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Monday, August 14, 2017

Re-gripping a Paddle

When getting a grip is literal...

I needed to get a grip. I mean I literally needed to get a new grip because mine was worn out. I had re-gripped tennis racquets a long time ago and put over-wraps on pickleball paddles. I am comfortable with doing a re-grip successfully. But conversations with fellow players taught me that others are not as comfortable. Therefore, I decided to show my method here.

First, let's look at the necessary materials.

Yep, that's it. You need your paddle and the new grip. Everything you need to install the new grip is in the package.

There is one exception that I didn't include in the photograph. My handle is shorter than normal so I needed to cut off some of the grip at the top. I used a pair of scissors so have a pair at the ready just in case.

The first step in the process is removal of the old grip. I will show later that the grip is installed from the bottom up by winding it around the handle. The removal process simply reverses the installation process.

There is a piece of tape that wraps around the top of the grip - the green tape on my paddle. This tape's function is to create an unbroken seal over the top edge of the grip to lock the grip solidly in place. The tape typically includes the brand of the grip.

Remove the tape by finding the end and unwrapping it from the handle.

My paddle also had a wrap of plain black tape beneath the green tape. That may not be the case with your paddle. If there is no second tape, the grip may be loose, but that's OK since it is coming off anyhow.

Remove the second tape just as you did the first. (I removed mine carefully and reused it with my new grip.)

The top of the grip should now be exposed. Similar to the tape removal, find the end and unwrap it from the handle.

As you unwrap the grip, note where the grip ends on the handle. This is a good reference point where the new grip should start. Keep that point in mind or mark the spot.

The image also shows a shiny strip winding around the handle. This is a tack strip that pulled off the grip as it was removed. It should also be removed from the handle.

At this point, the old grip and residue should be removed leaving a clean handle, as shown in the image.

Before moving on, prepare the new wrap by removing any coating that may be covering the face and the plastic strip covering the tack strip on the back. Unfortunately, I forgot to take photos of that process.

I also forgot to take a photo of the starting process. Luckily, as I noted above, installation and removal are reverses of the same process, so I can use the removal process photo to also describe installation.

One end of the new grip will be tapered to a square end. That end should be placed at the point marked in the removal process.

While holding that end firmly against the handle, wrap the grip around the bottom edge of the handle. Keep the grip taut while wrapping to avoid wrinkles in the grip.

After sealing the bottom edge of the grip by wrapping the circumference, start to angle the grip toward the top, again keeping it taut to avoid wrinkles. The bottom edge of the unwrapped grip should overlap the top edge of the attached grip.

The tack strip is a good guide to determine where to start the upward angle. The tack strip should not be applied to the lower layer of the grip. It should be applied to the handle. The grip should be wrapped so the tack strip runs parallel to and just above the top edge of the already-attached grip.

Stop wrapping when the handle widens at the top. In my case, I had lots of grip left so I removed the excess by cutting it with scissors perpendicular to the handle.

The tape strip is then used to seal the top by wrapping it around the top edge of the grip. I reused the plain black tape to serve as a primary seal. The tape should overlap the grip and seal it against the handle.

Then I applied the brand tape. In my case, it was decorative since the black tape served the sealing function. In many cases, the brand tape may be the sealing tape as well as decorative.

Finally, the finished product - a new grip installed on an old paddle. I have used it in play and can affirm that the grip is solid.

That is my method - explained in photos. Here is a video from Pro-Lite showing an active installation.

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