Paddle angle

3 months 4 weeks ago #36352 by Out there living
Hi guys
new to site and new to ski paddling, come from a racing sup background and I’m loving ski paddling.  I’m wanting to make sure I’m gettting my technique right however I’m getting conflicting view from everywhere as to my paddle angle
from new was told to keep at 0 angle however I’m also told I should be on at least 30 degree angle
what is correct and what is the benefit

thanks in advance

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3 months 4 weeks ago #36354 by Scott S
Replied by Scott S on topic Paddle angle
Conflicting is right. Clint Robinson told me 65-75 degrees. Oscar is saying 0 degrees.

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3 months 4 weeks ago #36355 by zachhandler
Replied by zachhandler on topic Paddle angle
If your focus is downwind I would recommend 0 degrees as it is easiest to learn and probably encourages ambidextrous bracing. 

if your focus is flat water there is slight advantage to feathering in terms of wind resistance. I don’t know how much advantage, but I suspect not enough that it makes any difference for most of us, myself included. 

I used 60 for about 15 years and then last year decreased to 45. I think my wrist likes the lower angle a little better. I generally advise beginners to use 0 and stick with 0. 

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3 months 4 weeks ago #36356 by Kayakmaster
Replied by Kayakmaster on topic Paddle angle
Hi
I strongly agree with Oscar. Who woulda thunk that could happen ;-)

In fact I wrote this article on feather angles  http://kayak-master.blogspot.com/2013/05/feather-angle.html  back in 2013. I started paddling in 1980 and had been reducing my feather angle for years until I went to 0 degrees around 2003.

I'm glad to see this topic coming to the fore. There are so many paddlers at all levels whose paddling is hampered by starting wrong. Some of the negative consequences include seriously asymmetrical strokes and leaning the boat to the left. In fact when you get a boat where one paddlers is 'leaning left' and the other is 'leaning right' you'll often find they are both leaning left only to different extents.

Regards
Peter Bailey

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3 months 4 weeks ago - 3 months 4 weeks ago #36357 by mamaru
Replied by mamaru on topic Paddle angle
There are 2 points why I have difficulties understanding 0° feather:

-The forearm of my lower hand is pointing slightly downwards during the stroke on that side.
When I lift that hand up to use the other side, then the forearm is pointing upwards.
NOT MOVING my wrist, the blade on the second side CANNOT possibly enter the water at the same angle as on the first side AT ZERO FEATHER, isn’t it? The paddle NEEDS to be twisted!

-Apart from theory: I am using a Lettmann Speed. With this paddle, the blade is very much selfadjusting in the water, giving a distinctive tug at the catch if positioned the wrong way. With bandaged wrist I adjusted the feather until it entered tugfree both sides and arrived at about 60° (varying a little bit depending whether I go more or less vertical at the catch). I tried 0°, too, but that required far more work and concentration!

I did the same with an old wooden paddle, started at 45° and arrived at about 85°, not LOOKING at the blades, but just FEELING the ease and LISTENING to the sound of the catch. Again I can do 0°, but it does NOT feel good at all.

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3 months 4 weeks ago #36358 by zachhandler
Replied by zachhandler on topic Paddle angle
Maramu my thought is that whatever you are used to feels natural and proper.  To me zero feels horrible, and if I set the shaft loose so it can find its own angle, it will naturally find its way to 45 which is what i am used to. From what i have read using zero does not require zero wrist movement, but symmetric wrist movement on each side. In other words there is no longer a single dominant hand.  Maybe someone who has successfully paddled both ways can comment as I am only passing on hearsay. 

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3 months 4 weeks ago #36360 by Scott S
Replied by Scott S on topic Paddle angle
Paddle design is the reason I was given for 65-75 degrees. When wing paddles were designed  it was for a fixed shaft. All the design smarts was based on a 70 degree feather angle. So to get the most out of an expensive paddle you need to use it as designed or you  just have an expensive stick.

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3 months 4 weeks ago #36364 by ErikE
Replied by ErikE on topic Paddle angle

zachhandler wrote: Maramu my thought is that whatever you are used to feels natural and proper.  To me zero feels horrible, and if I set the shaft loose so it can find its own angle, it will naturally find its way to 45 which is what i am used to. From what i have read using zero does not require zero wrist movement, but symmetric wrist movement on each side. In other words there is no longer a single dominant hand.  Maybe someone who has successfully paddled both ways can comment as I am only passing on hearsay. 


I paddle both with wing paddle (surfski, sprintkayak) and greenland paddle (seakayak).  With the wing I've lately been using about 75 °, while the GP is at 0 °.  And, indeed, with the GP I do twist a little bit back and forth, switching dominant hand between the strokes.

A few years ago I decided to see how small angle I could use with the wing.  Down to 30 ° was fine, but I couldn't paddle with smaller angle than that. It just didn't work. May seem a bit funny given that I have no problems with 0° on the GP, but I think it is because I'm, instinctively, afraid of giving up strict right-hand dominance because I could lose track of the angle of the paddle relative to my grip.  That is less of an issue with the GP, which have a more rectangular shaft profile, which makes it easier to feel how I'm gripping it.

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3 months 4 weeks ago #36366 by waverider
Replied by waverider on topic Paddle angle
With 30 degrees I find I dont have a control hand and my wrist is perpendicular to the shaft (no wrist cocking) on either side on placing catch and I dont have to twist/ rotate shaft in either hand. This results in same hand action either side which improves stroke symmetry and also less strain on my thumbs, which have a small degree of arthritis. I use a combination of open palm on top hand and claw grip on lower hand, rather than full solid grips.

A lot depends on your paddling style and degree of rotation as to which is ergonomically best.

Problem with going zero is that if you try borrowing another paddle it will most likely have some degree of feather and you may have issues adapting. Benefits for zero on a surfski when skim bracing is obvious, but for other types of paddling eg K1 skim bracing is not part of normal technique so no advantage there.

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3 months 3 weeks ago #36374 by Tinus
Replied by Tinus on topic Paddle angle

mamaru wrote: There are 2 points why I have difficulties understanding 0° feather:

-The forearm of my lower hand is pointing slightly downwards during the stroke on that side.
When I lift that hand up to use the other side, then the forearm is pointing upwards.
NOT MOVING my wrist, the blade on the second side CANNOT possibly enter the water at the same angle as on the first side AT ZERO FEATHER, isn’t it? The paddle NEEDS to be twisted!


That is not true. With 0 feather hold the paddle in one hand and put the blade on on the floor on your left. If you now turn your arm and rotate so the other blade touches the floor on your right, the blade will be in the exact same position on the other side without rotation of the shaft. You just think there is rotation needed because you are used to it. To you no rotation probably feels like you are doing something more than you do usually. Either that or you have to check the degree indicator on your paddel, maybe 0 degrees isn't really 0 :)

Nelo 560, Stellar SEI, Roman Furius

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3 months 3 weeks ago #36378 by MCImes
Replied by MCImes on topic Paddle angle
From day 1 of wing paddling I did the "paddle in the air and adjust feather until both blades entered correctly with no wrist movement" and I settled at around 37°.

I also do not understand how 0° works, as my wrist is not in the same orientation when its in the low vs high position.

If you paddle with a very low angle stroke, I can see how 0* works, because at a low angle your wrists are indeed in the same orientation on each side. But, if your paddles enters between vertical and 45* (a medium or high angle stroke) your top wrist is inherrently mis-clocked on one side because you have to reach across your body to get the higher angle which creates rotation of the shaft which requires feather to counteract on the off-side blade.

I've tried from 0-60* feather, and my initial ~37 just feels right. I think lower angle strokes pair better with lower feather, as well as the opposite. In the end, do what feels natural to you!

Currently - Swordfish S in Southern California's ocean waters
Past Boats: Epic V10 g0, Stellar SR g1, Fenn XT g1
"When you've done something right, they wont know you've done anything at all"
The following user(s) said Thank You: agooding2

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3 months 3 weeks ago #36388 by waverider
Replied by waverider on topic Paddle angle
I agree low angle paddlers handle low feathers better (Oscar is a low angle paddler), K1 / flatwater paddling is more conducive to high and as there is more lateral stability so most flatwater paddlers tend to go for high feather. Advantages for easy back of blade skim bracing is not relevent to flatwater paddling either so thats no incentive for zero feathering on that point.

I think the degree of torso rotation also affects what feather is more suitable for a particular paddler. The more rotation the less cocking of the upper hand when on zero feather as the chest is ideally parallel to the shaft and wrist more behind the head rather than to side. If you watch Oscars "penguin paddle" drill to ensure rotation  matches shaft orientation you will see little to no wrist/shaft rotation to make that catch even at zero feather. Most people dont manage this idealistic rotational lock so some degree of feather feels better. Test this by assuming set up position and move from zero torso rotation through to extreme rotation while holding paddle (with zero feather) in the same position. The upper wrist will start to "uncock"

It is an individual thing. The theoretical ideal feather is of no use to you if you dont paddle with theoretical ideal style. As your technique changes then often it is worth experimenting with changing feather to suit. I do think technique should dictate feather, rather than adapting technique to suit a predetermined feather.

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3 months 3 weeks ago #36392 by mrcharly
Replied by mrcharly on topic Paddle angle
It really does depend on your stroke style.

I paddle K1, with a high paddle angle. I've been reducing my feather judging by feel. For my paddle, for my style, a bit under 600 works. Clean catch, no strain on one wrist over another. Also, very importantly, I have a clean exit.

If it were about wind catching the paddle, K1 racers would use 00 feather. A strong gust hitting the top blade from the side is hard to cope with when you are in a stab1 boat.

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3 months 3 weeks ago #36395 by sarzelopez
Replied by sarzelopez on topic Paddle angle
It depends on how vertical you paddle and how much flexion can your wrist tolerate for a long time. From a wrist-comfort standpoint you can check it by:

1. Take an air stroke on your control side.
2. On the exit phase your wrist will flex. PAUSE
3. Either close your eyes or look directly at your hand (stroke side) DO NOT look at the blade on your non-control side.
4. "Un-flex" your wrist to neutral.
5. Open your eyes and look and the blade that is in front of you. 

Your feather angle should be the one at which when unflexing your wrist your non-control blade is at the angle you want it to enter the water. 


In my case I use 37.5°, when I unwind my wrist my blade is at the right position. If I use 0° putting my wrist in neutral would put my blade too parallel to the water so if I left it at 0° I would have to keep my wirst slightly flexed during my left stroke. Its not the end of the world as i paddled with a fixed 0° for years but using what my wrist says is the right angle definitely feels more natural.

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3 months 3 weeks ago #36398 by feeny
Replied by feeny on topic Paddle angle
 Replied by  feeny  on topic  Chalupsky´s paddling technique I started on 60 degree right feather because, well, that's what the first person who handed me a split-shaft paddle told me to do.

I paddled this way for a few years. Then I went to an Oscar clinic, getting sold on the idea that less is more, and that one less thing to go wrong in my paddle stroke is progress. So, I also dropped down to 0 and paddled there for a year or so. It took some time to get right and it absolutely, definitely helped me brace more effectively on the right side.

After a year or so, I started to experiment moving feather around and discovered that I can pretty naturally switch angles between 0-60 without issue. I have been unable to discern any meaningful difference between 0 - 60 in terms of my performance, though extreme moves in feather do take a few sessions to "settle in". Now that I have my right brace down pat it's pretty intuitive to do so when back at 45, which is where I ended up, for no good reason at all, other than it's a nice number half way between 0 and 90.
I was given some feedback that at 0 there is actually a small movement to rotate the paddle into the correct position at the catch on both sides. I think this might be true, even though I barely notice it. However, it feels to me that at 45 right there is only a movement on the right hand (left blade catch), with the left hand (right blade catch) slicing straight into the water without any top hand movement at all.

I figured limiting the movement to one hand, even if it is a larger movement than at 0, is still only a movement in one hand, compared to a movement in two hands, which I am hoping might lead to greater consistency with time.

Maybe I'll try 37 :-)

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