Q. When I’m kayaking, my paddle is always slipping through my hands. Can you help me?
— Slippery Trey, Covington, Va.
A. As an avid kayaker, I’ve experienced the exact same problem myself. There are a couple things that could be going on here. Lots of different stuff can make the shaft of your paddle slippery, including mud, sunscreen, even grease from your hair. So, your first task is to give the shaft of your paddle a really good cleaning. Do this with water, a tiny bit of dishsoap and a rough sponge.
Once the paddle is free of slippery stuff, make sure your hands are clean before you paddle. I don’t mean wash-your-hands-before-dinner clean. Just make sure there’s no mud or sunscreen on your hands. Every time before paddling, I reach down into the riverbed and grab a handful of pebbles or gritty sand and wash my hands with that. It totally works.
If your paddle is still slipping, you might try rubbing a small amount of wax on the shaft where you grip it. Mr. Zogs Paddle Wax ($1.75; www.nrsweb.com) works fine. Hope that helps!