Carles Carrera is a fanatic SUP fan and a motorcycle engineer/designer. He also likes to take care of his toys. When he knocked a chip out of one of his new boards he immediately started looking at options, and didn’t like what he saw. The end result is a fine solution for any of us that hate paddle scrapes and rail dings, but don’t want edge guards that screw up our paddles or rail tape that does more damage than it prevents.
Here’s Carles story:
It wasn’t such a big problem with my first Starboard. Some little impacts on the white rails of the Starboard Drive made scrapes, but it was nothing serious. I didn’t like it, but I could live with it. But during my second session on my gloss painted brand new PSH Wide Ripper, a little impact chipped the blue paint on the rail–I was really bummed.
I’m very careful with my toys, especially expensive new ones, and that little white chip drove me crazy. I wanted to find a solution for it. The clash between the sharp blade of a carbon paddle and the painted rail of a Stand Up Paddle board, needed an urgent solution.
My first thought was “improve your paddle technique so you don’t whack the board” but I never touch the board when paddling. It’s those rare, accidental whacks that I’m worried about. And what about novices, learning the ropes on a brand new board?
You could protect the blade of the paddle, as many people do. It’s cheap and effective, but only in terms of protection. But a blade guard affects the hydrodynamics of the blade. The better you get, the more you notice it. Why would people want to pay $300 for a quality paddle designed by and expert, and then cripple the way it works?
Protecting the rail of the board is the better solution. Even simple duct tape doesn’t affect hydrodynamics, because it’s really thin. It’s easy to apply. But its ugly, gets ripped up over time, and when you pull it off the adhesive makes the chips under the tape BIGGER by ripping off paint around them.
I resolved to find a solution. I contacted a technical decals supplier I trust who developed all the decals on every single motorcycle I developed during my experience as a Project Manager at the Piaggio group. They are a top-tier automotive supplier, with high-end technology and cool designers. I explained them the problem, and in a few weeks we had the first prototype to test. We tested it for months, optimized the coverage area, adhesive, impact adsorption, and myriad other details, and now we can proudly say that we have it ready. The first purpose designed edge protector for surfboards.
This is NOT some simple strip of tape. Our edge guard has a lenticular skin that yields high abrasion and extraordinary impact resistance with good ability to adapt to simple curves. The lenticular patterns are an emulation of nature, like a honeycomb, and allows us to minimize thickness while keeping mechanical properties and avoiding hydrodynamic loss. The adhesive we use and the toughness of the film allows for easy repositioning, thus facilitating placement.
And they look fantastic.
Rail Saver PRO comes as 2 pieces of 380 mil. thin, semi-rigid PVC, 6’3″ long, and 2″1/2 wide with cool designs and color combination, that can even be customized for shops, brands, etc … and in the near future will be available customized for every single customer. Rail Saver Pro is equally useful on longboards and windsurfers, whose rails are not subject to paddle whacks, but still get their share of bangs, dings and scraps.
Carles has a website for Rail Saver Pro at: http://www.railsaverpro.com/
All you need to do is look at this product to understand how well it will work. Not only does it prevent impacts and chips, it can cover the ones that are already there, making your board look good again. With the toughness of the material it’s unlikely you’ll need to replace them, but the reposition-able adhesive means you won’t have a nasty job ahead if you do. I learned a long time ago, to my dismay, that just taping the rails of a board leaves you with a bigger mess than you would have had if you’d just bashed away at the unprotected rails. Carles solution costs more than a strip of duct tape, but keeping the rails of your expensive board prefect for the life of the board is certainly worth the cost.
A great product.