Chalupsky´s paddling technique

1 year 1 month ago #33060 by manta
There seems to be some serious confusion regarding the zero feather grip and body mechanics.

In the paddling grip both hands are pronated. When you use feathering, one hand (the control hand) will be in neutral pronation for the pulling part of the stroke and then in pronation with flexion while the other hand is pulling. I hope that description is clear. The control hand is slightly flexed to allow the non control hand paddle blade to enter the water correctly.

When you use zero feather both hands remain in pronation and depending on your stroke mechanics there should be no flexion. When I started paddling little over a year ago I went for training. The instructor put a paddle in my hand with 65 degrees right control. I have spent many years riding motorcycles and doing martial arts. Unfortunately both my wrists are quite damaged. I can do pronation but as soon as there is flexion in the wrist, I experience pain and swelling. My first few paddles were agony.

I then found the Oscar video and switched immediately to zero feather. Since that day I have had no pain or swelling. When you are at zero feather both hands are in pronation without flexion therefore both hands are control hands. There should be no slipping or turning of the paddle.

After about 9 months of paddling I went for another coaching session and the coach was appalled that I was using zero feather. He told me I would not be able to twist properly and therefore not get proper stroke mechanics. That is not a bio mechanically accurate statement. I have proven this with computer modelling. Needless to say after we had gone for the paddle the coach had to eat his words, my twisting motion was just as good as it should have been.

Where I will concede is that having zero feather in an upwind situation is not efficient. However downwind it is a non issue.

Is zero feather the right way to go? For me with my unique physiology, yes it is. Would that be the same for someone else? Most likely not. What we must do however is not just blindly follow without doing the testing for ourselves. I would like to paddle for many years to come and by using a technique that is friendly to my physiology I will be able to do so.
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1 year 1 month ago #33067 by MCImes
When people here say zero feather, do you really mean 0° on the scale? like, both blades lay flat on the ground?

After reading this thread, I've experimented with shallow feathers and have found that a 37-40° feather allows my control wrist (right side) to stay straight and requires no additional movement to position my left blade properly for its stroke.

I tried the true 0° feather, but I was cocking my wrist in the opposite direction as normal to get the proper blade feel.

If you're truly using 0°, doesnt body mechanics dictate that, if your right hand is locked on the paddle, when your right blade is at proper orientation, the left blade will not be in the correct orientation without some wrist cocking?

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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1 year 6 days ago - 3 months 3 weeks ago #33192 by Henning DK
Photos from The Doctor shows Oscar's technique - he confirms that he actually moves both hands between the strokes, which is why he can hold the paddle shaft with his arms in an angle just like when using a control hand, but without doing so. One obvious advantage of this is that he does not depend on a fixed feather angle, but can adapt his style to the conditions of each stroke, and to bracing as well.
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3 months 3 weeks ago - 3 months 3 weeks ago #34868 by camlangsford
Hi Everyone,

I've been working with Oscar helping to manage his new online training platform "Oscar's Club" so I thought I would jump in and update this thread on Oscar's latest thinking and post his feather angle video he's just recently recorded.

Oscar now is indeed at zero degrees feather. It's not specifically for downwind paddling as some have suggested but it certainly has some advantages while paddling downwind.

This is the latest feather specific video Oscar recording for his club members and students on the online platform.

His main points around zero degrees are.
1. The wing paddle and it's lack of wind resistance
2. Improving the ability to easily brace on both sides
3. Improving longevity in the sport and avoiding damaging your wrists
4. Benefits of the wind pushing your paddles from behind

I think this will always be up for debate and all should decide for themselves after trying it for a while and allowing for the adjustment period as it may feel sub optimal at first if you are used to a higher angle. For me personally, I've just got back into paddling after a 5-6 year hiatus and went straight to zero feather. I'm getting older now and even just saving the wrists has been very noticeable after long sessions, and paddle entry just seems easier and no significant difference when paddling into a head wind.

here's the video

File Attachment:

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3 months 3 weeks ago #34872 by Henning DK
The video probably doesn't disclose any previously unknown tips from Oscar, but I wonder if it's ok to distribute videos and other info, that come from "Oscar's Club", into the public.
Could be considered a leak, could be considerer good PR...?
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3 months 3 weeks ago #34874 by camlangsford
Hi Henning!

Thanks for the reply and yes a good point.

Sorry, I should have been clearer with my message when I said I am working with Oscar in the online club I actually meant I work with him on managing the club not as one of his students, although I also follow his drills and training plans. I can see now it wasn't as obvious as it should have been.

I'll edit it so it's clearer. 

This video is actually part of Oscar's free video series you can get access to here . There are about 60 other videos for members only along with the structured training plans.

Thanks
Cam

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3 months 3 weeks ago #34886 by Spacehopper
Interesting thread.

Initially the accepted wisdom seems intuitive, that 0 feather would be worse for paddling upwind. 

However once the complex shape of the blade, the complicated motion of the paddle through the stroke (with continual changes in angle to the wind) and the fact that the wind doesn't travel in nice straight lines anyway are taken into account the situation looks far from a simplistic difference in frontal area.

Probably there isn't too much to choose between the two and the ergonomic advantage of paddling without a twisted wrist may be a bigger advantage - which I guess is what Oscar is getting at?

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3 months 3 weeks ago #34888 by robin.mousley

His main points around zero degrees are.

1. The wing paddle and it's lack of wind resistance
2. Improving the ability to easily brace on both sides
3. Improving longevity in the sport and avoiding damaging your wrists
4. Benefits of the wind pushing your paddles from behind

I think for the big O, point 2 is the most important - especially for beginners.  I'm unconvinced of the benefit of changing all the way to zero for me, having nearly 20 years of muscle memory.  I don't have any difficulty bracing on both sides (although I'm astounded to discover that's it's not infrequent to find people who only ever brace on one side.  There's no doubt that many paddlers prefer bracing on the left and don't practise bracing on the right.)

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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3 months 3 weeks ago - 3 months 3 weeks ago #34890 by Henning DK
Oscar has some points, and they are all valid to me. However, the point that convinces me NOT to use zero feather, is that I end up in the water after less than 5 strokes... maybe 10 :-D

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3 months 3 weeks ago #34891 by camlangsford
Haha yes, that seems like a problem point alright! 
Lucky for me my paddling was never that good anyway so it was much easier to change, I used to always fall in if I had to unexpectedly brace on the right as my paddle blade was always pointing down. Now at least I stay upright a lot more easily in an "emergency"

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3 months 3 weeks ago #34892 by Elnatx
I started with surfski 1 year ago, and did it with zero feather after seeing Oscar's videos. It seemed totally logical as it was explained. Only recently I have switched to a 45 deg feather and near instantly my rotation and catch started feeling much more natural, and I find I do it all the stroke easier overall. I have also noticed a slight increase in speed, and better feeling upwind. 
On the other hand, I m finding more difficult to get the paddle out early at the end of the stroke, and I have done a downwind in very confused sea, and fell off three times, all of them on my left. On less (for me) extreme conditions, I haven't found any problem with bracing  though, and I think I will solve it with more hours. 
So I think everyone starting or looking to improve technique should try different settings, for me zero feather feels clearly less ergonomic, but I think it has its advantages too... 

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3 months 3 weeks ago - 3 months 3 weeks ago #34902 by SpaceSputnik
I have also started with zero feather as per Oscar's teaching. However, I am not doing it anymore. I tried feathering out of curiosity and my my rotation, especially when the left blade is down is better and it generally feels cleaner and more powerful.
I also had a private lesson with Kenny Rice and he told me to go feathered too, contrary to Oscar. Coincidentally my speed improved when I started emptying Kenny's recommendations on the feather and other things.
Tried flat again a couple of days ago and it's just not working well at all.
My angle is pretty moderate, around 40 right. I believe I can do 30 with the same effect, but flat...just feels all wrong.

Current: Think Evo II, Stellar SES 1g.
Past: Epic V7

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3 months 3 weeks ago #34904 by MCImes
Interesting thread revival. to me this just feels unnatural, and I tried it for a few paddles after paddling ~2 years so I dont have 20 years of ingrained muscle memory.

I have a question - I prefer ~37-40* right feather. i found this angle by this method - While simulating paddling (standing up on the ground), keep my control hand at its normal position while taking a right side stroke. Then, I would watch the left blade as it "entered" while keeping my right wrist straight. I adjusted the feather until the left side blade entry looked about correct, then I took it to the water and adjusted another couple degrees until it felt exactly right, and I ended up just shy of 40*. For me, this requires no wrist wrist movement to orient the paddle blade for the left side stroke.

My issue with 0* is that I would have to drastically bend my wrist to properly orient the left blade at the catch. For those who like 0*, dont you have to bend your wrist to orient the blade? or how do you avoid this?

but obviously a lot of people like it and works for them so I must be missing something

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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3 months 3 weeks ago #34905 by SpaceSputnik
One of Oscar's 0 feather selling points is ease of bracing. And I agree that bracing is pretty natural that way whilst feathered requires a bit of learning. But, I don't think it's that hard, since you are employing the same idea of twisting with your controlling hand.

I can speculate that our dominant hand is simply better at setting the right blade angle while non-dominant one takes practice.

With flat, it seems both of your hands need to setup the respective blades. 

Another thing to consider is the shaft. Oscar seems to he using round shafts. Perhaps he has more freedom to choose how to position his wrists that those of us who use oval (myself included). Btw, Oscar's grip is open while Kenny teaches closed grip which resonates better with me. My hands are small.

As far as the angle goes, my method was completely unscientific. Tried 30, it felt good. Then moved to 40-45, felt good too,.so here I am.

Current: Think Evo II, Stellar SES 1g.
Past: Epic V7

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3 months 3 weeks ago #34911 by manta
I posted a long technical post higher up in this thread regarding pronation and flexion etc. definitely not going into it again.

One of the keys no one has brought up is how high are your hands when you initiate the stroke. Oscar is a proponent of the low(er) hand technique. If you use the high hand technique (hand at ear  level) with zero feather you have to use more flexion while your hand moves from pronation to neutral where the stroke is initiated. Go ahead and do the experiment yourself with different hand heights on the stroke and you will see what I mean.

I use zero feather and for there to be no wrist flexion (I have wrist issues) my hand must be just below eye level on the highest part of the stroke. If I go higher there needs to be flexion to orientate the blade when you move from pronation to neutral. 

So if you are naturally a higher hand paddler, feather is definitely superior from a body mechanics point of view in my opinion. If you are a lower hand guy as the big O suggests, zero feather is perfect. 

Do some experimentation on hand heights and feather and hopefully all this pronation, flexion talk will make sense.
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3 months 3 weeks ago #34912 by MCImes
Thanks Manta, I missed the part about low angle. That makes sense, I'm more of a high angle paddler, but will try the lower angle with 0* again. 

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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3 months 3 weeks ago #34913 by SpaceSputnik
I missed the angle part as well.
You can see it here pretty well:


(the red suit behind Oscar is me :D)

Current: Think Evo II, Stellar SES 1g.
Past: Epic V7

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3 months 3 weeks ago #34920 by SpaceSputnik
Ok, so I tried Oscars style again today. Flat paddle, lower height and it worked this time. No unnatural catch feeling, easier in the shoulders, easier bracing due to zero feather and paddle being close to water. Easier to make a wider, stabilizing stroke when required.
Overall seems a simpler and more fool proof and easier to keep up the power to the water.
I will give it more time seeing that it worked better today.

Current: Think Evo II, Stellar SES 1g.
Past: Epic V7

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3 months 3 weeks ago #34921 by camlangsford
That sounds like it was worth the try then! 
There are so many aspects to the stroke that are interrelated. 

I really like Oscar's concepts around "body parts" for his drills, with each drill focusing on an individual body part to focus on and then pull them all together.

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3 months 3 weeks ago - 3 months 3 weeks ago #34922 by SpaceSputnik
It certainly was worth a try. It seems that spending time with different styles is a good way to learn. There were aspects Kenny suggested that were not in Oscar's teachings. His bracing style is interesting and certainly has its uses, as well as the attention to a posture and feet position that relates to stability. Something you can skimp on if you are in a wide and stable boat, but in the context of boats like Evo it's more important. Not saying that the Evo is necessarily an unstable ski, but the learning curve is significantly different from say a V8.

Current: Think Evo II, Stellar SES 1g.
Past: Epic V7

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