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Old 06-06-2005   #1
Littleton, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1998
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 263
0 degree paddle offset?

I am in the market for a new paddle and I am considering a 0 degree offset...but before I do, I figured I'd throw the question out here about paddle offset.

To the best of my knowledge, the primary purpose of paddle blade offset, in general, is for reduced wind resistance on open flat water.

Assuming that a river/creek gradient is sufficient to make wind resistance reduction unnecessary (i.e. not flatwater--the river power provides your forward motion, not your paddling), and considering that WW river and playboat paddling is a symetrical action:

Are there any other significant reasons to (a) use a paddle blade offset (of any degree) or (b) avoid a 0 degree offset?

If you consider an offset to be necessary--why? And what offset should be selected and why.

Any 0 degree paddle users out there?

thanks--I appreciate any insights

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Old 06-06-2005   #2
Livingston's Avatar
Denver, Colorado
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 679
0 degree

Look at your hand position as you pull and push on the shaft (or use your other arm, table leg, or whatever you got available in your office/home). In the most comfortable/efficient position, your fist should be rocked back as you push, with the shaft in the pocket between thumb and index. When pulling, the hand rocks down about 30-45 degrees and the bones in the back of your hand line up with the rest of your forearm. The paddle offset allows this wrist movement as you twist the blade. The 0 degree does not. The wrist movement allows for the skeletal structure to take more of the load than the muscles.

What is best? Get a protractor and see how far your angle changes between push and pull.

I've heard there are playboating benefits, but I'm not much of a playboater. I've tried a 0 and it was really awkward. Try one before you buy.

Somewhere Jim Snyder (I think) has a good description of why to use an offset, try a google.


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Old 06-06-2005   #3
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 305
this is what I read...
The 0 offset is useful in doing loops or any nose balance trick as both blades are flat on the water offering equel restience. It's also useful when you are doing your offside roll.

That is what the book says.

My personal experience with a 0 offset comes from flat water touring and as stated in an other post as you naturaly roll your wrist to paddle it felt uncomfortable the wind thing didn't really bother me as I wasn't going for speed.I have a werner 30 offset and really like it for whitewater.
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Old 06-07-2005   #4
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 20
zero offset paddle

0 offset paddels are hard to find first off. You usually need to special order them and wait a bit. Most shops carry a low offset paddel (20 degrees or less) I found this helps for anything when you have both blades in the water. Mostly bowstalls, sternstalls, and some double pump stuff. It just gives you a little bit of a brace on both sides. Try one first if you can. Only you know what feels good to you.
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Old 06-07-2005   #5
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 388
This is a tricky issue. I don't think experts can give you much advice since once you get used to an offset paddle--it feels natural.

I don't buy Livingston's scientific comment. Why should your wrist prefer an up rotation on the right hand and a down rotation on the left hand? Or a no rotation on the right hand and bigger down rotation on the left?

Once you learn with an offset paddle, you stay with it. It's not that big of a deal as long as the rotation is under 45 degrees. 90 degree rotation would hurt your wrist.
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Old 06-07-2005   #6
Littleton, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1998
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 263

Thanks for the input--the jimi snyder page was especially helpful. And of course I will try out as many as I can.
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Old 06-07-2005   #7
Kayak Inst./Guide
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 12
I use a 15 degree offset and love it. You don't want to go to a 0 degree,because it will change the paddle to a left hand control. I first order the zero and sent it back for a 15. Worked much better. As for paddling with a lower offset its great for whitewater. Really good for play boating. But I would say try one out before you buy. Alpine Kayak in the Vail Valley has one you could demo if your up that way. If not I think most shops would have one to try. My two cents.,

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Old 06-07-2005   #8
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Denver, Colorado
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 679

Glad it helped. (Here is the link we're talking about for the rest of the viewers, his explanation may make more sense than mine.)

Click on "Feather Rap"

Since the shaft spins in the left hand (for right handed paddles), your left hand should naturally assume the most comfortable position for the push or pull part of the stroke.

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Old 06-07-2005   #9
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Lyons, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1998
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MTCW, I paddled a 0 degree for an entire season. Much more creeking than play boating. If you mainly (or exclusively playboat) Then it may be right up your alley. If you mainly run rivers or creeks then what Livingston is saying is exactly the truth in my experience. I have a 0 degree you can try before you buy (this one however is very heavy and I thought I'd use it for creeking). It is extremely awkward to paddle and does take your wrist out of an ergonomic postion for pushing (top hand). The last thing I'll mention is that on a windy day paddling into Gore I was always hoping there was a new guy that was interested in the paddle so he'd ask to borrow it for the paddle in
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Old 06-07-2005   #10
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Indian Hills, Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2004
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I have heard of people modifying their aquabound paddles by shortening one blade to compensate for their dominant hand...perhaps you have already tried this!

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