"The varnish at the tips and a few other places blistered and peeled looking like sunburnt skin."
Did you use Varathane water-based varnish? Because that is exactly what has happened to me and two friends of mine. It turns soft and kind of milky white in the water and blisters (just like skin blisters). It is junk. Any other spar varnish will do.
Heel and Pegpads™
Touring Kayak Paddles
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