Applying Rail Tape to a SUP

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VIDEO - Tutorial

Rail Tape

Rail tape is recommended for rail protection on any new SUP.  Paddle strikes are unavoidable and can easily chip an epoxy or carbon composite rail.

In this example we will be taping the rails of a brand new IMAGINE ICON XT.  The ICON is a performance SUP so we will use quite a thin tape.

Place the board in a position that allowes you to work on the rail.  You could lean it against your couch or put it in a hoist like we have here.

Step 1. - You will need.

For this exercise you will need five items.

  • Rail tape
  • Masking tape
  • Clean dry cloth
  • Old credit card
  • Razor blade

Step 2. - Primer.

A primer activates the board surface ensuring a good bond with the tape adhesive.  Make sure that your rails are clean and free of dust.  Using a clean dry cloth rub some of the primer on a small section of unobtrusive art work.  If it the artwork smudges apply the tape without the primer. 

Once the primer has been applied wait 5 - 15 minutes for it to dry.

Step 3. - Position the tape.

Use some masking tape to tape the rail tape into the preferred position.  Rail tape is generally applied slightly back from the nose on the front two thirds of the board.  This is the zone where most paddle strikes occur.  The tape should also cover the most proud part of the rail and not run onto the bottom deck.

Step 4. - Remove release liner

Remove the first few inches of the release liner from the rail tape.  Stick the middle of the tape onto the rail first.  Smooth the tape onto the rail from the middle outwards towards the edges.  The idea is to minimize the opportunity for bubbles to form.

Slowly remove move of the liner as you apply the adhesive tape working form the middle outwards.  Take care not to expose too much of the adhesive at once as the tape will become difficult to handle.  2 - 3 inches at a time should be manageable.

Peel back the liner.

Remove bubbles with the card.

Step 5. - Remove bubbles.

If you work at a steady pace and don't rush attaching the tape there shouldn't be too many bubbles.  Some times bubbles are unavoidable but they can easily be removed.

Use a razor blade or pin to make a small hole in the tape directly above the air bubble.  Use the card to work the air out from the sides of the bubble towards the hole.

Step 6. - Check your work.

Continue working backwards until you have reached the end of the tape.  Once all the liner has been removed and the tape applied check your work and remove some of the bigger bubbles if there are any.

When you are happy that your tape has been applied to your standard flip the board over and do the other side.  Wait 1 hour before taking your board into the water.

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