Assistance with paddle selection

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6 years 6 months ago #25255 by Hacker Mike
Greatings from a new member.

I would appreciate some assistance on selecting a paddle. My "storey" is as follows:

I paddled surf ski's and K1's many yrs ago (from around 1980 to 1995), but for various reasons (including health issues) I stopped paddling completely. About 5 weeks ago (at age 52 and after not paddling for 20 odd yrs), I decided to give paddling another go. My objective is to be able to do the odd Dice and get fit enough to enjoy the Millers (and other) down wind runs. I tried to resurrect my old Life Saving surf ski, but that was definately not sea worthy, so ended up in investing in a Fenn Swordfish. My old paddles (219cm Braca 1's) are still in good condition and I have been using those for the last few weeks. My cadence is pretty slow and I am only managing to get the ave boat speed to about 10km/h. I am sure that this is largely due to my lack of fitness, which should (hopefully) improve with time. That said, I have been doing a bit of reading, which suggests that the 219 is way to long for Surfski and hence am looking to get a split paddle. The question now is which?

I have tried the Orka Inner which I found quite "loose" (for lack of a better term) in the water when compared to my existing paddle (which is rock solid from the biggining of the stroke). I haven't been able to try any other paddles.

Any suggestions on what I should look at?

I am based in Cape Town.

M

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6 years 6 months ago #25256 by robin.mousley
I've never used the Orka paddles, so I can't compare them - but I used to paddle a Fenn IV and I have used the Epic mid wing for the last couple of years. To me it feels very planted, it doesn't twist or skid on the water, really easy to use.

So maybe give them a go.

Rob

Currently Fenn Swordfish S, Epic V10 Double.
Previously: Think Evo II, Carbonology Zest, Fenn Swordfish, Epic V10, Fenn Elite, Red7 Surf70 Pro, Epic V10 Sport, Genius Blu, Kayak Centre Zeplin, Fenn Mako6, Custom Kayaks ICON, Brian's Kayaks Molokai, Brian's Kayaks Wedge and several others...

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6 years 6 months ago #25257 by Wiid
From Orka I would recommend the flex. It is a jantex gamma copy AFAIK. I use it along with a superflex. Superflex is nice for big downwinds. But I find it too big for out and back into the wind.

The Flex is a lovely all round paddle I would recommend to anyone.

JohanW

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6 years 6 months ago - 6 years 6 months ago #25276 by AR_convert

Hacker Mike wrote: I have tried the Orka Inner which I found quite "loose" (for lack of a better term) in the water when compared to my existing paddle (which is rock solid from the biggining of the stroke). I haven't been able to try any other paddles.

Any suggestions on what I should look at?


MY own take on paddles now is this.

There is no better or worse paddle shape :ohmy:

Brand loyalty should be about the quality of the product when subjected to wear and tear. Price doesn't necessarily indicate this, I have known $250-$300 paddles to last twice as long as $600 paddles.

What works for one person wont necessarily work for someone else...the reason is...

variables...

in what length we use our paddles
the height from the water we are sitting
the angle at which we place the paddle in the water
are we rotating or using arms to pull
do we bury the blade before pulling back
do we pull the blade down the side of the boat or let it swing wide in the stroke
when do we pull the paddle out of the water

An example is Rob, who finds the Epic paddle "feels very planted, it doesn't twist or skid on the water, really easy to use." while I find I cant grip the water with it....not that it's the paddle, it's just the way Rob and I use them are different.

Even top paddlers I know and train with who don't get sponsored for paddles change every so often when they find a shape that works better, some use one paddle for flat water another sprint, another for downwind etc.

Try as many paddles as you can get your hands on.

Always looking for the next boat :)
Last edit: 6 years 6 months ago by AR_convert.

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6 years 6 months ago #25319 by Hacker Mike
Thank you all for your comments and suggestions.

Subsequent to my original post, I have tried an Orka Bmin and an Orka Flex.

The Bmin is supposedly the same as (or at least very similar to) my Braca I, just slightly smaller. I found this paddle also to be "loose/unplanted" compared to my Braca. I am not sure if the looseness is coming from the shorted shaft than my Braca or from the blade itself?

The Flex I found much more planted and I quite liked the feel. I was however getting a "plop" sound on entry that I was not able to rectify. Is this a technique issue (I have not experienced this with the other paddles I have tried)?

Another question, is there any merit in using a bigger blade with lower cadence? Most, if not all the reading I have been doing suggest that one should be using a smaller blade and getting the cadence up if one wants to get any reasonable pace going. The bigger blade with lower cadence just seems to feel better for me at this stage?

Any input will be appreciated.
Michael

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6 years 6 months ago - 6 years 6 months ago #25324 by Kayaker Greg
I'm not familiar with the paddles you are talking about, however, from the sounds of it you may need to work on your catch, a large paddle can kind of feel better and disguise a poor catch, a smaller paddle demands you have a good catch to get a good purchase on the water. There are also different paddles that require a slightly different catch. For me and my Epic Small Mid I find "spearing the fish" as taught by Oscar works well and I use it early season or for slower paddling but as I get fitter and my cadence and speed get up, then I switch to my Jantex Gamma and Dawids way of "stunning the fish" as taught works better for me. If I try to spear the fish with the Gamma then yes I can get the plop you describe with the Orka Flex, and if its a copy of the Gamma, well there you go.....

So if your using quite a slow cadence but spearing the fish, try a faster cadence (you might need a smaller paddle) and boat speed and try stunning the fish, its actually harder to spear the fish as the cadence increases anyway.
Last edit: 6 years 6 months ago by Kayaker Greg.

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6 years 6 months ago #25327 by Hacker Mike
Thnaks Greg

Apparently the Fles is a Jantex Gamma style paddle.

I will do some research regarding the "spearing the fish" vs "stunning the fish" and see if that helps me with this issue.

Another question. What causes a paddle to snake under the boat on exit?

Apologies for all the questions, but I really like to understand where I am going wrong.

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6 years 6 months ago #25329 by Kayaker Greg
Tracking the paddle too close to the boat can cause that, the wing is made to track away from the boat, paddlers new to using a wing often will feel that the wing wants to track under the boat or pull them over. Remember to track the paddle away from the ski and exit at the hip, not too far back or too close.

Not sure a google search will show much about stunning the fish regarding the catch (not in reference to paddling anyway). It was a term Dawid used when questioned on one of his sessions here in NZ about spearing the fish, Dawid had us doing a drill where rather than spearing the paddle into the water we kind of slapped it into the water slightly, which is more along the lines of what the paddle does when traveling at speed with a high cadence, one of the paddlers broke his paddle doing this drill and I myself was hesitant in doing the drill with the force that Dawid was doing.

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