There is no doubt that getting on a standup paddleboard is great fun. The only way to enjoy yourself as your glide on the water’s surface is having the right board and the right paddle. The SUP paddle in particular provides you with the means of propulsion so it should be comfortable to use yet effective.
If you are a passionate paddle boarder, then you can go straight ahead and purchase a good SUP paddle. Another alternative is to build a standup paddle. It is a great way to spend the weekend and brush up on your DIY skills.
This is how to make your own DIY SUP paddle.
First, the tools
Before you can even begin your work, you need to ensure you have all the tools that you are going to use at hand. These will include a table saw, a drill press, jig saw, orbital sander, and a mini grinder.
Once you have everything ready, it’s time to bring in the materials.
Step 1. Making the template for the SUP paddle
One of the most important considerations that you will need to make when making your own SUP paddle is your height in feet and inches. You will need a 1 ¼ inch closet pole that is as tall as you are. Then round this figure to the nearest feet and make sure it is completely straight and not warped.
You will also need 2-inch stainless steel wood screws, plywood, marine grade varnish, 1 ¼ inch hole saw, acetone, masking tape, fiberglass cloth, resin thickener, marine epoxy, sandpaper, foam brushes and chip brushes
The combination of marine grade epoxy and fiberglass results in a strong structure that will last for years. As for the template for the paddle you can take another SUP paddle and draw out its outline.
Take three papers as you draw out and cut out the template for the paddle. Trim out the edges.
A useful tip is to always use a standup paddle board leash when out on the water.
Step 2. Cutting out the shaft paper
You will need to be dicey with your hands if you are going to make a proper cutting. Stay vigilant so you do not end up making mistakes or causing injuries to yourself.
You will also use your table saw but make sure you are on the right side of it as you make the cut. It could help to have an extra pair of hands to help you out.
Remember you can use this paddle even on an inflatable paddle board.
Step 3. Cutting the notch
It’s time to make a notch at the other end of the pole where the handle will go. This notch will prevent the handle from lessening up and unwinding as you paddle across the water.
You will first and foremost require to find cut the length of the shaft. Some experts will agree that the DIY SUP paddle needs to be between 8 inches and 10 inches taller than you. This extra length means that you are able to burry your paddle inside the water while still maintaining a comfortable position.
Always make sure that when you are out in the water that you wear an SUP life vest.
Step 4. Creating the handle
Take the scrap piece from the closet pole and measure 2 inches and 4 inches. Then drill your hole at 2 inches. The screw that is going to hold the handle should fit nicely through the hole. Cut the handle at a length of 4 inches.
As you build your standup paddle, round the edges of the handle to make it comfortable to the touch. Fit the handle to get a feel of how it will attach to the rest of the pole. However, keep in mind that you will remove it to add epoxy glue later.
The paddle should be high quality as is the rest of the paddle board accessories.
Step 5. Tracing the template
Take the template that you cut and place it on top of the plywood. Next, use a marker to trace it around the plywood. Then take the fiberglass cloth and place it on top of the board. Use your hands to smooth it out and ensure it lies completely flat.
Mix a small amount of epoxy and a chip brush to wet the coat. Apply outside the line a bit.
Then make epoxy glue by mixing the epoxy with the filler and apply at the joint of the shaft and the handle, then screw on the handle. Allow the shaft and the handle to dry out. The idea is to make a great looking, comfortable yet effective paddle. It should be easy to use even for the beginner paddleboarder. Check out how to stand up paddle board for beginners.
Step 6. Cutting the blade
You can cut out the shape of the blade from the plywood by using a jigsaw. It a good idea to cut outside of the marked line then smoothen it out using grinder and then sand out all surfaces with a sandpaper.
Then use the acetones to wipe down both parts. Take the epoxy and apply on the blade. Ensure that the finish is smooth and that there are no gaps left.
Step 7. Attaching the blade to the shaft
Now take your sandpaper and sand down all the parts which you applied your epoxy. Flip over the blade and then add masking tape to both sides. Take the blade and the handle and lay them out. Cut a small square fiberglass cloth and see to it that everything is fitting perfectly.
Take your epoxy and mix it with a filler material in a container. The result of this mixture should appear like mashed potatoes. Apply a healthy amount of this mixture on the flat part of the blade.
Set it in place and Press it down until it the excess mixture squishes out. Next take the cloth and tuck it right around the joint. Make sure there are no air gaps as you build a standup paddle and that there is no excess epoxy as this will only serve to weaken the joint.
Right before the epoxy gets hard, use a razor blade to cut out the excess fiberglass cloth. Both the standup paddleboard and the paddle should fit inside the SUP board bag.
Step 8. Smoothen out everything
Now take the orbital sander and smooth out all the different parts of the SUP paddle. Sand again with the sandpaper and smooth all the other parts. Your DIY SUP paddle should be ready and you can now wave it to your friends for them to marvel.
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Making your own DIY SUP paddle can be fun when you have all the right tools. Forget spending a fortune on a paddle, and make one yourself.