Teardrop vs parallel edge wing for flatwater

6 years 8 months ago #17079 by tony h
greetings Glen
canoesonline.com.au has following info:
" For long distance river kayak paddling Hank McGregor uses and recommends a 40:60 carbon: glass shaft which is still stiff enough for speed and flexible enough for pounding on rocks and the stresses of the rapids. For surf ski racing Hank McGregor uses the same Gara GP3 blades but prefers the stiffer 80:20 carbon: glass shaft. "

Hank now using GP2 - similar to JANTEX GAMMA

as an intermediate paddler paddling on the creek & ocean btw 30min & 5hr, i prefer the softer shaft- believe it is gentler on the body from an injury perspective.

ski's - McGregor C/R // Nelo 560L // Epic: 1st/2nd/3rdG V10/10L/10 sport, V14, V12, V8, V7, double -v10/v8 // Stellar: SES 1G/2G, SEI 2G // Fenn: double, elite SL, swordfish 1G/2G // Carbonology: vault, atom, flash //hayden spec ski / gibbons oc. ski / red7 / stealth spec/ocean ski / think legend
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6 years 8 months ago - 6 years 8 months ago #17081 by kayakchampeen
Hello draft, My knowledge is not perfect but I've never seen an aussie made wing that was not obviously derived from one of the aforementioned designs. (with the exception of the prototype monstrosity latman posted about!) To my knowledge it is still the case that most distance wings are still smaller versions of a design originally intended for sprint. I don't know of any wing that could be described as Surf specific either for that matter. Both Bennett and Meek manufacture multiple different models based upon the templates already in existence.

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6 years 8 months ago #17134 by nell
A question to Kayakchampeen and/or anyone else that wants to take a stab at it . . .

I used a Jantex Alpha, size small today and I couldn't really make it work. At first, I was ker-plunking the catch which was quite annoying. Once I found how to improve - though not eliminate - that part, I found that the most effective and quiet stroke with the Alpha was to bring the area of the catch back about 8 inches and to extend the stroke further back behind me - it wasn't really behind me but it sure felt that way. The mid and late parts of the stroke were very good and the exit was good, too.

My first questions are thus: How do you use a Rasmussen/Gut/Alpha style blade - meaning, how do you change your stroke to suit it best ? I found that driving down hard at the catch seemed to work well as did consciously pulling the blade literally deep and straight back (which felt like it crowded me a bit). Maybe my technique is too adapted to the Epic small-mid?

Second question is: When you extend your stroke back so that your pulling hand is considerably more a-stern than your top hand, is the blade pulling up on the water and slowing you, or is the blade merely levered like it's "stuck in the mud"? While it felt more like the latter, it bothers my brain to do that.

Also, I am not averse to improving upon Jantex's blade design with a rotary sander if the risk/benefit ratio looks really good. Is the Alpha's tip too full? The lip too full?

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6 years 8 months ago #17135 by Stew

nell wrote: A question to Kayakchampeen and/or anyone else that wants to take a stab at it . . .

I used a Jantex Alpha, size small today and I couldn't really make it work. At first, I was ker-plunking the catch which was quite annoying. Once I found how to improve - though not eliminate - that part, I found that the most effective and quiet stroke with the Alpha was to bring the area of the catch back about 8 inches and to extend the stroke further back behind me - it wasn't really behind me but it sure felt that way. The mid and late parts of the stroke were very good and the exit was good, too.


Try pop a big bungee with a few tennis balls on your craft and take all the run out of the boat, then work on getting a clean catch, which will let you find the sweet spot for a clean entry. 8 inches back from your usual spot seems too much to me and it could be just the blade angle is a little off and you have an issue with the top hand position.

nell wrote: Second question is: When you extend your stroke back so that your pulling hand is considerably more a-stern than your top hand, is the blade pulling up on the water and slowing you, or is the blade merely levered like it's "stuck in the mud"? While it felt more like the latter, it bothers my brain to do that.


The blade should never have a slowing/stuck feeling. It should feather cleanly from the water, with as little water on the face as possible and allow for clean boat run. If it doesn't, the top hand is doing something wrong, either dropping at the end of the stroke, or is too far ahead as the exit occurs.

Maybe pop up a quick video?

nell wrote: Also, I am not averse to improving upon Jantex's blade design with a rotary sander if the risk/benefit ratio looks really good. Is the Alpha's tip too full? The lip too full?


The lip is fine, leave it alone! :laugh:

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6 years 8 months ago #17136 by nell
Thanks for your thoughts, Stew.

I think I didn't explain the second question well. I've always been Nazi-ish on getting my stroke out in front of me with an out front catch and an early exit at the hip or thereabouts. As soon as my top hand gets in front of my pulling hand, I'm entering the exit phase.

With this Alpha, it seems to run more smoothly with the whole stroke moved a-stern a little bit. The back part of the stroke doesn't feel sticky or like it's slowing me down, it's just that I don't like it that my pulling hand is considerably behind my top hand in the latter third of the stroke when I'm still pulling on it pretty hard. Feels ok and loose in the water, but I'm having trouble with just the idea of it.

Normally, I've got my top hand staying at about eye level throughout the stroke and I'm very cognizant of what it's doing. With the Alpha, I'm moving it closer to and further from my ear, and with less bend and more bend in my top arm, aggressive catch, slower catch but I'm not getting it to quiet all the way down.

I'll try some resistance and work on the ker-plunking catch. It's almost like learning to paddle all over again.

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6 years 8 months ago #17138 by Stew

nell wrote: Thanks for your thoughts, Stew.

I think I didn't explain the second question well. I've always been Nazi-ish on getting my stroke out in front of me with an out front catch and an early exit at the hip or thereabouts. As soon as my top hand gets in front of my pulling hand, I'm entering the exit phase.

With this Alpha, it seems to run more smoothly with the whole stroke moved a-stern a little bit. The back part of the stroke doesn't feel sticky or like it's slowing me down, it's just that I don't like it that my pulling hand is considerably behind my top hand in the latter third of the stroke when I'm still pulling on it pretty hard. Feels ok and loose in the water, but I'm having trouble with just the idea of it.

Normally, I've got my top hand staying at about eye level throughout the stroke and I'm very cognizant of what it's doing. With the Alpha, I'm moving it closer to and further from my ear, and with less bend and more bend in my top arm, aggressive catch, slower catch but I'm not getting it to quiet all the way down.

I'll try some resistance and work on the ker-plunking catch. It's almost like learning to paddle all over again.


I notice that some guys who try to focus on getting the paddle out at the knees and hips end up not rotating enough on the pull through and exit. The best thing I would suggest is get someone to take some video and have a look at it yourself. How things feel and how they are actually working can be very different.

Any change of blade shape will take a little time. Stick with it. I tried a Jantex Gamma a few weeks ago, nearly fell off the ski, it felt terrible. It would take me quite a while to get that shape working.

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6 years 8 months ago #17151 by fredrik
With the inspiration of this thread I paddled my Gamma M again today after 2 years of using a parallel blade. My last test run, last year, left me with the same experience as Stew above. I almost fell out of my boat. Today, in my new boat (the Glide :-)) it felt pretty good. And the GPS showed better speed. Time will tell if this is just an nspired moment or sustainable.

Anyhow I have a question to the hydrodynamically inclined: Some days I seem to have a stroke which produce an air vortex immediately behind the blade lip (the ledaing edge). This is obviously not very efficient and the blade exits the water with a gurgle.

It seems to me that this happens when I´m tired and my setup is sloppy (dropping top arm before exit arm reach parallel) and if I do not keep a smooth and solid pressure on the pulling arm.


These are just observations, but not necessarily correct. Could anyone explain what happens and provide a suggestion on how to get a power phase with no air vortex.

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6 years 8 months ago - 6 years 8 months ago #17152 by Kayaker Greg
Well I'm picking its your catch that needs work, if your blade is fully buried before you start your leg drive and stroke and you don't punch out with the top hand too soon it should be solidly planted and there should be very little opportunity for a vortex to form (blade slipping in the water) and certainly no air in the vortex.

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6 years 8 months ago #17154 by fredrik
Yes that could be it, blade not 100% inserted before power phase when tired. I´ll revert after more experimentation :-)

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6 years 8 months ago - 6 years 8 months ago #17241 by fredrik
After a week of comparing the teardrop Gamma and my parallel paddle (Patasi Turbo) I do feel the two alternatives presents some good and bad - for me.

The first good thing was that the Gamma gave me a reminder of making sure you have good technique and balance. For the first few Gamma runs was on the flat and the Gamma felt great. Great speed and fantastic exits, and all the rest described above.

But the next two sessions in 15 kts and choppy 2-4 feet short wind waves from the side and abt 4-5 ft swell from ahead and aft (sausage run) was moments of truth. Still great catch and great exit, great acceleration, but the KC description of no “third wheel” is accurate, to the extent that I found it hard to thrust my weight on the blade at the catch, the boat felt more tippy, it became harder to lock the blade and the speed dropped by 1 1-2 kph compared to the parallel blade. In short, I felt my new Glide was a handful.

The day after I pulled out my parallel again and paddling speeds was back on track. Solid catch, great control during the power phase, but not as smooth exit. Same choppy seas, but the speed was back up and the Glide felt like a totally different boat – nice and predictable . No thoughts of bracing. Again I could try to focus on paddle technique – like this


So what did I conclude with respect of my own skills:

Teardrop paddles feels light and efficient on flatwater provided that your stability is NOT challenged –at all.

The parallel blade may not be as smooth at the exit, but it is a great paddle if you want to ensure power on the chop. In my case, as I am adjusting to the Glide, the parallel blade makes this transition very pleasant. And of course, the boat speeds are just as fast, but I FEEL it is harder work, because you have to dig deeper at the catch (ref KC great description) After this mini test I would advice all paddlers to try a parallel paddle if you feel that a boat upgrade is too tippy with a teardrop blade – you may be happily surprised to find that a parallel paddle could reduce the tippy feeling.

KC, I thank you for your descriptions, all spot on – and it have made it so much easier to pay attention to the different pros and cons of all the alternatives out there.

PS: no more vortex at the catch, just had to remind myself of he items in the video above ☺

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6 years 8 months ago - 6 years 8 months ago #17242 by Kayaker Greg
I feel the same thing between the Epic Mid and the Gamma so not sure its just the Parallel blade vs the Gamma.

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6 years 8 months ago #17249 by Watto
Stew said: "pop a big bungee with a few tennis balls on your craft and take all the run out of the boat.."

Dropping in late here but your comment a week ago Stew - wtf bungee and tennis balls? I understand the concept but can't yoke those together in ma brain.

Tennis balls in a bag off the back; holes in balls and bungee through? I do know a bungee or two around the boat is a great training tool (for masochists) just wondering how to get my balls around it, as it were.

Cheers.

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6 years 8 months ago #17254 by fredrik

Kayaker Greg wrote: I feel the same thing between the Epic Mid and the Gamma so not sure its just the Parallel blade vs the Gamma.


Yes, the Epic being a "detuned B4", that should put it in the more parallel end of blades. It adds up!

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6 years 8 months ago - 6 years 8 months ago #17260 by service8

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6 years 8 months ago - 6 years 8 months ago #17261 by Michael Smedley
To add to what Stew said.

An alternative to a tennis ball are those plastic practice golf balls, you know, the ones with all the hole in.

Take 4 balls and thread some nylon cord through the middle of them. Use a cord that does not stretch. Measure the cord to fit around your boat. You want it to sit just in front of your cockpit in front of the plug. Slip it over the nose to put it on.

The advantage of having the 4 balls gives you 4 different levels of resistance. This is good if you are in squad environment, faster paddlers use more resistance than weaker ones, keeps everyone together.

I have tried both but prefer the golf balls over the tennis balls. The tennis balls have a tendency to pull the boat down and side to side. The golf balls however do not, the boat goes where you point it. Probably due to the water being able to flow though the holes in the golf balls.

Try both, they are the dirt cheap to make. Or if you are a lazy bugger you could just buy some.

www.geartrade.com.au/page-18403.html
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6 years 8 months ago #17262 by Kayaker Greg
I recently made this quick fit/release system for my resistance training.

www.facebook.com/kayaker.greg/media_set?...0002425151844&type=3

Usually I paddle out for a half hour warm up or an hour on longer paddles and fit it for the return trip and either continue to paddle at my endurance pace with added resistance or do my cadence/AT training with added resistance. I've been fitting it near my feet where I can release it if I wish and it doesn't disturb the water flow where the paddle stroke is. Its adjustable which is helpful to fit my various skis. Its my off season so I'm not fully paddle fit and its just enough resistance to remove the boat run and enables me to feel the resistance through the stroke and the next day I can feel my paddling muscles have had more of a work out in a shorter time frame. I intend to increase resistance progressively over the next few weeks as training builds up, possibly with more cord wrapped around the existing cord or with some foam scraps. It really helps me feel the engagement of the core during my stroke.
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6 years 8 months ago #17279 by Stew
I'd like to add that the suggestion of resistance was very specific to Nell's case. When missing the catch, or splashing excessively at entry, taking the boat run out helps find the sweet spot and can be a very useful tool, but the level is resistance is extreme, ie it takes all boat run out and nearly stops the boat dead after each stroke. I would never suggest boat resistance to anyone other than very well trained athletes who have their technique dialed in 100%. Using resistance in a training session will cause many paddlers to reduce their rotation and rely on the arms more, as it's easier to get the boat out of the hole and moving. The catch will in fact be shortened, and the knock on effect will be a deterioration in technique. It also effects the stability, making the boat more stable in a lot of cases, as well as changing the exit as the boat has a much different glide.

If you discuss things like boat resistance with many old Eastern Block coaches, they cringe. Their theories are that you train in the kayak the very way you race in it. That is, it's spot on race weight, and the paddle is the same (same length, same size) at all times. Any strength gains are made in the gym, and then transferred to the water through the application of sound technique over many, many kilometers.

Some have the opinion that resistance has its place, but only when practicing starts, when technique is a lot different to when the boat is at full speed. Strokes are shorter and the arms are used more and the training is explosive. Long intervals with resistance is not done generally.

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6 years 7 months ago #17515 by fryerrobin
Wow really interesting topic, trying to gather as much info as possible from this but would really appreciate some advice on a paddle for a flat water kayaker of minimal experience.

To introduce myself (so you might get a better idea of my requirements);

I switched from rowing after 4 years to kayaking and have been doing that for about 10 months now and really enjoying the change. Predominantly I have been doing marathon racing anywhere from 8-20miles and that's where my competitive focus is. I'm currently working my way up the British divisional system as well as boat stability's. I would say my technique is still very rough and unpolished, I certainly haven't got anywhere near good in that respect yet.

In particular I would consider myself to have a poor catch when it comes to "spearing the fish" and would be more similar to "wacking it on the head".

I would also say my stroke rate is fairly low for a flat water kayaker, although I could argue I need to increase it with improved technique rather than get a paddle that matches that style.

In terms of stability and strength I'm pretty happy with my stability considering my experience and compared to the other paddlers at the club I'm probably the strongest in terms of lifting just pure weight but nowhere near as quick obviously.

I would like a paddle that would be good for marathon distance but also help me get a better catch (whether that means more forgiving or not). Bearing in mind I am still really a beginner.

I mainly use a Lettmen paddle, its either the nordic or the warp im not actually sure but i suspect the warp (which KP despised!).

I see a lot of people at my club using either Braca 4's or Jantex Gammas (Gammas are the new in thing!).

From what I can understand from reading the entire thread the Jantex would be good for someone with a high dspm (though I'm not sure how surfski and marathon flat water compare) which wouldn't be me although KP did say its more forgiving of a sloppy catch?

I also have no idea about length and stiffness of shaft or paddle size! From other readings people have recommended a medium paddle size with a flexible shaft but I would say (without blowing my trumpet) that I'm stronger than the average paddler so not sure if I would want a bigger blade than a medium?

Weight: 85kg
Height: 6ft (183cm)

Sorry for the massively long read, would really appreciate the help!

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6 years 7 months ago #17540 by kayakchampeen
This is response to Fryerobin. First off welcome to the forum! I have been indisposed with a new job lately with less time to pontificate these days. I'll take a stab at your question though.

First off, it sounds a though you are a marathon racer in Britan (which I take to mean long mass-start races in lightweight K-1's with portages) so what works in the ski is only somewhat applicable to your situation. You say you use a lettmann paddle at the present time. IMHO unless you know it to be a real German made Lettmann , I'll wager it is not a Warp but a Nordic. The Nordic was widely copied for years and abounds still. Not so much for the Warp. You can look at the Lettmann web page if you really want to compare the 2. The Nordic is a great design and is what many marathoners used for years. I don't happen to like the Warp personally, but many do. (mainly german women's team boats in sprint) so mine is not the last word on this.
In any case my question would be what is it about your paddle now that you find lacking? Certainly one can seat a nordic style blade cleanly at the catch with good technique. So if you are having difficulty in this regard I would say get more stroke instruction. The Gamma may be more forgiving of an inexact catch, but is not neccessarily "better". My guess would be that stability issues at the catch with full rotation are contrbuting somewhat. Simply changing paddles may or may not address this shortcoming.

You didn't mention the length of the paddle you are using in the K1 now. This will vary commensurate with seat height, more than anything else. If you were to switch to a shorter blade like a b4 or gamma the shaft length is what should remain consistent, as the lettmann blades are markedly longer.

I would imagine a 205-215, or possibly 210-220cm adjustable will suffice lengthwise for sure, giving you a chance to experiment w/ different lengths.

I would not get fooled into thinking that I needed a giant blade for marathon, irrespective of how strong you may be. Unless you are going at 500m speeds, it's only gonna bog down your cadence even more.

The B4 is by far the most popular blade in marathon and surfski for good reason, even at world class levels. you cannot go wrong with this blade, although, if I had the wherewithal I would spring for the real Braca-Sport version over the myriad copies available.
Whether you want the min or max is a judgement call. In a k1 I might go max. (b4 is already much smaller than the huge B1 and B2)

Hank Mcgregor switched from a nordic style blade to a gamma style blade recently, but not sure of his rationale. Will definitely provide for a higher cadence but the B4 will feel more reassuring and requires less of an adaptation in technique.

why not audition/borrow as many different paddles as you can to get a first hand feel. As a rower, you will probably always prefer a longer, more deliberate stroke than a shorter, spastic one. I'm not entirely convinced that a new paddle is going to have as marked an impact as you think. (but I can certainly understand being curious and wanting one)

Here's the short version. you don't need to reinvent the wheel: go with Braca 4max 205-215cm med flex shaft. most popular blade on the planet, if you don't like it it holds it's value and is easy to sell.
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6 years 7 months ago #17542 by fryerrobin
Ah thanks man! That's really helpful info. You were spot on with the call on British Marathon racing. Lightweight mass start k1's is the game (though my lancer is 12kg not quite ideal marathon weight).

After more research I find my paddles are Lettman 1's www.knysnaracingkayaks.com/paddles/lettmann-one-two/
They appear to be a South African copy from kynsa? It's quite a big paddle I'm told though I don't know the length as I inherited it and haven't measured it.

I do think its more my technique that causes the bad catch and agree that rather try to fix it with another paddle just try to improve it from technique.

Thanks very much for the info on paddle length and size, I will definitely take that on board and good to know which direction to head. I know some people at my club have them so I'll try to test drive one.

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