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Discussion Starter #1
What is the advantage of having feathering on a paddle? I am relatively new at kayaking and learned to paddle with no feathering and it just seems like a pain to have 45 feathering.

I am also looking to buy a paddle for surfing and some flatwater and I am 6' 2". I am looking to spend about $200. What would be good paddle/size?

Thanx a bunch
Jeremy
 

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Feathering, I believe, came from the racing aspect of paddling. A feathered blade cuts through the wind more efficiantly, allowing for a faster and less taxing stroke. This is useful for us non-racers as well. Have you ever had to paddle up wind? It can be tough to get that paddle around without hitting oneself in the face with the shaft in a stiff wind. Feathering definately helps. Also, when playing it seems to be a good thing to have a fast paddle speed. I rarely see any 45 degree feathered paddles anymore. They tend to cause pre-mature wrist problems. More common now are 30 degree, I think. I may be off by a few degrees.

I can't help you out much with a recomondation, as I have not been in the market. Hope that helps. Maybe someone will retort my explination, as I may be mistaken. Happy hunting...paddle hunting, that is!
 

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You can have all your questions answered.

Go to www.jimisnyder.com

This is Jim Snyder's web page, Read "the feather rap" Jim's been building paddles for over 25 years and has done a ton of research on the topic. Some of the information may be just his opinion but it's very interesting. In his opinion there's a lot more to it than just the wind aspect. Check it out. Matt
 

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I have seen a few videos of people using zero offset paddles. Looks pretty cool. Use what you are comfy with and far as length that is a personal decision. For your height I would say around 200.
 

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I am 6.1 and started off with a 45 degree back in the day... WHAT A WRIST KILLER!
My opinion is not to go with a zero degree as the wind does become a factor at times and I don't think it is as natural to your bodies motion. ERDVM1 has zero and loves it, but for me and many others is a 15 degree is just perfect. Especially for bent shafts...

2 cents...

Craw
 

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You need to distinguish between bent shaft and straight shaft paddles because they register differently in your upper (pushing) hand. Too low a feather with a straight shafted paddle will leave you pushing with the flesh between your thumb and fingers- instead of the bones at the base of your fingers. This is not as good of a connection to get a lot of work done with. Funny thing about those bent shafts- they were introduced by flatwater racers many years ago- but then abandoned about 5 years ago- when it was corroborated that they don't substantially help.... The ww crowd still eats them up like candy tho- like it's new stuff or something.

jim 8)
 

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I have problems with my wrist and I would probably have to quit paddling if it weren't for bent shaft paddles so if, as you say, "they are candy" then give me another bite. I don't pay much attention to what serious athletes do with their equipment. The honest truth is that most of them never have problems with their bodies which is one of the reasons they are superior athletes. I would like to try a 15 degree bend, who makes them?
 

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Not trying to be a contrarian but I'll have to disagree about pro atheletes not being injured, Ask EJ and Tyler Curtis about injuries just to name a few. I think that's part of the sport and there will never be a cut and dry about paddle shafts, length, size, blades, feather.............Dogma is bad. Matt
 

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Not exactly sure where you are going with the Dogma comment but I will agree that pro athletes do get hurt but most of them have pretty amazing healing powers. As a rule due to the sponsorship game I don't pay much attention to what pro athletes use. Do you consider that Dogma?
 

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Crank Shafts, not Bent...

Flatwater racers used a crankshaft paddle. The bend in the shaft (bentshafted paddles) has nothing to do with adding more power to your stroke. It just alines the bones in your hands and wrists. Making for an ergonomic grip and hand placement.

A crankshaft paddle has a forward bend (about 12-15 degees), the bend or crank is located between the hands and the blade of the paddle. It is suppose to allow more forward reach, and permite more grab in a veritcal stroke while still maintaining proper body position. Also to allow quicker exit of the paddle blade.

Now most flatwater racers have switched to a wing style paddle. And you won't find those in your local play hole. That's one paddle only designed for the forward stroke.

Bent shafted paddles have helped many paddlers that have needed to take it easy on wrists and joints. I've been using one for the last six years and it's been great. No more sore forarms or sore elbows.
 

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Great info. Thanks.
 

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mo info

It seems the flatwater racers developed the crankshaft to make the pinky finger of the pulling hand happy- and it might do that. It was in an effort to improve the catch phase of the stroke and was inspired by the long standing and still used bent shafted marathon canoe racing paddles. But.... I would argue that making your pinky happy to get a better catch comes with some compromises- for instance- my pushing hand works harder than my pulling hand and this misallignment of the shaft doesn't really do anything for my pushing hand. It also gives me an uncomfortable hand angle for back strokes and duffeks(strokes flatwater racers never use) But the real reason I will never use a bent shaft is that I twirl and throw my paddle a lot (my bad) and you just can't with bent shafts. Also I shift my hands of the shaft to adjust stroke torque a lot and with bent shafts someone far away and long ago determined within a quarter inch where your hands will be at ALL times- I just can't live that way. I'm glad the bent shafts enable handicapped paddlers but I would argue that their wrist problems could be from blades which are too big and deliver too much torque to the paddler at any point. It's like slammin into third gear all the time- after a while it's not good for the system.
Not tryin to pick a fight- just the way I see things-
jim
 

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Wasn't trying to make anyone's pinky happy...

Not quite sure what field that one came from. Here check out this site. http://www.lendal.com They sell both bent and crank shaft paddles. That should help you get it.

As for calling people who use bent shafted paddles "handicapped". There's no limitations here. I just consider it preventative maintainance. I take care of my arms and they keep me paddling. Enough said.
 

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hmmm..

Well- I'll plead ignorance here. I kinda thought the terms "bent" and "crank" shaft were used interchangably. The Lendal website didn'te really clear it up for me(I'm slow) Does it have something to do with how the proscribed hand position relates to the final blade position?? This is all too much science for me. No wonder I never looked into it much.
I didn't intend to slam paddlers with chronic wrist problems by calling them "handicapped"- it's just that they seemed to be handicapped by the problem. I think the problem could stem from the huge blades that paddle companies sell. They don't like to change blade shapes much I noticed. Hey- they're making money with what they got- can't argue with that. But- before I quit on this- my point is that the bent shafts pay too high a price performance-wise- for the benefits they give- in my opinion. Just stuck in the stone age I guess. no big sin

jim
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanx for all the info. I think I'm gonna go with little or no feathering, but I dont know about bent or strait. I have never paddled a bent shaft before so I dont know if I like them or not, but I have wrist problems from snowboarding, so it might be better for it.

What do the wing shape on the touring paddles do? They dont really look like they would bight the water as good as a regular paddle.

thanx again
Jeremy
 

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All I have to say is that for 90% of us out there (myself included) once you paddle a bentshaft you have no desire to paddle a straight shaft again.

-Brian
 

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Keep it simple...

Straight and bent shafted paddles are very close in price. In fact some ergonomic paddles are cheaper than straight shafts. It all depends on the materials.

Bent shafted paddles have bends where your hands grab the paddle. They just help to align the bones in your wrists better. They are quickly becoming the norm.

A crank shaft paddle, bends near the blade of the paddle. This allows the blade to protrude forward, and reach past the normal range of a forward stroke.

A wing paddle has a spoon shaped blade. Very popular with the racing elite. (Wildwater racing, flat water, marathon, off shore, etc...) They provide a lot of grab in the forward stroke. It would be a bit overkill for everyday usage.
 

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Thanks for clearing up the difference between bent and cranked. Still sounds too racy for me. As far as striding sticks go- I don't make them anymore. Jeff prefers straight wood shafts for difficult runs because he really torques them (like when he's rolling) and cheap synthetics just don't hold up. But synthetics are light and the break downs are nice for travelling- so he uses them too. It's a similar problem for striding- where you often shift your hands for special effects while paddling and with a wiggly shaft paddle~ someone else has already decided where your hands will always go.
As per Buick's query regarding how wing blades help- they are used with a special stroke where the blade travels from close to the boat in the early part of the stroke to further out by the time the stroke nears your hip. This engages a "wing" aspect to the paddles performance because the blade actually trys to travel towards the bow as the stroke proceeds and the blade slices edgewise thru the water- can you follow that? The blade moves 2 ways- bow to stern- but also in to out- and provides more torque per blade area. So now~ they are looking at smaller blades- which tend to be lighter and stronger. Look for smaller, stronger, lighter blades to come from the mass producers of ww paddles in the near future.

Mountainbuzz is cool! They do good coverage of a lot of events us "backeasters" are interested in. Technically I'm not in the southeast- but the "mid-east" up near PA.

keep the fuzzy side up and the slick side down,
jim
 

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That was really cool for you to join this forum Jim. Hope you're enjoying it as much as I am hearing your insight. Hows the paddle coming?

As a side question when Dustan won the Teva Mountain games.....which blade was he using for that and what does he use when creeking? Matt
 
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