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Discussion Starter #1
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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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.

-d
 

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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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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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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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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks

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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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.,

Scott
 

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Jay,

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.)

http://www.jimisnyder.com/

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.

-d
 

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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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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! :lol:
-Dan
 

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I have paddled a 0 degree offset for the past 15 years and I love it- here are my observations:

1) As you surmise, wind resistance is not a big deal for most of your paddling. The one time it was a pain was on a couple of long windy days on the Grand.

2) Paddle strokes (particularly duffek) and rolls are symetrical on both sides- no extra twisting of the wrist to set up for an off side roll or duffek stroke. This is the reason I have a 0 degree.

3) I'm not a physiologist, but the 0 degree offset seems to be a perfectly natural wrist position for me. I have had no problems with Carpal Tunnel or tendonitis. I don't pull during my paddle stroke- I punch with the opposite hand and the primary power from my stroke comes from torso rotation.

4) The 0 degree was awkward at first, when I switched from a 45. However after using it for a season I got used to it, and after the second season I preffered the 0 degree over a fethered paddle. I have had occasion since then to use a fethered paddle (ie- someone else's breakdown, or someone wanted to switch and try mine), and have found that I can switch back after a few strokes. Much easier for me than switching between Tele & Alpine ski equipment.

5) They are hard to find, and I have special ordered every one I have owned. I have ordered from Lightning and Werner and both companies sent me quality paddles in a reasonable time (I did order off-season).

6) Since both blades have the same orientation, every once in a while during a roll I experience some resistance while setting up because both blades are catching current. It doesn't happen often, and a quick adjustment / twist of the paddle typically does the trick.

Hope this helps-

Mark
 

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Hey Jay H. I've got a o offset paddle i found on westwater 5 years or so ago,never used it you can haveit.The catch it's one of those blue and yellow symmetrical blade Carlisles and its about 270 cm.
Jay F.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
270?!

270?! Isn't that what the vikings used? :p

just kidding--I do appreciate the offer.

And thanks again for all the input--next paycheck, I think I'm just gonna get a 15 or 12 degree minimal offset, so I'll still have some offset, and I don't have to hassle with special ordering. I'm thinking werner player right now
 

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Don't waste your time
Ask Livingston what his thoughts are of watching me use a 0 degree
The most f'ed up form ever
great for play boating ONLY
IMHO
 

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I've tried 0, 10 and 12, and paddled a 30 for years. 0 seem's like it's too much, but I really think that 12 is the perfect balance. look at your right wrist on a high left brace with a 30 compared to a 10-12 and it is obvious why you want less feather.
i do, and allways will use a 10 degree feather- special order or whatever.
my 2c...
 

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I've been using a 15 degree for the last year and love it. I'm looking for just enough offset so I don't have to rotate the paddle for the off side stroke in the next one. I'm thinking that is in the 8 or 10 degree. I'm not mutch of a play boater. Those of you that don't like them for down river, would you tell me why you don't like it?
 

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I have a 12 degree werner and it seems just right.
 

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I paddle a 0 & will never go back to anything else. Any argument you make for the offset, it seems to me, is turned to BS as soon as you use the other blade. I think most folks are just used to offset so that's why they stick with it. I have two broken wrists & any other paddle hurts them, so it seems that the 0 keeps my wrists in the most neutral position. My waterstick 8 deg was also very comfy.

My wife had a breakdown that we used to figure out what she wanted, we drilled a few extra holes in the shaft to offer different offset possibilities & she chose zero without any prodding or previous opinions.

btw, I mostly creek or run IV-V rivers. I playboat occasionally but the 0 hasn't magically made me a good playboater...YET.
 

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To add some fuel to the fire

Jay
Ok not to stir things up to much but in college I did a paper on offsets and how the anatomy of the human in relation to the forward stroke, sweep, bow draw, stern sweep and cartwheels. I had read a study that was done in the late 70's about this in relation to flat water racing and was interested. It was a British study and they found 60 degree to be the best.
Now before going any further what ever offset YOU feel comfortable with is what you should paddle with.
Ok if you look at offsets that are less than 60, some folks with 45 degree and watch people paddle look closely at there left wrist and elbow in relation to there right. Kent Ford shows this very well in his film Breakthrough. The less the off set the more folks tend to NOT drop there wrist and elbow under the shaft as they paddle ie, release there left had. This causes the wrist to be above the shaft and the elbow to be high. Not good for power, joint stablilty and stroke mechanics. So this in turn causes all kinds of wrist and elbow and shoulder problems.
Mechanics in relation to offset is very important. No matter what boat you paddle most, you still do more forward propelling strokes than any other. With a 60 degree offset there is NO wrist rotation you simply lift the blade up and you are in the correct anatomical position to paddle and the opposing blade is in the correct line for the stroke. For play boating I have never found myself "catching" my blades. If you are, it may be more of length of paddle issue. 45 degree offsets are still good for how the body works and easier to purchase!!!! I can jump form a 45 to a 60 real easily. As far as being symmetrical side to side as you rotate and want to keep you shoulder in a good protective position you still will need to release you left hand (on a right hand control paddle) to keep in a good mechanical position.
Again not to say you cannot have good mechanics with a 0, 12, 15, 30, 45, or even a old 90 degree paddle. Look at your paddling and make what ever offset you have work for you!!!!
It sucks for me to buy a paddle because I have to special order one!!!!! As everyone says try before you buy.

Happy paddling
Cheers JB
 
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