How To Keep a Kayak Paddle From Dripping (8 Tips)

If you love to kayak, you know that staying dry is important to your overall comfort. You want to get in touch with nature without having to worry about wetness and cold. One of the leading causes of this wetness is paddle dripping, and it is crucial to learn how to keep your kayak paddle from dripping so you stay dry and comfortable.

Here are 8 tips to keep your kayak paddle from dripping:

  1. Install drip rings on your paddles.
  2. Use or spray a hydrophobic coating.
  3. Apply paddle wax.
  4. Install premier kayak paddle splash guards.
  5. Limit the extent of the paddle in the water.
  6. Use a low paddle stroke.
  7. Use a duct tape hack.
  8. Use a longer paddle.

This article will explain what paddle dripping is and provide some valuable tips on minimizing it to optimize your comfort during your next adventure. I will also discuss why it is essential to reduce paddle drip plus offer some suggestions on keeping dry during kayaking.

If you are kickstarting your kayaking journey, I recommend you keep reading.

kayak and paddle: How To Keep a Kayak Paddle From Dripping

1. Install Drip Rings on Your Paddles

Drip rings like these easy-to-install CLIO Rubber Kayak Paddle Drip Rings from Amazon.com are great for keeping you dry. The cupped rubber rings are designed to prevent water from running down the paddle, getting onto your body, and making you or the various items in your kayak wet.  

Paddle drip increases when you have a high paddle stroke. The drip rings will prevent the water from running down the shaft as much as possible. For best results, ensure to place the paddle drip rings correctly. 

Accordingly, you want to avoid having these rings at the end of your blade. Instead, place them about 6 to 8 inches (15.24 to 20.32 cm) from the point where the blade and shaft meet. This may vary from person to person, but a general rule of thumb is not to place them too close to the blade.

Paddle drip rings are easy to install. Just use your hands to place them on the paddle, and adjust them until you find the perfect position suitable for you.

2. Use or Spray a Hydrophobic Coating

Hydrophobic sprays repel water and thus help to mitigate paddle drip. They are available in several options and I will discuss some of them below:

NeverWet Spray Kit

NeverWet Hydrophobic Spray (Amazon) is a product that creates a water-repelling barrier on any surface you apply it to. It can be used on most surfaces, including PVC and plastic surfaces, making it a worthy consideration when trying to minimize paddle drip. 

Initial experiments with the product have shown that it can prevent drip from your Kayak paddles. Also, it is pretty simple and straightforward to apply on your paddle. However, some of the reviews about this spray highlight that it wears off after some time, which means that it might only be an ideal option when going for short paddles.

For instance, some experiments indicate that the spray begins to wear off after several hours. This is due to the film deteriorating over time owing to the high friction between the surface and the water.

It is, however, worth a try for short kayak rides.

Ultra-Ever Dry Coat

This is a kind of coating with both oleophobic and hydrophobic properties. The nano-technology coating will adhere to the paddle surface and keep it dry during your kayak ride. You can check out how it works in this YouTube video:

For best results, it is advisable to use both the bottom and top layer coats to repel moisture and protect your paddles against moisture-related damage or wear and tear. 

This coating features xylene as one of its main components, creating a thin layer on the surface once sprayed.

Because of the xylene ingredient, the Ultra-Ever Dry coating causes water to form into round beads upon contact with the paddle. These round beads easily roll off the paddle’s surface, leaving it dry. Consequently, it prevents water from forming or running down the paddles.

3. Apply Paddle Wax

You can also reduce paddle drip by waxing your blades. According to Yakman Ont, rubbing some paraffin wax on your paddles can help reduce paddle drip. You can check this out in this video: 

Unlike most water repellant sprays, wax has the added advantage of shedding water faster and lasting longer. It does this without causing discoloration, making it an ideal option if you plan to kayak for several hours.

Wax has broad applications across numerous industries due to its water-repelling properties. Paraffin wax creates a seal against moisture adherence to the surface, which effectively prevents water damage and acts as a hydrophobe.

For best results, dry your paddles properly before applying the wax. Next, rub the paraffin wax on the entire surface of your paddle blades, ensuring that you do not miss a spot. You can rub off the excess wax using a clean, dry towel.

4. Install Premier Kayak Paddle Splash Guards

Splash guards like Premier Kayak Paddle Splash Guards from Amazon.com are an alternative to drip rings and can work more effectively in some instances. This is especially so if you have a high upstroke.

One of splash guards’ critical features is that they hold water during the upstroke to keep it from dripping down your arms. Their cone shape helps with this. At the same time, they release the water back to the lake during the downstroke.

These splash guards are also ideal if you use single-piece paddles which do not fit standard drip rings. Made from neoprene rubber, these guards provide a snug fit on your paddle, ensuring that they stay in place while keeping seepage at bay.

Wrap these splash guards around the paddle shaft for easy installation. Additionally, you can fasten them to meet your preferences using a Velcro fastener.

5. Limit the Extent of the Paddle in the Water

As we’ve seen so far, there are various coatings, sprays, and accessories you can place on your paddle to minimize paddle drip. However, sometimes the solution to keeping your paddle from dripping lies in having the correct mechanics.

As explained in the below video, most of the paddle drip occurs because some kayakers place a large part of the blade into the water. This causes the water to run down the shaft. 

Accordingly, if you put too much of the blade and part of the shaft inside the water, you will inevitably have more paddle drip. This is because there is no other way for the water to get off the paddle. Therefore, you should only use the part of the blade needed to paddle.

I recommend taking a paddling class to learn which blade section needs to be in the water. You may be surprised to learn that you have been doing it all wrong. If you minimize the extent of the paddle in the water and only use the correct blade length to paddle, you should be able to keep the paddle drip to a minimum.

Woman kayaking: How to stop kayak paddle from dripping

6. Use a Low Paddle Stroke

Still on mechanics, your paddle stroke will impact the amount of drip. As explained in the video above, when your blade gets above your shoulder during high paddle strokes, you are likely to get wet. This occurs as a result of using a high paddle stroke as opposed to a low one.

The high paddle stroke is popular among kayak fishermen, but this does not mean that it will work for you. Instead, I recommend using a low paddle stroke to minimize paddle drip. Remember, a low paddle stroke will work very well in tandem with either drip rings or drip guards.

However, with a high paddle stroke, you may still get a significant amount of paddle drip even with drip rings or guards installed. This is due to the large amount of water on the paddle and the extent of motion.

7. Use a Duct Tape Hack

If you are hesitant or unwilling to spend money on a coating or spray product for your paddles, don’t despair. The good news is that you can minimize paddle drip with a simple duct tape hack that will cost you virtually nothing. 

All you need is some duct tape and a minimal amount of it at that. As explained by Kayak Hacks Fishing in this video, you can cut a piece of duct tape and place it towards the end of the paddle blade.

As you paddle, the water running down the blade attaches to the tape and then falls off, preventing it from reaching the shaft. 

This works well, especially if you have a low paddle stroke. However, because it is highly likely that the water can still get on the shaft, you will be better served by using this hack with paddle rings. Additionally, you may want to add a hydrophobic spray or coating between the blade and the paddle ring for optimal results.

8. Use a Longer Kayak Paddle

The length of your paddle may impact your paddle stroke and your mechanics. For instance, you will likely adopt a higher paddle stroke angle when using a shorter paddle than a longer one, which will inadvertently increase paddle drip.

Using longer paddles makes it easier to adopt a lower angle paddle stroke, which will, in turn, minimize the amount of paddle drip. You can also install paddle rings or guards to prevent any water from dripping on your body or the deck.

Use a Longer Kayak Paddle to stop dripping

What Is a Paddle Drip?

Paddle drip occurs when water adheres to your paddles, drips down on your arms and on to your body during paddling. The water sticks to the paddle blades and runs down your arms or splashes on your lap.

Various factors influence the amount of paddle drip, including your kayaking approach and the choice of paddles However, you will generally experience some wetness due to paddle drip even if you are an avid kayaker. 

While this is not a problem on most hot days, it can be an issue during cold or windy days because the wetness can make you cold and even sick.

In the next section, I will explain the dangers of paddle drip, highlighting why it is important to minimize this dripping as much as possible.

Why Is It Important To Minimize Paddle Drip?

Minimizing paddle drip is important since it causes wetness which makes you susceptible to cold-related diseases and hypothermia. On the same breadth, paddle drip may damage the supplies you have onboard if it accumulates on your deck or cockpit. 

Minimizing paddle drip is as much about health and safety as it is about optimizing your comfort during kayaking. To this end, you want to keep dry as you kayak. Furthermore, having to brave wet clothes and a wet environment in your cockpit could undermine your comfort and overall health.

Also, the accumulated water may damage your supplies. For instance, if you have snacks, food, water, or electronics (such as a camera to take pictures or your phone) onboard your kayak, the accumulated water might destroy these supplies. 

Whether you want to minimize paddle drip for your comfort, health reasons, or as a matter of convenience, the options covered in the next section are helpful. They provide some useful tricks for minimizing paddle drip and making your trip more enjoyable.

Young woman kayaking: Why Is It Important To Minimize Paddle Drip

Tips To Stay Dry During Kayaking

Even after applying the strategies above, it is still possible to get wet during your kayaking journey, particularly during cold winds. Apart from paddle drip, splashes or rain may still cause additional wetness. Therefore, knowing some of these tips could save you a great deal of discomfort.

  • Dry Suit: It is essential to invest in a dry suit or a dry skirt to protect yourself against splashes and paddle drip. This suit will help to keep you dry all through. 
  • Waterproof clothing and shoes: Getting some waterproof clothing and gear for your kayaking ride is definitely a good idea if you want to stay dry. Since this gear resists moisture, you will be more at ease.
  • Install a kayak booster seat: A kayak booster sit lifts you from the deck, providing extra cushioning and keeping you dry should some water get on the deck.

How To Keep a Kayak Paddle From Dripping – Key Takeaways

Kayaking should be a fun and exciting experience for you. Therefore, it’s important to limit any discomfort resulting from paddle drip. In order to keep dry and comfortable during your kayaking ride, these tips will do the trick:

  • Accessorize your paddles with either paddle rings or guards.
  • Coat your paddles with a hydrophobic spray, seal, or coating.
  • Work on improving your paddling mechanics.
  • Apply some handy hacks such as duct tape for an inexpensive solution.
  • Invest in the right equipment and protective gear.

WaterCraft 101

We're a small group of water loving enthusiasts who enjoy sharing our passion for getting out on the water and having a good ol' time!

Recent Posts