0 degrees feather on paddle???

5 months 3 weeks ago #38070 by Matt13
After watching an Oscar C YouTube video on zero degrees feather (for better bracing). Has anyone got any experience/advice on changing from a feathered paddle to zero?

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5 months 3 weeks ago #38071 by tve
Replied by tve on topic 0 degrees feather on paddle???
Did you try using the search function in this forum? ;-)
Change a few degrees at a time, go slow...

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5 months 3 weeks ago - 5 months 3 weeks ago #38072 by MCImes
Some like it, some dont. I dont, but you might. Personally I just went with what felt right and ended up around 30-37*. With my stroke mechanics, this means I do not have to move my wrists at all, the feather perfectly matches the natural angular offset from side to side. I would recommend you find your own angle which requires no wrist movement, that is dependent on your exact stroke and paddle.

Edit - and specifically regarding bracing and feather angle, you can learn to brace at any angle you please. If anyone has trouble with bracing that just means you're not practicing bracing enough. (Same with remounting). This includes both Stroke Braces which are minor-to-moderate balance corrections done mid-stroke which do not slow you down, and also Slap Braces in which you slam the back of the paddle down and lose a lot of speed. If you have good balance and perfect the stroke brace, very little (ideally zero) slap bracing is needed. And as the Mocke's say "if you're slap bracing more than once every few minutes you should be in a wider boat".
So view Feather Angle and Bracing as separate items to perfect. They're related, but I think finding your natural angle is more important long term, then just learn to brace at whatever angle feels ergonomically right.

Currently paddling a Kai Wa'a Vega Flex in Southern California's ocean waters
Past Boats: Epic V10g1, Stellar SRg1, Fenn XTg1, Swordfish S
"When you've done something right, they wont know you've done anything at all"

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5 months 3 weeks ago #38074 by waverider
zero is just easier for complete learners to get going, then they acclimatise to it. If you can stay upright from the get go you are more likely to stick with it. One of the things oscar promotes about it is it reduces tendency to dominant bracing on one side, even if its not the optimal side.

Paddling with zero or low feathers is practically a different technique than high feathers, and the main reason folks cant switch so easily. 

I just go with what is most ergonomic for my style which is around 25 degrees and not really having a control hand.

Keep in mind Oscar has huge self belief, and what he does is absolutely dead right and everyone else is absolutely wrong...So take that into account when following his teachings..Different strokes for different folks, but everything is worth a try

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5 months 3 weeks ago - 5 months 3 weeks ago #38075 by malvina
Hi Matt

I posted the same question about 3 years ago (and based on the same OC video that you mentioned). I suggest you read that thread as there are many good comments from expert paddlers. Rob also wrote a great article on the subject for which he checked the opinions of Chalupsky and Barton. I attach both links:

www.surfski.info/forum/18-training/19159...technique.html#30925

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

As for my personal experience, I went down to zero degrees over a period of several months. Once there, I realized that I had to constantly concentrate on the rotation of the shaft in my hands to make sure that the blade entered the water perpendicular to the boat and, even so, video footage showed that I had a tendency to have the paddle a bit open at the time of entering the water. I then started to slowly increase the feather and I have found that a 25 degree feather allows me a clean, perpendicular catch that feels natural and does not requires me to be thinking about shaft rotation all the time. Based on that, I would second previous comments to find the angle that works best for you. 


Hope this helps
The following user(s) said Thank You: mrcharly

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5 months 3 weeks ago #38077 by Jef58
Another thing, Oscar has a lower paddle height than, say like a K1 paddler. For me, the lower the less feather is needed. I run around 15' and it seems to work but change when going in different conditions. If I paddled in flat water with a K1 boat, my stroke would be higher and use a higher angle. 

Another thing I wondered about in these discussions is the type of blade you are using. Different brands have slightly different shapes that could determine what angle is best for you as well.

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5 months 3 weeks ago #38079 by Wombat661
I have been doing 0 degree paddle since the beginning 4 years ago. I like the symmetry and like to feel more confident with bracing. Since I used nothing but 0, to me, is perfectly normal to use 0 deg. I never have to think about it.

With all the recent talks on the forum about 0 being bad, I tried using feather angle. For the life of me, I can't paddle. Tried it at 35deg. Just one stroke, and it pulled me into the water. Tried again at 25deg, still no good. Tried again at 10 deg thinking is almost nothing. Still can't paddle a single stroke without getting pulled into the water. Tried to paddle slowly, still can't do it. Evidently, there is a quantum leap between even 10 deg and 0 deg.

With 0 degree, my lower grip hand is loose while upper grip controls the angle. During recover, the lower hand grabs the paddle at the right point in the stroke, and becomes the control hand while the other hand lets the grip loose. The point on recover stroke where your exchange grip determines the final angle at stab. Over time, you figure out at what point in the recovery to exchange the grip hand. That point is the same for left and right recovery. If you need a different paddle pitch, you can adjust the transition point to latter or earlier in the stroke. Changing the timing of the exchange would effectively allow you to change the paddle pitch on the fly. Getting the pitch right becomes second nature. Is so normal you don't even think about it. It also helps that I am using an Epic oval paddle shaft. At this point in my paddling career, I don't see any disadvantage to the 0 deg feather. Could have been a longer learning curve, but I will never know :)

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5 months 3 weeks ago #38080 by sarzelopez
I used to paddle 0 degree, made the swtich to 37.5 and never looked back. If you do mostly downwinders (i believe Oscars advice is downwind oriented) it problably wont matter. Here in Panama we have to comeback against the wind most of the time, the difference in wind drag feeling is quite noticeable between 0 and 37.5.

Going with the wind I would'nt say I see any benefits from either. No matter wich angle you choose you still have to be on point with your propioception for the blade to enter the exact same way everytime, after a while it becomes automatic.

If i where to change to 0 now, I would spend atleast 1 day getting pulled under.

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5 months 3 weeks ago - 5 months 3 weeks ago #38081 by Arcturus
I’m using zero feather with a Gara Odin S paddle and happy with both. No pains or strains or awkwardness.

Many years ago I experimented with different feather angles, when I was paddling a sea kayak, using a Euro blade. I learned on zero feather, had my braces and a roll on one side, when a coach who favored nonzero feather angles suggested I switch. I did, for the rest of that year. The brain can adapt:  I got used to all the same paddle strokes/braces as before, AND I finally got my “other-side” roll down.

However, there was no advantage whatsoever in having made the switch. At the start of the next paddling year, I decided to test which way felt more natural after months of winter-forced nonpaddling time. First up was the slight (15 degree*) feather I had switched to and gotten used to. It felt OK. But when I switched BACK to zero feather, it just plain felt better. I retained all the strokes and both sides of the roll. 

And that was enough for me to stay with zero feather. I don’t race, and someone who wants to might want to keep experimenting. For me, no injuries or undue fatigue, and making gradual improvement in my average speed is good enough.


* I had also experimented with 30 degree feather and it was actually uncomfortable physically.

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5 months 3 weeks ago #38082 by mrcharly
This will have a lot to do with your paddle angle and how much rotation you have, particularly how much 'forward' rotation.

If you have a steep (paddle nearly vertical) paddle style and reach forward with a lot of rotation, then you'll need some feather,  or you will have to manually feather the shaft.  Nothing wrong with that.

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5 months 3 weeks ago #38083 by waverider

mrcharly wrote: This will have a lot to do with your paddle angle and how much rotation you have, particularly how much 'forward' rotation.

If you have a steep (paddle nearly vertical) paddle style and reach forward with a lot of rotation, then you'll need some feather,  or you will have to manually feather the shaft.  Nothing wrong with that.


This supports what I see with K1 flat water paddlers vs ski paddlers. K1s have narrower catch and often more rotation with higher top arm.  Skis are wider catch with paddlers typically keeping top hand lower and more use of intermittent skim bracing. As a result K1 paddlers using low feather are few and far between, and then typically usually crossover ski paddlers they are almost universally around 60 degrees, , whereas ski paddlers have a whole range of settings.

if you adopt low feather then it makes it near impossible to use a loaner fixed length paddle as they will nearly all be set at 60 degree, When I tried it I swam first stroke starting off on flat water on a boat I was otherwise 100% stable

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