The Blade Runner paddle protector is a length of flexible extruded plastic that sits over the edge of your paddle and prevents it, in theory, from chipping the side of your board. I have used a paddle without a blade protector for a year now and the rails of my beloved GONG are starting to look a little battered. So when I bought my brand new board for the 2009 season I decided that I would put on a blade runner to protect it.
A quick call to Simon at 2XS.co.uk secured the Blade Runner and I was all ready to go. I have previously used and tested the Surf Co Hawaii paddle guard kit so I was interested to compare the two. The first thing I noticed was that the Blade Runner is significantly slimmer than the Surf Co products, the second thing was that there was no need to apply super glue to the plastic. Both protector kits have a pressure sensitive glue on the inner fold of the extruded PVC, but with the Blade Runner all you are required to do is press the extrude onto the edge of the blade and, after it is all secure, leave it for about 12 hours for the glue to cure.
With that in mind I got to work. Being honest, the Surf Co kit was a bugger to install as the PVC extrude was very stiff and quite difficult to work with, you had to be fairly rapid putting it on, especially with super glue, a great finished product, but hard work to get right. I carefully read the instructions on the Blade Runner and it mentioned if conditions were cold you can soak the PVC in warm water to loosen it off. I did'nt do that, but the sun was shining so I left it out in the sun to warm through. In the mean time I used some surf wax remover to clean up the blades ready for the protector.
After about 10 minutes it was ready to go and I started to push the PVC onto the blade edge.....and it was very easy, so far I was impressed. I went all the way around the blade and back up the otherside in about 3 minutes, I then trimmed off the excess PVC and I secured the top with tape. I was on a bit of a roll so I decided to put the blade runner on my other paddle as well, once again a quick and easy job.
Does it work ? Well I have the perfect set up to test it - a brand new board. So far I have no cracks or dings on the rails and I have been out for two sessions. I have three black scuff marks, which I assume is where the Blade Runner has done its stuff and stopped the blade edge from cracking the board rail. For me this product, so far, is better than the Surf Co Hawaii one. The reasons are: its easier to install, it is not as big and therefore bulky on the paddle and it is cheaper. I will keep testing it and see if, in the long run, it can protect the board as well as the Surf Co Hawaii one (which uses thicker PVC). Retailing at £12.99 it is a good buy, especially if you have just spent £800 on a stand up paddle board !
It is made by The SUP Board Store, tel : 44 (0) 20 8715 0040.