluminum paddle, you can probably use a standard hacksaw. With carbon fiber construction, a chop saw is probably preferred. Carbide blades usually work great for cutting carbon fiber paddles. Use a jig or blade guide to ensure that you get a straight cut, though if you are off by a hair, it is really no big deal.
After you make your cut, use a piece of 60 grit sandpaper to smooth out any rough edges. There are a couple of situations you may run into, so let’s cover them individually.
1. Your T-grip handle may have a recessed area where your blade shaft goes.
2. Some handles alternately come equipped with a short rod that slides into your paddle shaft.
1) If you have a recessed area in your handle, remove the small foam plug in the T-grip. Poke a few holes into the foam core inside the grip so your glue or bonding agent keeps your shaft from twisting. (Araldite makes a 5 minute setting glue that works great for this job. Any 5 minute epoxy gel works as well.) Place your small foam plug in the cut end of your shaft. Run glue over it to seal the shaft.
Spread the glue inside the T-grip handle, penetrating the holes that you made in the foam. Quickly push the T-grip back on the shaft, and lay your paddle on a flat surface to make sure that your handle is straight. After the glue has hardened, run a bead of glue around the joint where the shaft enters the grip to seal it properly.
2) If you are working with a paddle grip that has an insert which slides into your shaft, here is what you do. After measuring, cut the shaft following the steps above. Sand any rough edges. Coat the inside of the paddle shaft with glue. Do the same with your grip insert. Slide the insert into the shaft, laying the paddle on any flat surface to get your handle straight. Wipe off any excess glue.
If you are uncertain how to figure your correct paddle height, refer to our handy guide. You can also do what some veteran paddle boarders do. Standing, they place the grip end of their paddle on the ground in front of them. Holding the paddle straight up vertically, they mark the point on the shaft that is level with their eyes. That is where your paddle blade should begin. (You can also refer to YouTube, where several professional and seasoned stand up paddlers have posted videos showing exactly how to cut your paddle without making a costly mistake.)