At the end of a full-day of paddling, you load your car, put away your vest and rescue gear. You get ready to put away your paddle, but after you push the spring-lock button, the paddle won’t split apart. It’s stuck. Likely, a barely-noticeable, fine sand found its way into the connection before you joined the parts together. With luck on your side, the paddle comes apart when you tug on one end and a friend tugs on the other. On a normal day, it feels like someone super-glued the paddle together. When it feels like glue keeps your kayak paddle stuck together, break out the hair dryer and a little patience to get it apart.
Unstick a Stuck Paddle
Before you attempt to unstick a kayak paddle, determine what type of connection you have. Most paddles feature a locking ferrule system that slides together and when unlocked twists to change the feather angle, but some paddles, such as Werner Paddles, feature an internal gear system. If your paddle doesn’t have an internal gear system, you can attempt to twist the paddle while pulling on each end. Have a friend hold one end, you hold the other while pushing the spring-lock button. Twist and pull. This might work. If it doesn’t or if your paddle uses an internal gear system, get out the hair dryer.
Kayak Paddle Stuck Together? Get the Hair Dryer
Some paddles just won’t come apart. Pulling harder won’t budge them. At that point, loosening the joint helps. Because things expand when heated, you heat the joint just enough to expand the female side while keeping the male side cool. It’s important to heat the correct side of the paddle. Heat up the side that has the lock or spring-lock button on it, and heat up a distance that’s at least as long as the male end of the ferrule. See the picture (click it for a larger view).
On the first go, heat the paddle with a hair dryer for about a minute. Spin the paddle to evenly heat everything. After a minute, attempt to pull it apart. If that doesn’t work, try heating it for another minute, and then another. If it’s still stuck, wait for it to cool down. Then, try again.
So, your kayak paddle stuck together. You used a hair dryer. It came apart. Now what? Don’t put it back together until you rinse it off. If you rinse in off on the beach, you risk suspended sand penetrating the joint again. Use water from a tap or your water bottle to wash the sand off the male side of the ferrule and out of the female side. Let it dry, then run your hand along both sides of the joint to check for sand. If it feels gritty, wash it again. Next time you put the paddle together, don’t rinse it in water from the beach and don’t drop the ends in the sand before putting it together. If you do, wash it with drinking water before joining the two sides.