Paddle selection for a keen newcomer

2 months 1 week ago #34451 by cooldollar
Hey Gang.
I am just about to dip a toe in the water .....literally. I have decided on a used EPIC V8 Pro as my weapon of choice.
Now I need a propulsion device ? Several people have suggested an EPIC Mid Wing Club paddle. ($450 AU) Obviously I don't know s**t from clay. I am assuming there is not TOO much difference in wing paddles apart from the size of the blade section.
I am 182 cm. and like to think of myself as reasonably fit and flexible. 80% of my future paddling will be in flat water I would think due to my residential location. If you don't know how to paddle old mate Oscar says "zero feather" so I guess that is where I will start. I do intend to have some coaching early on in the journey.
Cheers and thanks in advance.

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2 months 1 week ago #34452 by robin.mousley
Can't go wrong with the Epic blade - the mid-wing is a very popular surfski paddle.  It plants well, doesn't skid, doesn't twist.  

It's also pretty robust and I've never broken a blade in more than ten years of using them - not that it's impossible for any paddle to break depending how you (mis-) treat it.

As for zero feather...  Hmm...  controversial subject.  I'd recommend listening to your own coach!  Most coaches I've spoken to are fine with feather angles (much) less than the 67 degrees that I was taught (and reducing it to 45 or less truly doesn't feel uncomfortable for me too) but they tend to mutter darkly when you ask about zero degrees.  Some folks feel that 10-20degrees may be optimum because of the supposedly natural position of your wrists as the paddle goes from side to side.

Anyway, your main question was about the Epic paddle - no question there.  It's a great blade!  As for your feather angle, welcome to the world of endless paddling discussions!!!!

Welcome the best sport on the planet - stay in touch and let us know how it goes!

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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2 months 1 week ago #34454 by mrcharly
Wing paddles vary a lot. Blade twist, angle of blade to shaft, blade size . . . 
Main thing is not to get a blade that is too large or too extreme a design. That will kill your paddling style, turn you into a crap paddler.
Regarding feather; that is a matter of personal preference. The need for feather is actually dictated by the twist in the body as you paddle. There is an excellent video on this subject on Youtube.
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2 months 1 week ago #34455 by robin.mousley
On feather angle, here's an article I wrote having asked multiple Olympic medalist Greg Barton of Epic Kayaks :

https://www.surfski.info/latest-news/story/1270/what-feather-angle-do-you-use-greg-barton-on-wing-paddles.html

And then, after the zero-angle thing started to go viral, I did a follow up:

https://www.surfski.info/tips/story/1647/to-feather-or-not-to-feather.html

So the jury's out!

Clearly there seems to be a compelling argument against a very large feather angle, but zero?  I think the key is that whatever you choose, especially at the beginning, you should probably stick with it until your stroke is settled.

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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2 months 1 week ago #34457 by Epicpaddler
Great choice for your first ski. Epic v8pro was my first choice as well. I ended up going with the small midwing from Epic. It's a great paddle and won't blow out your shoulders. After racing for a season I'm tempted to go to the regular midwing just for a slight boost in power. Either way congrats and good luck with your new boat.
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2 months 1 week ago #34458 by uk gearmuncher
I use the mid wing and am now trying a `Braca XI’. Either way, I have always been running a 60 degree feather. I tried zero and hated it so went to the halfway house of 30 degrees. As Oscar noted, it makes a brace a lot easier and intuitive when you bring the feather angle down a bit. However, I think Oscars opinion is based purely on the needs for downwinding and he underestimates just how much aerodynamic drag a wing at too big an attack angle creates through the air. I suspect I’ll be staying at 30 as a happy medium.

Previous Boat Journey: Gaisford spec ski, then Fenn Bluefin, then Epic V8 Pro, Now a Epic V10 Sport and a Nelo 550L coming in soon.
Recent Demo's: Epic V10 G3, Nelo 550L, Epic K1t
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2 months 1 week ago #34459 by MCImes
Welcome to the community Cool!

I started with an Epic small-mid wing. I'll echo the other's comments that its a 'vanilla' paddle that is good all around. Its easy to use and forgiving so an excellent design to learn with (and good in general, even for experienced people). I moved on to a brasca style blade with a little more twist after 2 years. it took some getting used to, but I like it more now, but I dont know if I really would have wanted to learn with this blade. I think the Epic made it easier to get the basic muscle memory ingrained - like rob says its predictable and does not want to roll which is key while learning. 

As for feather, I started over 50, tried under 30, then found the article Rob linked. I settled at about 37* which is where the paddle is naturally aligned for the left side stroke. I find this most comfortable and natural, because I do not have to adjust my wrist position at all. At the end of my right side stroke, the left blade is perfectly aligned for the catch. I tried 0* a couple times and hated it. Likewise with over 40. Experiment and find your preferred angle, everyone is different.

Happy paddling!

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"
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2 months 1 week ago #34460 by leolinha
I started with Epic V8 black tip (excellent) and Epic mid wing at zero feather. I started all alone, no coaching whatsoever, so zero feather was a natural choice for me. People always tried to persuade me to increase my feather angle, so I tried 45 degrees, 30 degrees, but always went back to zero.
Recently (18 months ago) I changed to an Epic small mid wing blade and noticed how much better it feels, most of all in long paddles or tough races. I started paddling when I was 40 and I was very sedentary at the time, I hadn't done any sports whatsoever my whole life. Being not a strong guy, the small mid was a much better choice after all.
After getting some coaching a couple of years ago, my coach eventually persuaded me to increase my feather angle to 15 degrees at least. I am stiil a fan of zero feather, but must agree that 15 feels slightly better after all. And it is so close to zero, that it doesn't interfere with bracing.
In short: with a V8 PRO you are very well served, you made a terrific choice. But mind your shoulders and get a small mid wing paddle, not a mid wing, unless you are a young or especially strong guy.
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2 months 1 week ago #34461 by sarzelopez
Hi, my 2 cents on feathering:

1) 0 Feather makes sense when beggining because when doing a "quick brace" you know if you have the front wing in the correct position (spoon side up) then you dont even have to process that the brace side is as it should be. Your body wil most likely not notice the slight wrist twisting. If you just want to get the hang of paddling, GO 0 FEATHER.

2) Angles 60-90 for the most part are to take advantage of "cutting the wind", create less resistance, etc. In my opinion it is almost garanteed that for your first, lets say 5, paddles  if you go this way the fact that the blade you´ll brace with is so mis-aligned with the one you can look at will result in you knifing tha blade under the boat and most likely go for a quick swim. If you plan on sprinting or on shaving 3-10 seconds off your 5k max (after getting used to the high feather), GO BIG FEATHER 

3) In my opinion for a perfect middle ground I reccomend watching the video "How to Set Your Paddle Feather For Maximum Performance" from Youtube, you´ll end up in an angle 20-50, most likely. This will be the angle at which when taking a stroke on either side your wrists are straight. 

In my case, after doing the "drill" I ended up with a +/-32° angle, zero pain on either wrist, the angle is enough to feel way less drag when going upwind but also not that much as to completely throw my bracing off the first couple of times. After 3 paddles, I felt as stable as with a 0, less wind drag, zero wrist pain.

Oh and on paddles,

Size:
720-770 SQ CM area seems to be tried and true, jack of all trades.

Shape: 
Mostly won´t matter, just go for a modern wing.
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2 months 1 week ago #34466 by cooldollar
WOW....Thank you so much to all who have chimed in with info regarding paddle selection and feather tips and tricks. What a fantastic resource this forum is. Tip-of-the-hat  to you all. I really appreciate the time you have taken to type your wordy reply's. 

I cannot believe how many different ski's some of you guys have had, awesome stuff. 
I have been thrashing away on a paddling ergo machine for months in the gym (I guess they accurately reproduce the paddling effort do they?) but have only spent 10 minutes sitting in a boat on the water. I am just about to retire from work so the next part of the journey should be more fun and probably much wetter !!

For propulsion based on your recommendations I will buy an EPIC Small - Mid Wing paddle and experiment with the feather angle. 

Cheers and  thanks again for the feedback....Paddle On 

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2 months 1 week ago - 2 months 1 week ago #34468 by mrcharly
A few tips:

Don't experiment too much. It will mess up learning technique.
There is an excellent vid on setting feather; open youtube, search for canterbury kayaking and how to set your paddle feather. Set it to something not extreme and stick to that until you have a good few hundred km of paddling under your hull.



Concentrate on technique. Very recently someone (a paddler who was coached from a young age, who has superb technique) said to me that technique is something you have when you are tired, something you can rely on even when your muscles are going. Good technique will protect us from injury and make paddling more efficient. 

Top hand up. Lower arm keep elbow in, use your top hand as a fulcrum to lift the blade out of the water at the end of the stroke. Keep strokes short, pull hard at the start with your back, leg and whole body. Pause and drive the paddle in for the next stroke.
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2 months 1 week ago #34472 by SpaceSputnik
If you are going with Epic, I reccomend skipping the green club shaft and going to burgundy. The difference in weight alone is worth the extra bit the money in my view. Doesn't look like much on paper but on the water you do feel those 60g or so.

Current: Think Evo II
Past: Epic V7

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2 months 1 week ago #34474 by Wingnut
I agree with SpaceSputnik I bought the Epic small mid in full carbon and think it was worth the extra money.  

When I first demoed a surfski whatever paddle I used felt like I was planting it in concrete so I was surprised to find out that the epic slipped and didn't lock in.  I assumed that I'd eventually figure out how to properly plant my paddle with a good catch and I'm getting there.  I also assume that the paddle I demoed made up for my bad technique.  Have fun with whatever paddle you get.  The V8 Pro is a great boat to start out in.  
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2 months 1 week ago - 2 months 1 week ago #34481 by mcbit

SpaceSputnik wrote: If you are going with Epic, I reccomend skipping the green club shaft and going to burgundy. The difference in weight alone is worth the extra bit the money in my view. Doesn't look like much on paper but on the water you do feel those 60g or so.


Whilst the full carbon shaft is lighter, that is not the end of the story. Carbon/ glass blends tend to make for a more flexible shaft which is more suited to longer distances, open water and surf and is kinder to older bones and muscles.

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2 months 1 week ago #34484 by cooldollar
Oh No .......More paddle variables.
Should I start another thread "Which paddle shaft for a keen newcomer" ???
It looks like the "cheaper" EPIC Club construction Small Mid Wing comes with the fibreglass shaft.
Looks like I'm getting shafted big time....and loving it.

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2 months 1 week ago - 2 months 1 week ago #34490 by SpaceSputnik
I thought burgundy was only 90% carbon and blue being full carbon?
It seems different now as they only offer a Club and Full carbon.

I'll reluctantly admit that I don't own a burgundy Epic but rather a Z&J which seems in line with older Epic burgundy shaft and has Epic style blades.

Current: Think Evo II
Past: Epic V7

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2 months 1 week ago #34491 by zachhandler
In regards to epic shafts, I have the full carbon (not the pro grip). It is a delight. In comparison to the earlier burgundy shaft, it is slightly more flexible and has a better feel against the water.  The shaft is also wet sanded rather than smooth, and for me that improves grip and i get fewer blisters. 
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2 months 1 week ago #34493 by Steve Hansen
My first wing paddle 20+ years ago was a one piece Canoe Concepts Turbo II from S.A. Heavy, clunky, tendency to dive under the boat if placed wrong, super flexy shaft and inexpensive. I've never come across a paddle that was anywhere near as flexible as that paddle. I'm not a fan of one piece paddles but if I could find a one piece paddle with the right characteristics that was that flexible I'd buy it.

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2 months 1 week ago #34494 by [email protected]
This is so helpful! I am looking for a new paddle too. My GF grabbed the Epic small mid right out of my hands and won‘t give it back ;) I had the feeling it was just a bit too small for me (2m guy). I paddle low cadence to concentrate on every stroke mostly flat water  and for sure crappy technique. I would be very interested in the Braca XI in 760 but somewhere I wrote that twisted blades are made to enhance high cadence but also provide a strong catch. So I am a bit confused. My second choice would be Epic Mid in Club because I like the flexy shaft. What does the twist in the Van Dusen and alike blades provide? Maybe someone can clear this up for me ;) 

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2 months 1 week ago #34496 by Steve Hansen
I own both a full carbon and club carbon Epic mid small. I personally don't notice the weight difference or flex difference once I'm paddling. The club carbon use to be $300 dollars U.S. which I thought was great value. It has since gone up in price. As has been said before the Epic is very stable and predictable which really counts in rough conditions or new to paddling and it's pretty light. Sounds like you would be fine with an Epic mid at your size. I also own a mid and I will say it feels a bit more stable. I suspect this is because it is slightly wider.

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