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Sea kayaks use offset paddles to reduce wind resistance. Those boats can go pretty fast and the wind resistance can be significant. You especially notice it in a head wind. These paddles generally have the blades offset 90 degrees for perfect feathering.

But, wind resistance is almost never big deal with white water kayaks--and certainly never for play boaters.

But, white water kayak paddles are usually offset only 30 or 45 degrees. But, a 45 degree offset still provides a lot of cross-section to the wind. It doesn't help much.

My question is: why offset white water paddles at all? We don't need it. Is the natural paddling motion smoother with a 30 or 45 degree offset paddles?

What about bent shaft paddles? Your can't really rotate the paddle with your dominant hand to compensate for the offset.

It's not a big deal, but I'm curious.
 

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Offsets are going away

It seems that high degree offset paddles are becoming obsolete. Most pro paddlers are using 0 to 10 degree offsets. I think the rest of the paddling community is slow to catch on but will inevitably get there. Everything that has to do with play boating is easier with a small degree offset. Easier on the wrists too. Perhaps a representative from a paddle company could post their opinion?
 

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You would be surprised how many experienced paddlers don't even know why their paddles are offset.
When you tell them it is because whitewater paddling evolved from flat water paddling, and in flat water, wind is big issue....

...they keep waiting for the rest of the explanation. (There is none.)

Traditions are hard to break, especially when people buy what is presented to them without thinking or asking why.

Zero is the way to go for most whitewater paddlers, and that is not an opinion.
-Dan
 

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"zero is the way to go for most paddlers, and that is not an opinion"

Hey guy, that's an "opinion".
 

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I started sea kayaking in the late 80's. I remember my first lesson on the 90 degree offset paddle. I was told to "learn how to use it" for the wind. I said, on that calm day in San Diego, "if it's that windy, I should be sailing." Sea kayaking gets very windy. I always hated the offset. I opted for a two piece, so I could be rebellious and set it to zero. Only in extremely, violent wind, and when I am completely exhausted, will I relent and set it to 90. I am still tarnished, among expert sea kayakers, for not priding myself on the offset skill.

Fast forward to first whitewater lesson, I was handed a paddle with a fixed 45 degree offset. Immediately I thought, "why is this paddle offset ... there must be some kind of "expert" whitewater technique that requires it." I hated it. Legacy dies hard, but some may actually like a steep offset.

Bought a new paddle... 12 degrees of freedom! Yahooo!

Disclaimer: I am a hack at both sides of this sport, so apologies to all offended.
 
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