oval vs round paddle shaft?

9 months 3 weeks ago #33017 by sski
I think I will upgrade and get a nice paddle, thinking Epic. But in general, what are the pros and cons of oval vs round shafts?
And now I see the top end ?pro grip? series has thinner round, normal thickness round and ovalized (25.5 mm, 28.5mm and 28.2x 31.7mm).
Pros and cons?
thanks

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9 months 3 weeks ago #33023 by Bill L
Replied by Bill L on topic oval vs round paddle shaft?
My only comment on the round vs. oval shaft is that, with the oval shaft, during/after a remount, my hand can feel whether it is in the correct position relative to the plane of the blade.

The oval shaft combined with a strategically placed wrap of tape on the shaft where your hands are supposed to be positioned means that you never have to look at your paddle/blades to see if they are ready to go.

Bill L

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9 months 3 weeks ago #33024 by SurfskiEstonia
I haven't used a wing with an oval shaft, but whitewater slalom paddles have this and also have an S shaped parts on the shaft. These make doing eskimo rolls 10 times easier.

I personally think it's better to have a round shaft for surfski/K1 paddling, because the blade is the best teacher of how You need to hold the shaft, not the shape of the shaft. When planting the blade in the water, there is a certain geometry that gives the best position for pull. While holding the shaft gently (not squeezing), the best feel comes through the water itself.

Nelo Ocean Ski L, Jantex Gamma Mid, Jantex Gamma Rio Large Minus

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9 months 3 weeks ago #33034 by Fath2o
Replied by Fath2o on topic oval vs round paddle shaft?
I have both round and oval shafts. I am fond of the oval shaft. Just seems more intuitive and less tendency to slip. Fewer swims due to unintended and misplaced blade rotations.

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9 months 3 weeks ago #33037 by robin.mousley
>> I think I will upgrade and get a nice paddle, thinking Epic. But in general, what are the pros and cons of oval vs round shafts?

I've used the Epic mid-wings for years now and until a couple of months ago, I had the standard oval-shaft equipped version.

Then Jasper Mocke showed me the new "pro-grip series" paddle and let me use it for a month. I was skeptical, partly because even with the grips, the shaft is slightly narrower than the old oval shaft and then because it was circular, not oval.

But I was completely won over, after using them for a while. It did take a week or two to become comfortable - the carbon is purposefully slightly rougher for an improved grip and raised blisters at first. And my hands ached a bit too; probably from the tighter grip.

But I find now that I much prefer them:

- I find the narrower grip more comfortable - to the extent that I feel as though I'm making more powerful strokes. (I know that the blades are identical with the old paddles.)
- My hands don't slip. I had a racquet grip for my right hand on the old paddles, but my left hand sometimes slipped.
- My hands tend to stay at the correct spot, whereas I often found my hands straying left or right on the old shaft (at one point I was using rubber rings held in place by tape to guide my hands.
- Nothing to do with the shape of the shaft, but they're using a metal length lock too on these paddles, which is really nice.

Cons?

- Not sure there are any, aside from having to get used to roughness of the grips, and your hands soon get used to them.

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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9 months 2 weeks ago #33050 by owenfromwales
My 2 cents worth:

I've been using both oval and round shafts for for nearly 40 years now and it really just comes down to what you like best. For me, it's a round shaft - for surfski and waveski. I fully agree with Surfski Estonia's comment about letting the paddle find its own position at entry. This is how I paddle these days and it seems to work best for me.

Due to the quality of the paddles I've bought in the past, I do have a bunch of spares about the place, sometimes I take them out for a spin and this is what I've noticed:

Knysna Swing LD. This was my "go to" paddle for about 8 years. It has an ovalized shaft. It's very comfortable (and light), but if I do go long with it, I can feel a blister/callous develops under the middle knuckle of my right middle finger. This I don't get with a round paddle. One other thing about this paddle - the shaft came with a wonderful blue lacquering on it. Whilst this was very pleasing to the eye, and smooth on the hands, many years of heavy use meant that the lacquering was slowly coming off, making it a bit rougher. I recently applied some glossy thin heat wrap and it came up as good and as smooth as new (except shiny black!).

A bratcha 4 type paddle from Robbie Herreveld's Kayak World (about 20 years ago). This paddle was my first round shaft and is great for shorter paddles. The only problem was that the gel coat on the shaft was thin enough to feel the carbon cloth through it. Great for grip, but not so much fun after an hour or two and blisters started to form. Again, a heat shrink wrap worked wonders for hands.

These days I use a Knysna Delta L with a round, glossy naked carbon shaft. It's comfortable and paddling as Surfski Estonia says, leaves me without any blisters after a good three hour paddle. I have the glossy shrink wrap on hand, just in case I need it in a few years time.

With regard to the skinny shafts, I remember Max Paddles and others doing these about 10 or more years ago. They probably make sense for those with smaller hands, and also some bigger handed paddlers like them too. The different diameters really need to be tried to see what feels most comfortable.

One last thought- There was a race report online recently of a guy winning the Great Loch race in Scotland, it's something like a 90-odd km non-stop race. I think he said he used naked carbon for his shafts too and that he suffered very little in the way of blisters. I'm tempted to say he used round shafts, but I could be wrong on that.

Happy paddling,

Owen

189cm 90~100kg
Present skis:
2017 Stellar SEI 2G
1993 Gaisford Spec Ski
1980s Pratt Spec Ski
1980s UK Surf Skis Ocean Razor
Previous
1980s UK Surf Skis Ocean Razor X 3
1987 Kevlar Chalupsky (Hummel) (Welsh copy!)
1988 Kevlar Double Chalupsky
1992 Hammerhead spec
2000 Fenn copy
The following user(s) said Thank You: SurfskiEstonia

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9 months 2 weeks ago #33066 by BustedRudder
I do multi day adventure races, 18-20 hours paddling/per day. I have a round shaft Onno and 4 different Epic paddles, all full carbon.
I find the oval shaft much "safer" in darkness because my hands find the correct placement much faster than a round shaft. This can make a difference in squirrely conditions. I like the diameter of the Epic shaft for long distance events in that I am less prone to blisters with a "fatter" shaft. I thought the Onno, being the lightest of all my paddles would become my go-to paddle but it does not pass the orientation / blistering tests.

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