If you ever need to call upon the set of spare (split) paddles stored in the back of your kayak the chances are that it must have got a bit fierce for you to lose/damage your normal set. If that is the case your spare set must me up to the job. Having an inferior set of spare paddles may not be the best idea. However shelling out hundreds of £’s on a fancy set of splits is quite painful on your wallet. Now and again you can find split paddles on ebay.
A couple of months ago I started a search for a suitable paddle to modify into a set of splits. The tools for the job were assembled. 1 x saw, 1 x tube clamp/cut guide, 1 x tape measure, 1 x Vernier gauge (everyone should have one these!).
Today I spent a few minutes taking the care of creating my own spare set of paddles. This started by cutting a perfectly good set of Werner Wenatchee in half. The Wenatchee design is a superb symmetrical blade made by Werner in the late 90’s/early 00’s. This set cost £40 a few weeks ago.
I want my split to be bang in the centre of the paddle shaft. The paddle shaft was measured and the centre point marked. With second hand/used paddles make sure that you measure the shaft and not blade tip to blade tip as there may be uneven blade wear. If you intend to keep the same feather you may want to mark the shaft so that you can set the feather to what it was before you chopped it in half.
As with all things critical, measure twice and cut once. Once happy with the measurement I then carefully started the cut making sure everything was nice and straight/square. The carbon skypole shaft is super easy to cut so this didn’t take very long. In the end I didn’t have to use the clamp/guide.
Once cut, I lightly filed the ends of the shaft to get everything nice and level. The Vernier gauge was used to measure the internal diameter of the shaft. The internal diameter of a paddle shaft on a fully assembled paddle is not know until you cut it in half. In this case it was 27mm. I have now ordered the correct sized spigot and the other parts that I need to complete the job.
Total cost to date:
Paddle inc delivery – £40
Tools – already owned
Spigot – £6
Spigot button – £4
Epoxy Glue – £5
Total = £55
In part II I’ll be fixing the spigot, getting the feather set up and drilling some holes.