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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Mods - I need to cross refer to a couple of other forums here. To avoid this would be simple plagarism. I will however provide my understanding as to what it all means. Hope you are cool with it. [mod edit: Absolutely. Red.]

The discussion of paddles is one of those topics that keeps cropping up. Inevitabally wing blades come up as a high tech solution. I am on record as firmly recommending that if we need to ask about it, the wing is not for us. I stand by this. BUT recently have been toying with doing some flat water racing - time trials and the like. No I am not talking about attempting to become an athlete. if it werre running, it's the step between jogging for fitness and doing a fun run - not the step that targets the London marathon!

But it means the wing blade topic issue returns to haunt me.

Strangely enough information on the intentions of wing blade design is seriously poor, sketchy or just missing. Discussions with the professionals in the shops is good to a point but clearly missing a holistic overview - unless you are lucky enough to cop someone like Dean Gardiner in Manly. Even then I felt his advice was sensational if was looking to upgrade to a Fenn, not really sure about suitability for a fishing ski or even for rec sea kayaking.

Fortunately right now there are a couple of threads on other forums that have beeen replete with serious information. Brain overload stuff. For those interested in the tech detail check out:-

surfski.info:
http://www.surfski.info/forum/2-announc ... tions.html
http://www.surfski.info/forum/2-announc ... water.html

And to a lessor extent sea kayak forum
http://seakayakforum.com/viewtopic.php? ... 3177f1eba5

If you have a chance check thenm as background to this thread. The input is not perfect for us because:
1/ these guys are target 12km/h compared to our 6km.h (or 9km/h if you are seriously chasing speed). A paddle suited for 12km/h is not necessarily suited also to 6km/h
2/ even the most sleek Stealth at 60cm, or my SIK for that matter at 54cm are fat hippo's compared to racing kayaks and skis - 45cm not unusual, 38cm at the catch etc. Any paddle effectiveness from moving the blade sideways (ie all wings) is highly compromised on our boats. There just isnt as much "sideways" left for the paddle.
3/ paddle selection for these guys, at least for the novice, will look for a paddle that is forgiving and helps stability. For us stability should already have been answered by yak selection.

At the end of the day, the paddle I seem to be looking for is:
parallel edge
traditional parallel edge, not the modern long and skinny versions
twist to be minimal
cant to be minimal
blade to be stiff
shaft to be soft
EVEN SHORTER THAN MY flat paddle


It's not something I'll bounce into in a hurry, and my wonderful Mitchell carbon flat blade will be what I keep using for fishing. Check it out and see what you think. I will be trying to summarise and to work through how it might apply to us.
 

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Sounds like you have a very definite idea of what you want dru. That comes with training & skills I guess.

It doesn't sound like what you after but you are more than welcome to try out my Epic Mid Wing some time. It is a 205-215cm two piece with adjustable feather, burgundy shaft.

I just watched "The Brent Reitz Forward Stroke Clinic" DVD - bit of a revelation for me in terms of paddling technique for me - need to start again almost from scratch I think but at least I feel like I have some idea of what I am aiming for now having seen step by step video.

He is a big fan of wing paddles although he does also use flat blades. The two main advantages he talks about were the wing paddles speeding up & encouraging your rotation & having a superior catch to flat blades. All just theory to me but sounded convincing to a complete novice like myself. His stroke for a wing as opposed to a flat blade didn't seem that much different for his straight forward stroke.

He was saying that he does use wing paddles to do high braces, low braces & draw strokes when white water racing. He didn't seem too arrogant so I don't think he was saying it to be arrogant, just to show that it is possible.

Not having had any paddling training, I took a very simplistic approach to choosing whether to go for a wing paddle. I just looked at the guys doing surf ski racing & figured that they were pretty much the elite of ocean paddle racing. I wanted, (& still do) to get to the point where I would be able to cover large distances in good time if required. All the theoretical material I read seemed to indicate that there was some efficiency to be gained by using a wing, so I went for it. No regrets, just need to work on my paddling technique & fitness. At least now I feel like I know that the constraints are more to do with me than the equipment now.

Good luck with your love/hate relationship with wing paddles. Playing devil's advocate, I wouldn't be surprised if one day you start spending at least some of your time paddling with one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Great to see some input. There is no one answer and no "right" answer (though there are some wrong ones!).

For paddling style, the Epic video on the forward stroke is a decent start. The architype stroke is often refered to as "the Barton Mold" being the paddling style demonstrated by Greg Barton, multiple US Olympic medalist in K1. Greg is one half of the team that created Epic - the other being Oscar Chalupsky the Saffer ski champion chasing down yet another Molakai win this time in his 50's. Personally I dont rate the Oscar technique as a good training tool but Greg is simply awesome.

Here is a quick reference to Barton style: http://www.canoekayak.com/skills/paddli ... ke-barton/

Back on wing blades themselves.

From what I can tell there are only about a dozen wings that have been truly designed from scratch as orignal thnking. And these can be categorised into modifications over a group of about 6. Some of these are historic anachronisms, eg the original Swedish wing is described as the only "true" wing and requiring a tortured stroke. It has been entirely aboandoned now.

And then for our purposes we can settle down on only three types of wing blades.

1 parallel edge wing - generally said to be forgiving with the power applied in a linear fashion throughout the stroke - of all wings, said to most encourage rotation and good style.
2 tear drop wing - said to "front end" the power delivery but requires more attention at the catch and the exit, So will encourage rotation but will need a level of style to start with in order to get full advantage and control over the wing.
3 a hybrid between the two, where the real difference is a heavy "twist" to the blade. Action is described as having a "spike" in power at mid-stroke which is seen as useful to some racing paddlers who are able to synch this characteristic with hip rotation and pressure through the foot pegs. I cant see how it could be claimed that such a blade will encourage good style. Style an obvious pre-requisit to the blade in my thinking.

Amazing that we can simplify the whole world of wings into just three groups.
 

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I bought one of the Stealth wings with my 465. Just thought I would make the popular choice and work things out from there. I've watched the videos and farted around with feathers and lengths until things felt more right and less wrong. Ended up at the settings Dru recommended in a previous thread 220cm and 60 degrees.
The sideways stroke had me puzzled for a while and then I thought of it like skating, from then it just started feeling smoother and rythmic. I quite like the stroke of the wing now, not sure if it givs me any more speed or efficiency but it feels good.
 

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I had a funny feeling that you would have done your research & would know all the ins & outs dru.

I was doing a bit of obsessive online research there for awhile before being totally overwhelmed & deciding to go with an archetypal paddle that I had tested out for a little bit & enjoyed in the Epic Mid-Wing. Have to admit that the decision was influenced by Greg Barton & Oscar Chalupsky using them, along with Epic being a well established company that I didn't think was going to disappear overnight, so still should have been able to find someone to chase for support if I had some sort of horrendous failure.

So after all that, what sort of paddle did I buy? :lol:

The offer still stands if you haven't tried an Epic Mid Wing & want to give it a try, you are more than welcome to give mine a go. I'd be curious to know what you think, especially if you have been giving a few others a go.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Salty Dog said:
I had a funny feeling that you would have done your research & would know all the ins & outs dru.

I was doing a bit of obsessive online research there for awhile before being totally overwhelmed & deciding to go with an archetypal paddle that I had tested out for a little bit & enjoyed in the Epic Mid-Wing. Have to admit that the decision was influenced by Greg Barton & Oscar Chalupsky using them, along with Epic being a well established company that I didn't think was going to disappear overnight, so still should have been able to find someone to chase for support if I had some sort of horrendous failure.

So after all that, what sort of paddle did I buy? :lol:

The offer still stands if you haven't tried an Epic Mid Wing & want to give it a try, you are more than welcome to give mine a go. I'd be curious to know what you think, especially if you have been giving a few others a go.
Salti,the Epic mid wing has a reputation for a reason. I have total respect for Barton, and he is meant to have designed this wing. I'll admit I'm taking some time getting there. But it's more about looking at where we are and why these wings might be worth looking at. BTW your Epic mid wing is seriously to my spec. Guess there is a reason for that.
 

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I am having similar thoughts on paddle types considering my recent purchase and have come to the conclusion that while wing blades tick all the technical boxes for the serious paddler I am still leaning towards the Euro style blade. As all my paddling will be flat water and on my own I just don't see how I would benefit from a wing blade at my current paddling capabilities.
Thanks Dru for the links in your opening post I spent quite a lot of time reading them but I thought most of the info was aimed at the elite level of paddling ( far from my abilities) but I did appreciate the information they provided .
As my needs and capabilities change I will probably revisit the links for reference and guidance.
In the near future I would like to test a carbon fibre Euro style blade but my locality complicates such an exercise.
I am a present using my old Carlisle Magic 2 piece fibreglass and know there must be something better.
Cheers , Richo.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Richo, I honestly believe that the europaddle is the right answer. But I am looking forward to playing with wings. Mainly because I'm looking into racing so you kind of have to.

I've done a couple of runs with the knysna that came with my Stealth. I suspect it is an epic copy. More or les parallel but with slight adaptations to make rough water a little easier. On the Profisha hard work but clearly powerful. On my SIK... Instant paddling injury. Strangely enough lower leg, so I guess my leg extension and hip rotation must be doing something. Think the problem is the paddle is too long and I didn't deal with the power.

It's vexed though, getting decent info is tricky, and a wing blade is not IMO a natural fit our fishing yaks.

On the europaddle front I am absolutely stoked with my carbon Mitchell Bomborra. Worth checking.
 

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How long is your knysna dru? (P.S. that is not code for anything other than your paddle! ;-) )
 

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Only reason I asked how long is that I think read on a surfski forum about people having them cut down & made into two pieces, etc. Don't know whether the $$$ are enough to not make it worth your while.
 

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Dru, While i admit i know nothing, i remember when Bazz told me to get a wing paddle with my new 550. He said 210-213cm no longer otherwise it works against you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Scott one of the references I posted indicated that K1 paddlers looking for more resistance (power by increasing shaft length), none of them go beyond 215.

And no way I have that sort of strength. Interesting how accurate that Barry always was.
 

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Seems like the wing paddle is the Mirage drive of the paddle world.
Supplies straight line drive with reliance on a rudder for turning. Not gread for turning, going backwards etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
avayak said:
Seems like the wing paddle is the Mirage drive of the paddle world.
Supplies straight line drive with reliance on a rudder for turning. Not gread for turning, going backwards etc.
Absolutely. And the analogy is spot on.

They are fantastic at go forward. (When used with the right sort of boat.) Some Skeg sea kayakers use them, but honest there's got to be a better way. The parallel edge form wing is more forgiving than the others. This means also better at blending strokes, but still won't match a flat blade. Still the parallel wing is used by some sea kayaks that dont have a rudder. I think it a clumsy choice and there are control strokes that just won't work, including rear rudder. (A so called tech stoke that is actually used by AKFFers mostly in surf). Or at least you need a wing with a flat reverse face to get purchase on a rear rudder.

Unlike a mirage drive though, any paddle will give you a feel for he water, just wing paddles don't let you do so much in response to the feedback. Might be a different situation if your paddle speed tops 9km/h. Sustained. Mine doesn't. But I'm working on it and checking out the options for when I want serious fast.

And I will get out my euro blade flat paddle with crank handle when i go fishing.

Horses for courses.

If you must use a wing on our yaks, the popular Epic mid, which is a mild tear drop shape, is absolutely as tear drop as you want. Look for a true parallel wing. But you may very well do better with a quality euro bade flat paddle. They also come in carbon. :?
 

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Hi Dru,
I have a Max paddle after starting with a Finn plastic wing blade. I reckon I get 20 percent more grunt into the water than with a conventional paddle. The Max is a two piece and I have played around with the length, 214 down to 210, amazing the difference a small increment can make. Settled on 212 at the moment but it's nice to go down a bit if things get choppy.
By the way I Got my first GT off the XT the other day, sure livens up a training paddle. Only a couple of kilos but I was pleased to see it could be done without much wobbling!
Cheers, Dave.
 

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Seems like the wing paddle is the Mirage drive of the paddle world.
I feel so dirty! :lol:
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
mrwalker said:
Hi Dru,
I have a Max paddle after starting with a Finn plastic wing blade. I reckon I get 20 percent more grunt into the water than with a conventional paddle. The Max is a two piece and I have played around with the length, 214 down to 210, amazing the difference a small increment can make. Settled on 212 at the moment but it's nice to go down a bit if things get choppy.
By the way I Got my first GT off the XT the other day, sure livens up a training paddle. Only a couple of kilos but I was pleased to see it could be done without much wobbling!
Cheers, Dave.
Hey Dave! It's amazing just how much more strength there is when you shorten up the shaft length. All of a sudden the same paddle feels vibrant when it felt sluggish before.

Man, 20% improvement! Geez, I want that! But I reckon "feel" and measurement might show differences. From recollection K1 times improved by 2% when the wing was introduced. A little unfair as the original wing sounds like a bit of a bastard. Still, I might test out what actual percentage advantage I can glean from a wing. Over the next couple of months maybe. So for the record, my first 6 k time trial ran out at just under 43 min. Not quite average 8.5 km/hour. Hope to see if technique can quickly get this to sub 40 and 9km/hour. Then we'll compare the wing. Can't tell you just how over the moon I'll be if it gives me 5%.

And 5% won't be anywhere near enough for me to consider NOT taking the advantages of a flat blade when kayak fishing.

But that's just me guys. Horses for courses. When I go 4wd-ing, I'd leave the Ferrari ( if I had one) in the garage and step into the Jeep.
 

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You are right Dru, 20% is way off, but I remember the first time I borrowed one off a guy on the beach. Wow, what a revelation. And it wasn't as technical as I expected. I guess I would go back to the old way if I was fishing rivers and creeks but for open water on a craft that is a pleasure to paddle? I'm sold.
Cheers, Dave.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
mrwalker said:
You are right Dru, 20% is way off, but I remember the first time I borrowed one off a guy on the beach. Wow, what a revelation. And it wasn't as technical as I expected. I guess I would go back to the old way if I was fishing rivers and creeks but for open water on a craft that is a pleasure to paddle? I'm sold.
Cheers, Dave.
"Enjoy" is what it's all about!
 
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