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Standup Paddleboard Paddles #1: What the heck is a Standup Paddleboard?

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Blog entry by Bob Babcock posted 08-06-2007 10:32 PM 8367 reads 0 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Standup Paddleboard Paddles series Part 2: Shaping the blade »

My older brother loves water sports. Lately he has taken up SUP (standup paddleboarding) because it is easier on old geezers like himself. I say that with the greatest respect….I hope I can be half as active as he is when I’m 60+. It is basically a very large surf board with a paddle and (you gueesed it) you stand up the whole time. It’s great exercise, easier to catch waves and if no waves…just fun to paddle. If you are interested my brother has a great blog for beginners. http://www.ponohouse.com/ponoblog/?p=158

Here is a picture of the great Laird Hamilton making it look easy on a crazy wave in howling Kona winds at Hookipa Beach, Maui. Photo courtesy of MauiSurf/windsurf forecast, Giampaolo Cammarota
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Anyway…back to woodworking.. I decided to make my brother and myself paddles when we started discussing the sport. I’m thinking of taking it up as exercise to try and help my balance problems. A frequent visitor of his blog has similar problems and seems to be able to do it. It certainly helps the core muscles. I’m surprised how quickly its going together. I had a small window of shop time this weekend and got a lot done. I need to get them done by labor day since we’ll be getting together at his race in Lime Rock, CT that weekend.

I cut a bunch of 1 1/4” x 1/4” x 8’ strips of cedar and a few of mahogany.
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I cut one strip of mahogany narrower to accept a spline for the paddle blade.
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I was planning on steam bending the shaft but is was unnecessary. The standard way is a simple bent lamination. So I made a frame from MDF. The paddle has a 10 deg bend.
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Bent laminations…I used West Systems epoxy.
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Spline for the blade.
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Tough to tell but there is a paddle blade glued up in there somewhere.
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Glueing up the handle.
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Starting to shape the shaft with my Grandfathers drawknife…I love this tool.
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One of the clamps slipped off the block and left a mark..I should be able to fix it.
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The profile of the end of the paddle. I’ll be tapering the back a lot and the face slightly.
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The handle after the epoxy hardened…ugly looking but lots of promise.
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Shaping with the drawknife.
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I decided to get creative and add an inlay of a Mako shark into the handle. I figured i’d cut a couple so I cut the slices and taped them together.
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One little Mako
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Sanding the blade.
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I carved out the outline of the shark and set the inlay in. I was a little nervous since I couldn’t really see how it was seated.
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Shaping the back of the blade shaft.
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The finished blade shaft will have concentric ellipses running to the bottom.
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It’s looking like a paddle
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I shaped the handle to fit comfortably in the hand and give a good grip.
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I couldn’t wait and sanded down the inlay while the epoxy was still a lttle tacky.
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Looking pretty good if I do say so myself.
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I still need to put a 1/4” mahogany edge on the blade and then taper the blade. The blade will be fiberglassed as well as 1/2 the shaft. I should be able to finish the 1st one this coming weekend. I can’t wait for him to see it. I just hope it performs as good as its going to look.

-- Bob, Carver Massachusetts, Sawdust Maker http://www.capecodbaychallenge.org



14 comments so far

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 2969 days


#1 posted 08-07-2007 12:12 AM

Awesome

View Max's profile

Max

55959 posts in 2928 days


#2 posted 08-07-2007 12:15 AM

That really looks great!!!!!!!! I think he will really like it…. Oh and it doesn’t “Look easy” too me.

-- Max "Desperado", Salt Lake City, UT

View woodspar's profile

woodspar

710 posts in 2754 days


#3 posted 08-07-2007 12:25 AM

Wow, nice job on the inlay! What a great project!

-- John

View Buckskin's profile

Buckskin

486 posts in 2643 days


#4 posted 08-07-2007 12:47 AM

I wanted to say awesome but Dennis beat me to it. Perfect choice for an inlay subject!

View Bob Babcock's profile

Bob Babcock

1804 posts in 2741 days


#5 posted 08-07-2007 01:15 AM

My brother has an interesting story on his blog about an encounter with a school of tiger sharks that inspired the inlay of the shark. http://www.ponohouse.com/ponoblog/?p=251 I’ve been in the water with big sharks before and nothing else I can think of brings quite the same chill up your spine.

I chose the Mako because its found in the waters of both New England and Hawaii and is one of the fastest and most agile.

-- Bob, Carver Massachusetts, Sawdust Maker http://www.capecodbaychallenge.org

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4435 posts in 2617 days


#6 posted 08-07-2007 04:00 AM

Bob, you like ‘em tough and you really make it work. Great project and I really like the shark.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View Jeff's profile

Jeff

1011 posts in 2749 days


#7 posted 08-07-2007 04:53 AM

Supercool paddle Bob. Great documentation of the process. I want to make some paddles for our canoe someday. This helps a lot. Have you been watching Shark Week? LOL.

-- Jeff, St. Paul, MN

View Dorje's profile

Dorje

1763 posts in 2652 days


#8 posted 08-07-2007 07:15 AM

Wow – can’t believe what you just whipped up! That’s super!

-- Dorje (pronounced "door-jay"), Seattle, WA

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

18615 posts in 2816 days


#9 posted 08-07-2007 06:07 PM

I’m with you Dorje—“yah, I think I’ll make a paddle today”..
it’s beautiful.

When we got our canoe, against Rick’s advice, I bought an expensive paddle… oh how I love it. I love the look, the feel…

but to have made it myself. I can’t imagine.

Well done

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (https://www.facebook.com/DebbiePribeleENJOConsultant)

View Bob Babcock's profile

Bob Babcock

1804 posts in 2741 days


#10 posted 08-08-2007 04:29 AM

I’m amazed myself at how quick this is, but the fact is that it’s really simple. No complicated joints to cut. Just strips of wood, some epoxy and clamps. I’ve used the drawknife, my hand held belt sander, and a random orbit sander to shape it. The cedar is soft enough to shape easily. Of course that said a few weeks of careful planning and research went into the design. Danny Brown at Whiskey Jacks was kind enough to share his methods with me.

Any of you could easily do this. One thing I do plan to do is to get more clamps. I’ve decided that these are going to be Christmas presents for all my siblings. They all have canoes and/or kayaks so its the perfect gift.

I clamped up the final outer strips on the blade tonight and will shape and sand the whole thing tomorrow. I’ll fiberglass the back and edges of the blade the following night and then put the finish on and get started on #2 this weekend. I’ll be sure to blog the rest of the process.

-- Bob, Carver Massachusetts, Sawdust Maker http://www.capecodbaychallenge.org

View Timbers's profile

Timbers

25 posts in 2646 days


#11 posted 08-08-2007 06:18 AM

Great Work Bob!
I am jealous of your using the drawknife. I thought the spokeshave was cool, but oh man, a drawknife looks even more fun to pull on! Sweet inlay work as well.
SHAKA!

-- Tim Nuanes

View Bob Babcock's profile

Bob Babcock

1804 posts in 2741 days


#12 posted 08-09-2007 01:52 AM

Hehe….as I’m sure you probably know Tim,the standard length for a SUP paddle is one shaka over your head….:)

-- Bob, Carver Massachusetts, Sawdust Maker http://www.capecodbaychallenge.org

View Sae's profile

Sae

1 post in 2283 days


#13 posted 06-20-2008 02:22 AM

dude, check this out! you’ll love it!!! http://bushleague.tv/2008/06/17/surfing-garrett-mcnamara-part-uno/

View Bob Babcock's profile

Bob Babcock

1804 posts in 2741 days


#14 posted 06-20-2008 05:07 AM

LOL…I’ve been paddling 10 months now…dropped 40 lbs while adding loads of muscle. In the best shape I’ve seen in 20 years…now I’m puting this together…. http://www.capecodbaychallenge.org ...22 miles across Cape Cod Bay for charity. I’ve been out in 10-12 ft waves…never felt so alive in my life!

-- Bob, Carver Massachusetts, Sawdust Maker http://www.capecodbaychallenge.org

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