Have you ever used a paddle that makes a clicking noise or rattle during each stroke? After a few miles it could get pretty crazy. We have had questions from people with this issue in the past. It’s pretty simple to prevent and you can repair it many times.
This primarily relates to fixed shaft paddles. Most of the time it is caused by excess epoxy resin when the grip was attached. We know how it goes. You’ve spent a bit of time finding your correct paddle length. Your super excited to get on the water. You carefully measure twice and cut the paddle shaft. Sand, clean and prep the inside of the shaft and grip. Mix your epoxy. Attach the grip and align it perfectly with the blade. Then set it aside to dry. The devil is always in the details and it is this last step that gets many good intentioned paddlers. If you stand your paddle up or even lay it down, excess resin will drip down the inside of the paddle shaft. Think of a long drip running down the inside of the shaft. It then hardens on top of some misplaced carbon dust from the previous prep session. All paddles flex when under load (a paddle stroke) and this resin drip pops off the dusty inside of the paddle shaft. But it is still attached at the top, or origin. This leaves a handy little reed shaped piece of resin that can flap back and forth and hit the inside of the paddle shaft repeatedly.
The fix, just set your paddle upside down when you are waiting for the resin to harden. This keeps the excess resin where it can do some good and reinforce the grip to shaft joint.
If you want to go a step further, you can add a thickening agent to the resin such as colloidal silica, cabosil, etc.
If your paddle is already assembled and driving you nuts, it can be disassembled. Heat will soften and release epoxy. Heat can also easily damage the paddle shaft and grip, so you have to be very careful. We use a heat gun and start on a very low setting. Applying heat all the way around the joint and constantly twisting and testing for movement. You can always make it a bit warmer, but once it is too hot, the damage is done. If in doubt, take it to a paddleboard dealer and ask if they can repair it.
Of course there can be other reasons for a noisy paddle. Loose locking lever mechanisms on adjustable paddles should be kept snug. Carbon fiber acts similar to glass and can crack from cuts or damage to the exterior of the shaft. You should always rinse your stick with fresh water, thoroughly dry and inspect it after each use.