© 2010 Adam Johnson How to pack a Whitewater Breakdown Paddle into your kayak

How to Pack a Breakdown Paddle in your kayak (and have it stay there!)

Have you ever wondered how to pack your breakdown paddle in your kayak? Have you ever swam and lost things out of the back of your boat? A breakdown paddle is a costly item ($200+ each), and you don’t want yours to be found on the bottom of the river. This guide will tell you how you can package your breakdown so that when you put it in the back of your boat, it stays there. In the unlikely event it gets loose, this method will enable your breakdown to float on the water’s surface for easy retrieval.

What you’ll need:

  1. Breakdown paddle (obvously). If you are looking into getting a breakdown paddle, go for a 4 piece. It is the easiest to get in the back of the boat. An extra tip: Wildwasser sells a “Take Apart Kit” that can make an old paddle into a breakdown.
  2. Duct tape
  3. Foam. Anything that you can shape will do. Just be sure that you have enough to float your blades and you can attach it with relative ease.
  4. Mesh bag. –Really, this can be any bag that is light and sturdy. Note that it must be able to close and also must have some way to attach it to the boat.

Pretty simple list really. Now, here is how to save yourself from loosing $200…

How it’s done:

1. Get all of the materials together and start to shape the foam. Cut the minicell foam so that it is flat enough to tape to your paddle blades. 1/2″ is probably good. Get one piece for each paddle blade.

Cut some minicell foam so it's flat

Cut some minicell foam so it's flat

2. Now that you have your foam cut up, take the duct tape and attach each piece of foam to each paddle blade.

Make sure you tape it so it'll stay on there in the event of a swim.

Make sure you tape it so it'll stay on there in the event of a swim.

3. If you haven’t done so already, take a sharpie and write your name and number on the paddle blades.

Paddle insurance made simple.

Paddle insurance made simple.

4. Now that you have each blade foam-ified, get some scraps from the foam you cut and tape those to the shafts of the breakdown. Be sure to make it all one united product.

Don't forget to tape foam to the paddle shaft as well.

Don't forget to tape foam to the paddle shaft as well.

5. Now that you have each item ready to go, duct tape all three items together.

Tape the system together. As they say, "If you can't duck it..."

Tape the system together. As they say, "If you can't duck it..."

6. Insert the deal into your mesh bag.

All wrapped up.

All wrapped up. Don't forget to tie the drawstring if applicable.

7. The last thing to remember is to actually tie your paddle into your kayak now that you have gone through this tutorial. That way it’ll stay in there in the event of a swim (and yes, they do come out!). In this case, you have CYA’ed because it’ll still float even if it comes out of the bag.

And that is all she wrote. Not really anything hard to do at all. Many people just duct tape their paddle together and when/if they swim, it sinks straight to the bottom of the river never to be seen again. Even if you have to pull this thing out to use it, you can just stuff the foam and duct tape into the bag and bust out the backup paddle. All in all, not a bad deal.

Got suggestions? Leave them in the comments of this post.

Stay tuned for more updates from the Chilean wonderland…

Adam at the Turbio

-Adam Johnson


  1. Posted February 16, 2010 at 3:12 am | #

    Very useful article! Shot for that mate… ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Posted April 20, 2010 at 4:04 am | #

    Thank you Adam.
    It is very useful for me. And I’ll tell my friends to do that.

One Trackback

  1. […] matches, a lighter, and a throw bag. When not boating familiar rivers, I will usually bring a breakdown paddle. Note that if you don’t know how to tie a munter hitch to belay with, a belay/rappel device […]

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>