One of the better paddle holder’s out there is the Yak Attack Rotogrip. It’s small, effective, durable, and mounts anywhere you have T-Track. The Rotogrip does a great job at keeping your paddle secure when you need a break. The rotating grips keep a firm grip on your paddle that’s still easy to release. Just a quick tug and you’re on your way – no fussing with ropes or bungees.
While the Rotogrip is awesome it’s also rather short. That’s not exactly an issue for everyone, but the geometry of some kayaks and SUPS can cause issues. Paddles may not sit right or can interfere with other accessories. Luckily this problem is quickly solved with just a few parts. In this DIY mod we’ll walk through how to easily add a little extra height to your paddle holder for more streamlined storage.
The parts involved in this build are sufficient to mod between 3-4 rotogrip paddle holders. Most people use between one and two on their setup – so you’ll probably have a few extra. Total costs will run around $30, not including rotogrips.
Plastic rod will provide the support to lengthen your rotogrip. We used 1″ diameter acetyl copolymer rod because of its high density and tensile strength. It also has great UV resistance which is perfect for outdoor applications.
Acetyl copolymer is also commonly referred to as Delrin, however that’s a bit of a misnomer. Delrin is a proprietary acetyl homopolymer created by Dupont Chemicals and is stronger than copolymer variants. It’s also tougher to source,and more expensive. We’re talking about supporting a 2 lb paddle, not a howitzer, so let’s not go crazy on the over-engineering.
A 12″ acetyl copolymer rod in 1″ diameter will provide enough material to make 4 rotogrip extensions provided you’re careful with your cuts. Alternatively a hardwood dowel (oak, mahogany, etc.) will work as well. Just make sure to add a waterproof coating such as polyurethane or spar varnish.
The rotogrip paddle attaches to t-track with a t-bolt. Since your going to be adding a spacer you’ll also need a longer t-bolt. Luckily these are fairly easy to find. Powertec sells 20 packs of t-bolts in lengths varying from 1″ to 3.5″. For this modification 3.5″ long 1/4″20 thread t bolts were used, but you can use any 1/4″ t-bolts of any length. Just make sure they’re at minimum zinc plated to protect against rust. Stainless Steel is preferable, but corrosion isn’t a huge concern since most of the bolt is covered.
Again this is a really simple mod – there are only two steps involved. At a bare minimum you’ll need a saw, a drill, and a drill bit. However the process will be easier if you’ve got access to tools like a bandsaw and drill press.
Cut Spacer To Length
The rotogrip head assembly measures around 1″ in length. And you’ll need around a 1/4″ of space to allow the t-bolt head to slide onto the track. Minus 1.25″ from the length of your t-bolt and mark a line. In our example using a 3.5″ t-bolt we cut each piece of plastic rod to 2.75″ in length. Cut to the right of the line to leave a little bit of extra material for sanding and flattening.
Acetyl copolymer rod cuts very easily with regular woodworking tools. Either a band saw or a fine tooth back saw will work great. Cutting the rod down on a bandsaw is the easiest option. Set your bandsaw stop to the correct distance and hold the rod to a vertical plane. Then roll the rod through the blade to get the straightest cut possible.
After you’ve cut the rode set it vertical and see if there’s any wobble to test for flatness. It doesn’t have to be perfectly flat, but any angle will affect your ability to drill a straight hole. Use a belt sander to carefully flatten the faces. If you don’t have a belt sander then secure a piece of sandpaper and make figure 8s. Once your spacer is reasonably flat on both ends it’s time to drill the hole.
Drill The Hole
This is the most difficult step in the entire process. Drilling a perfectly straight hole over a long distance, such as 2.75″, is not the easiest thing. Luckily even if you don’t get a perfectly straight hole it’s ok. Nobody will notice as long as you’re close to the center.
The first step is to find the center of the rod. There are various gauges and tools to do this, but the easiest way is with a machinist square or right angle of some sort. Use your best judgement to draw two lines, about 1/8″ apart, across the diameter of the face. Rotate the rod 90° and repeat. You now have a small square that surrounds the true center of the rod. Grab a center punch, nail, or any sharp point and mark the center of that tiny square.
Now if you have a drill press that will give the best results, but a hand drill will also suffice. At 2.75″ most drill bits are just long enough to make it all the way through. Use a 1/4″ bit and a lower speed to carefully drill through the rod. After you’re done clean up any rough edges and test for fit.
Slide the T-Bolt through the hole in the rod – there should be just enough clearance that it easily slips in and out. Then assemble with the rubber gasket first, spacer, and top assembly. Test for fit on your kayak’s t-track. Slide the t bolt head onto the t track and rotate the rotogrip to tighten down. If you need more sliding clearance then try cutting or sanding off an extra 1/8″ off the spacer. Be careful not to take too much or the bolt will pop off the upper rubber stopper.
And that’s it; Voila! You’re done! Slide your modified roto-grip on and push in your paddle. Make sure to save the original t bolt also in case you ever want to shorten.
Yak Logic Overview
This handy little mod will make a big difference when it comes to storing your paddle. Just a few extra inches of height can make a noticeable impact. We’ve found our paddle feels more secure. And using two across the cockpit makes grabbing your paddle while standing up a lot easier. Let us know the best ways you’ve used your rotogrip and be sure to share some pictures!
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