Claire Blacklock tries out the Rail Runner Tape that protects your stand up paddle board from getting dings in the rail.
Having a brand new board that looks so damn good, makes you a little more protective when it comes to how you treat it. Although I have a blade protector on my paddle the odd dint still gets through when your mind is elsewhere (like watching a seal eating a fish!!)
When I was given the opportunity to try out some Rail Runner Protection Tape from Blue Chip Windsurfing in Surrey I jumped at it, especially when I found out this stuff was almost clear. I had toyed very briefly with the idea of using duck tape but couldn’t bring myself to do it!
The tape itself comes in two thick rolls 814mm x 114mm (enough tape it says for a 12'+ board). The instructions are to the point telling you to cut each roll lengthwise in two. This though simple, is not as easy as it sounds as the tape is so thick. It requires a strong sharp pair of scissors or if you have the kit a metal ruler and Stanley knife might do a better job. Having said all that as long as you put the straight edge of the tape on the deck side of the rails you don’t notice any wibbly lines J
The next stage was to apply it to the rails. This at first was quite difficult. Although the adhesive is strong it took a lot of brute force to actually make it stick and was quite punishing on your hands. It took half way down the first rail to get my brain in gear and realise that the constant rubbing to get it to stick was creating friction which is heat! One trip upstairs to get my trusty hair dryer saved my fingers any more pain. Just applying heat to the tape before trying to stick it to the board meant it smoothed on beautifully with no effort needed. It was quite cold the day we did this so on a warmer day this may well not have been an issue but it’s worth thinking about. I also took time at the end with the hairdryer just to make sure the edges were sealed properly. I didn’t want to have it starting to peel.
The board I was taping is 11’4” so I did have to cut the under part of the tape at the nose end to prevent it going under the rail too much. This worked just fine. I also found that I didn’t need the whole length of the tape and cut it with 15 to 20cm left unused.
One slight worry was that there would be a join in the middle of each side. I needn’t have worried as the tape fits together really snugly and you can barely see the join. The test to this though will be when the board had been on the sand and if any grit gets in. As it stands though you can’t see it and with the extra heat it is totally transparent.
Having now been out with the board a little I can say that any sand that does get in between any tiny gaps washes away without much effort. The Blue Chip website states this tape is translucent. I think with the extra heat from the hairdryer it should be classed as transparent. You wouldn’t know it was on there, a great selling point I think!
Thanks to Brian from Blue Chip for supplying the tape for us to test. You can contact them on : tel : 020 8715 0040