Wing stroke with a Euro blade?

3 months 2 weeks ago #37895 by jsapan
It was recently suggested to me that using a wing stroke with a Euro blade will be more efficient that a "normal" stroke.  

Anyone with thoughts or insight about this?

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3 months 2 weeks ago - 3 months 2 weeks ago #37897 by Arcturus
After I had gotten intro lessons on a surf ski but before I received the one I bought, I experimented with this.

Bear in mind two things:
1.  I had next to no experience actually paddling with wing paddles (three times).
2.  Euro blade shapes vary within that category; they are not all the same design.

Caveats aside, I found that trying to strictly emulate wing stroke with Euro didn’t work as well as modifying my usual stroke did. I adjusted blade plant to something in between the two, mainly. It did result in better avg speed without any problems. But if you actually own a ski and are hoping to save money by not buying a wing paddle, I think it’s a little silly. It’d save more money to buy a wing paddle and not buy the ski. The first time I ever tried a wing paddle, it was from someone loaning me the paddle plus a rotomold sea kayak. The wing paddle alone, with a suggestion to let it guide me (“don’t fight it”) resulted in almost an immediate jump in speed.

Best that you do your own experimentation! 

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3 months 2 weeks ago #37898 by M.v.E.
For me there is not a big difference between a Wing Paddle stroke and a Euro paddle stroke. It´s all about an efficient forward srtoke which means that you use the bigger muscles of the legs and the torso. For holidays I go on seakayaking trips with my tandem Folding kayak. Then I prefer the Euro blade mainly because the Wing is simply not long enough 
(230 cm) to allow an efficient stroke with such a wide boat and even if it would be long enough I guess such a long Wing paddle would tire me out in a heavily ladden folding kayak. Nevertheless the fundamentals of the paddle technique are the same with the Euro blade. What I noticed over the years is that the Wing paddle in combination with the surfski really helped me to improve my forward stroke.

Current Ski: Nelo 550 L
Previous Skis: Stellar SR 1. Gen. / Stellar SEI 1. Gen. / Stellar SR 2. Gen.

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3 months 2 weeks ago #37899 by Arcturus
My Euro paddle is 200cm long and my wing is 205cm. My sea kayak was 19.6” beam and the ski 20.4”. Both 17’ long.  Both singles, unloaded.

Again, the many differences in compared equipment are a factor, so you need to do your own experimentation. Also, to match what the OP seems to be asking, the comparison that should be made is of his existing boat with existing
euro paddle, but trying different paddling technique.

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3 months 2 weeks ago #37901 by Epicpaddler
A solid forward stroke, regardless of it's a Greenland paddle, wing paddle, or Euro blade uses large muscle groups and good rotation. The majority of folks who paddle with a wing paddle are doing it for speed and efficiency. Most Euro blade paddlers are just out for fun. The "catch" on a wing paddle feels much different than a Euro blade, and proper rotation and leg drive  makes a huge difference. I don't think using a wing paddle stroke with a Euro blade would be detrimental  in any way. 
The following user(s) said Thank You: jsapan

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3 months 2 weeks ago - 3 months 2 weeks ago #37903 by jsapan
My question was more a philosophical one...  I know the wing paddle will more or less force a stroke where the blade moves laterally away from the boat and that hydrodynamic lift generated from this motion makes the stroke more efficient overall.  I'm wondering if, all things being equal, this is is also true for a Euro blade...  I have both a wing paddle and a Euro paddle, so it's really just curiosity.

Actually, now that you mention it, I have one Euro paddle that seems to lend itself more readily to a wing-like stroke (an Onno mid tour) and another (Werner Cyprus) that doesn't seem to lock into that stroke as much.

The other suggestion I was given -- and it seems to work quite well, particularly with the Cyprus, is aggressively popping  the blade out the water at the hips instead having a gentler follow-through.  But maybe that's just because I'm getting the blade out when I should.  I seem to tend to want to pull the blades well past my hips when paddling and only recently learned that's not the best use of energy.

(Incidentally, I paddle an Epic 16X.  No immediate plans to go the ski route, but I like to experiment with knees-up paddling and the wing paddle.  Much of the discussion here seems transferable).

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3 months 2 weeks ago #37904 by zachhandler
My 2 cents based on things I have read over the years as well as my own thinking about the paddle stroke:

Use the wing stroke. The wing stroke was actually developed before wing paddles were invented. Paddlers figured out that by letting the blade move sideways (even old wooden euro blades) they went faster. This is because of two causes. First, the “wing” stroke allows involvement of larger muscles of the body more effectively. Second, if the blade is slicing sideways it is always moving into unmoving still water, as opposed to remaining next to the boat, where the water is already in backwards movement (and in turbulent eddies) as a result of the portion of the paddle stroke that has already occurred. These benefits outweigh the downside of the wing stroke which is that it introduces greater yawing force. If you look at old olympic footage from late through from the 70s through the late 80s you can see this evolution in euro blade technique. The wing blade was developed as a way to take advantage of the wing stroke that paddlers had already adopted, rather than the other way around. 

Regarding the wing blade itself I am sure there is some benefit from the wing shape via the bernouli effect, but I feel that it is a secondary effect and that any energy expended actively moving the blade sideways would have been better spent pushing the blade down or back. The blade passively moves sideways as a consequence of the shape of the blade and the shape of the body as it moves through its most powerful arc . For most of us, and especially rough water paddlers, I think the larger benefit of a wing blade comes from the stability it offers. The stability is a product of the lip on the outer edge that forces all water to slide off the inner edge. That is a stable system. In a euroblade water slides off both edges in an unstable manner causing paddle wobble. 

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3 months 2 weeks ago #37911 by waverider
A flat blade going out wide will tend to slice and spill water on the inside edge. So its not as easy to do it efficiently.

A euro blade is the best tool for incorporating course correction including sweep, keyholes, and pries. It doesnt have the same dangers of pulling you in or inefficiencies if exiting late, so the need to get it out as quick is not essential, just as long as you pull it out on edge. Thus you can incorporate the correcting as it becomes a trailing rudder.

In short different tool for a different job. For straight ahead paddling wing is better, for versatility euro is better, The best use of a wing stroke start close and draw wide really needs a narrow beam boat, it is less efficient to do that with a wide beam as you are starting wide in the first place. If you have a decent rudder then just using a wing and wing strokes is most efficient as its not used for manoeuvring

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