Once I had the paddles cut out from the CNC, I sanded them to 120 grit, and then water popped them.
Water popping is when you sand down the stock and then spray water on said stock. It does two things.
First, it raises the grain of the wood that you just sanded. Why would you want that? Well, when a liquid touches a freshly sanded wood, it’ll raise the grain, making it less smooth than what you just sanded. If you don’t water pop it, when you apply your finish, be it polyurethane or whatever, it’ll raise the grain, and you cannot sand at that point, without removing the finish.
The second thing? It shows you how awesome your wood is gonna look
This is what my beer flight paddle looked like after I water popped them