Kayak Outfitting Idea: Non-Skid Tape to Prevent Jammed Fingers

non-skid tape on a kayak

Last December, I read a blog post on Rouge Wave Adventures about how to performance tune a new sea kayak (the post contained many great tips, so I suggest you check it out). What I really liked about the post is that it suggested a new technique that solved an actual problem that I’ve experienced and you may have also. The technique was installing non-skid tape, such as Land N Sea Vinyl Traction Tape on a sea kayak to prevent jammed fingers.

When getting out of the kayak’s cockpit, you often put your hands behind you and push on the rear deck to lift your rear. Now and then, when the deck is wet (or slippery from a fresh coat of 303 Protectant), your hands slip. Sometimes it’s inconvenient and sometimes it’s especially painful when your hands slide forward and jam your fingers under or against the cockpit coaming. I always thought it would be great if a kayaking company would texturize the gelcoat behind the cockpit, but it never occurred to me that adding non-skid tape could work just as well.

I decided to give it a go with one of my (too many) sea kayaks for the summer to see how I like it. I used 2-inch non-skid tape which I rounded the corners to make it less likely to peel off than leaving square corners (see the picture).  The tape was easy to apply and molded around the compound curves of the day hatch area without any problems.

When trying new techniques such as this one, I like to evaluated the pros and cons before I actually go test it out and then after 30 days of use, I see how it stacked up to what I thought the pros and cons would be.


  • No more jammed fingers


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  • Wear and tear on clothing when demoing and practicing balancing exercises
  • The gray looks terrible

If this works out for me, I plan to replace the gray tape with black and cover more of the cockpit recess just to improve the looks. We’ll see how it goes.



One comment

  • if grey is not your colour, 3M makes a clear tape that blends-in almost invisibly but still offers the non-slip that you desire.
    I use it on my sea kayaks and I stick it on deck where spare paddles usually sit

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