Feathering again

11 years 2 months ago #6683 by [email protected]
I was reading about feathering wing paddles. For a wing paddle to be efficient, you need a steep angle. That got me thinking, because as I see it the width of the boat must also play an important part. So if I am in a fenn xt 48.5 cm, then I can forget about a steep angle. Right now I have a feather of 60, more then that and my shoulder starts acting up. Everybody has a wing paddle, but if the angle goes down don't you lose what little there is to be gained by using a wing paddle ? When do you hit the mark where you might as well pick up a ordinary paddle ? Shoulder width must also play a part. In another thread we also had a discussion about seat height. One thing was to get the correct posture, but there was those who said you should get as high as possible. By getting up high you can use a longer paddle which should mean more leverage, but you are also able to use a steeper angle. So maybe that is the explanation for getting up high ?

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11 years 2 months ago #6684 by AndrewN
Replied by AndrewN on topic Re: Feathering again

In my limited opinion:

Anything over 45 degrees angle (seen from the front / behind) will still garner a significant advantage in a wing paddle over a flat blade so it's absolutely worth using a wing even with a wider ski.

60 degrees feather is fine - I paddle at about 45 and it works perfectly well - feels that it is the natural angle to use.

By getting higher you do increse your leverage and the angle of entry (viewed fron fron / back) BUT you lose a large amount of stability. In the sea / any rough water - STABILITY COMES FIRST. It is only the serious elite paddlers that you see with massive amounts of foam to lift them higher - most A grade (just below elite) paddlers will only have 1 layer of foam more for comfort than for height.

Just focus on stability, getting your setup comfortable and efficiency in your paddling stroke and training regime!

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11 years 2 months ago - 11 years 2 months ago #6685 by Kocho
Replied by Kocho on topic Re:Feathering again
I used to use a 60 degree feather on my wing paddle. Then I got interested in using Greenlan style paddles (not on a surf ski obviously) and these are not feathered. I found it difficult to adapt between a non-feathered and highly feathered paddle, so I switched to non-feathered paddling 100%. I don't race often but I do tend to go fast for exercise.

I paddle a racing kayak (Rapier 18), which is about as narrow at the catch (about 40cm at most) as the intermediate skis or some of the more slender beginner skis. I also use a wing paddle in wider kayaks that are about 45-48cm at the catch. The wing always has an advantage over a non-wing for going fast but it does diminish somewhat with increase in boat catch area width. Still, my GPS with heart rate monitor tells me that in any conditions on open water and in any of my kayaks the wing beats any other paddle I have for speed and power (of course, the other paddles have some other uses for which they are better suited, but a surf ski or fast racing kayak paddler would not care for them).

I do not think non-feathering decreases the efficiency of a wing one bit. The only thing it does is that non-feathered paddles do have more wind resistance in upwind conditions and that can be felt quite a bit and is meaningful. If one is racing and never plans to touch a non-feathered paddle, anything close to 60 should be good. Less than that and the effect diminshes somewhat.

With non-feathered paddle (if you have not done it) it takes some getting used to - there is no control hand and everything is symmetrical. There is some rotation of the shaft required relative to the wrist and it is required on both sides. This is a smaller amount compared to using a feathered paddle and there the rotation is on one hand only. Take your pick - same thing IMO.

To sum-up - the advantage of feathering to me comes from the air resistance decrease upwind. I don't believe a non-eathered paddle loses otherwise against a feathered one.

If someone has a good theory to the contrary, let me know why - I'm not that much of an expert myself -;). As to wing vs. non-wing - there is a huge difference regardless of feather angle. To me, the feather angle has nothing to do with how you use the paddle in the water - feathering only affects what you do with the paddle out of the water, so the in-water efficiency is not impacted in any way (at least it should not, if you plant it well and pull it properly).
Last edit: 11 years 2 months ago by Kocho.

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11 years 2 months ago #6686 by Kocho
Replied by Kocho on topic Re:Feathering again
I guess there are two points in the OP - feather angle and paddle angle relative to the water. I only addressed the feather angle, which I think does not have an effect on the in-water performance, only what happens out of the water.

On the second point, I agree that using a wing with a low angle stroke diminishes its efficiency but gains you considerable stability, which with a conventional paddle would come at even greater loss of forward paddling efficiency. Now, if you go lower than 45 degrees (angle to the water), I think a conventional paddle may be a better choice - just pulling a number out of my hat ;)

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