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Feathering paddle and wrist motion

I've just started learning real kayaking taking a couple lessons and learned about dominant hand and setting up paddle feathering for left, right, or neutral. Maybe someone more knowledge able they I can answer this question. If you have the option for setting up your paddle neutral or feathered in the appropriate direction for your dominant hand, which would require less flex of your wrist on your dominant side?

Reason I ask is being that I'm an older person learning something new, I want to avoid repetitive stress injuries and so regardless of efficiency, I may want to set my paddle up for less bending back and forth on my dominant wrist.

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Comments

  • I started with really heavy paddles and I learned feathered techniques with a dominant right.

    Then I got light thin paddles and also a Greenland paddle and found that an unfeathered paddle was easier when learning rolling.. And it was no more effort in the wind to have it unfeathered

    So I got way used to unfeathered. I don't use wide paddles though and do use carbon fiber or very light composited.

  • For flat water paddling I use unfeathered (neutral) specifically for the reason you brought up. I started out using a feathered paddle but stopped due to over use concerns. If I was in really high winds, I might consider feathering (haven't found the need to yet). For whitewater I do use a feathered paddle (fixed). Not sure why, I just do. I do not find it a problem going from one to the other. You might also try using a bent shaft paddle as it may keep your wrists in a more natural position. Some people like them, others don't.

  • If you have the paddle already, why not try it feathered and unfeathered and see which has less impact on you?

  • edited July 9

    Years ago a survey would say about 50/50 on feathering I don't know about today.
    When I was learning it was around Brit boats and German paddles, the paddles were all only feathered so I still feather, neutral feels weird.
    I later added a bent shaft to ease tendonitis.
    Pros and cons to both ways. I found as the wind picks up you tend to paddle more high angle and to me feathered is easier. It kind of depends on what you get use to.

  • The good thing is that you're just getting started. I would never teach dominant hand, nor wrist control. I only suggest unlearning it - never learning it. And I always use a feathered paddle. I'm not advocating for feathered or unfeathered. I'm suggesting that whatever you decide - decide and learn to do it without a control hand and wrist motion. I feather 60 degrees right-hand, and my goal has always been keeping my wrists straight. I promise you, the wrist thing is not part of feathering. It's just that years ago some folks described it that way, may have even done it that way, and it just stuck - oh has it ever stuck in kayaking vocabulary?
    Most folks I know go unfeathered. To this day, I still hear folks talk of control hand and wrist control with feathering. I don't really bother with explaining or demonstrating unless asked. Just know it's not part of good technique with a feathered paddle.
    Here's a quick thing to think about as you're getting started, which is a very simple mechanical thing that you can think about in all your use of the paddle, including turning strokes, draw strokes, whatever. But especially the very repetitive forward stroke. With your upper arm resting against your body, point your lower arm and open hand, wrist straight, up to the sky. Now bend your wrist so that your straightened fingers point 30 degrees, 45 degrees, 60 degrees, 90 degrees. Then straighten your wrist so that your fingers are pointing back up to the ceiling. Now, without bending your wrist, lift your elbow, so that your fingers point down 30 degrees, 45 degrees, 60 degrees, 90 degrees. Now you already have demonstrated to yourself that you have a choice. You can rotate your paddle up to 90 degrees using your wrist, or you can rotate your paddle 90 degrees using your elbow. Just focus on never using your wrist, whatever you choose.
    The 2nd thing that I suggest keeping in mind is not gripping the paddle with either hand. There should be no control hand, regardless of feather angle, that needs to maintain a grip and constantly control the blade angle in your forward stroke. Think about hooking fingers pulling back on the shaft with the lower hand, and open fingers on the hand pushing on the shaft with the top hand. Obviously, you need to keep hold of your paddle. And things will feel more clumsy at first. But keep this in mind as you get into a groove. It's natural for folks to grip the paddle, not so natural to keep a relaxed grip. Focusing on open fingers and relaxed grips will allow the shaft angle to change in your hand without bending your wrists also.

    Hopefully this will help put you in a good direction. Again, most folks I know use unfeathered, and I don't care what you use - as long as you don't use your wrists and a dominant hand idea. I'm just happy to hear you're taking up a fun hobby. Good luck and have fun!

  • OP-- we were concerned about aches and pains as we already have those. Funny thing is that my partners bum shoulder responds well to paddling. Thinking it must be in part due to trying to paddle in form as some videos on here suggest.

    CapeFear-- you mentioned about a relaxed grip--my right thumb is the only part of my hand/arm eetc that seems to suffer. Would that be just gripping to hard? Admittedly, it does the same thing with the lawnmower, paint roller hand, using a shovel.

  • edited July 9

    actually you should strive for a very light grip. I do like Cape Fear.. pull back with finger tips and push away with palm of hand.

    Seems you may have an injury from something else. Perhaps work? Texting.. ( now running for cover!)

  • You can train yourself to get used to paddling just about any way you want, but there are good reasons to train yourself to do it the logical way. When you are paddling with the wind, or no wind, for most people, there is no particular reason to be feathered. Into the wind, there is plenty of reason to be feathered and it will become perfectly clear the first time you try to paddle into a very strong wind. The same is true with paddling while feathered with a strong wind on your beam. There's plenty to do without giving the wind a flat surface to work on.

    I know there will be paddlers who will argue the above and that's fine--whatever works.

    I'm right handed and I suppose that logic would indicate that my right hand should be my control hand. I don't know exactly why, but somehow I trained myself to use my left hand as the control hand. I can switch, but why mess with something that works.

    A sixty degree feather should be enough to deal with paddling into most wind, but there might be times when 75 degrees is called for. With a sixty degree feather, there is minimal to hardly any wrist flexing. It isn't by pure random chance that paddle manufacturers use sixty degrees on paddles that only offer two settings.

    I also might disagree somewhat with what some people prefer about pushing the paddle out of the water with an open hand. That means that you will be opening and closing your hands a lot and that could be tiring too. I do concur with relaxing the pushing hand, but I don't see the benefit in opening it.

    My final bit of advice has nothing to do with feathering, but I very strongly suggest trying some open fingered paddling gloves. Your hands will thank you for it. Hint: you don't have to spend a wad on official paddling gloves; there are lots of inexpensive open fingered gloves available that work just fine.

  • edited July 10

    No one I worked with since 2003 has taught a dominant hand thing, That is beyond old school now.

    That said, I found that my 12 degree offset whitewater paddle worked extremely well for me. I have tried a similarly minor feather with the sea kayak and it also feels good.

    I can also name people who teach a fairly big feather for efficiency and power. That is not exactly the same as the dominant hand idea though. You are using both hands equally, you just might find that the rest of the equation like torso rotation is better on one side than the other.

    Best advice for aging joints is as above, open the hand not in the water on every stroke. It gets automatic very easily and saves the wrist a lot of strain. After that it is torso rotation and placement of the blade to save your joints. I play violin and I can this works.

    Note that the bigger the feather, the more significant is the adjustment or rolling on what is for most their less adept side. aka the off side., Most of us find upside down orientation easier on one side than the other.

  • edited July 9

    For me, going with zero feather significantly reduced wrist fatigue, exacerbated by a history of wrist breaks/sprains and carpentry-related stress (hammers, drills). It also simplifies going back and forth between Euro and GP. FWIW, the GP causes much less wrist/arm/shoulder fatigue for me, and many others too - I use it most of the time now.

  • I tried not feathering this morning.Didn't like it but I have been using featherd for years.

  • Kayamedic--- never texted a message in my life. Still use an old flip phone--we are caught up in Mr. Peabodys Wayback machine.
    It does seem that at times not even putting the thumb on the bar helps-- mowing the lawn the PM have to check my grip.

  • @CapeFear said:
    The good thing is that you're just getting started. I would never teach dominant hand, nor wrist control. I only suggest unlearning it - never learning it. And I always use a feathered paddle. I'm not advocating for feathered or unfeathered. I'm suggesting that whatever you decide - decide and learn to do it without a control hand and wrist motion. I feather 60 degrees right-hand, and my goal has always been keeping my wrists straight. I promise you, the wrist thing is not part of feathering. It's just that years ago some folks described it that way, may have even done it that way, and it just stuck - oh has it ever stuck in kayaking vocabulary?
    Most folks I know go unfeathered. To this day, I still hear folks talk of control hand and wrist control with feathering. I don't really bother with explaining or demonstrating unless asked. Just know it's not part of good technique with a feathered paddle.

    I would like to reinforce this. Whatever you do, become consistent with it. Let your hands cradle, not hold, the paddle. The death grip on this paddle causes more overuse injuries than whether the paddle is feathered or not.

    Like many 40 some years ago, I started with a feathered paddle and was taught the "right control hand," methodology. I quickly dropped the control hand because, for me, it was just as easy to swap from hand-to-hand. Then, I started pushing the paddle in my rotation with an open hand. I really liked this and I find that eases a lot of the stresses. Since it worked so well on one side, I formed a claw on the other side and had an open palm and four fingers cupping the paddle shaft like talons.

    The first time I paddled in a storm, I was in Elkhorn slough and I experienced beam winds gusting in the 45-50 mph range (weather report cited this). In the slough, you are forced to pick a direction that is the shape of the slough, so you really cannot point your bow into the wind and ride it out.

    Whether the winds were actually that strong, I cannot state. What I can certainly state is that the swells on the bay were large enough that my entire 17' boat fit entirely on the face of the waves when I took it out onto Monterey Bay (easily 20 feet - as I could look back, see that my stern was on the wave, then look forward and see the top of the wave bearing down on me). It was pretty convincing weather.

    On the slough, my ability to control the paddle was gone. The beam winds either blew the paddle out of out of my hand or got under the windward side of the blade and lift the paddle. Effectively, when holding the paddle with a tight grip, I was actually bracing on the wind and had to let go to keep from capsizing. After about 1/2 hour of this, I was arm sore and beat. I unfeathered the paddle (something I read in Hutchinson and/or Dowd about beam winds) and, voila, problem solved. The blade was no longer parallel to the water, so air could not lift the blade from my hands. I was able to go back to my relaxed grip and paddle in (realtive, if not someone nervous) comfort. Turned out to be a great day paddling and there was a lot of wildlife taking shelter in the slough.

    I will never paddle with a feathered paddle again, but that is my choice.

    Rick

  • My experience: When I first started kayaking I did the feather thing. My wrist hurt. I went straight and my wrist quit hurting, Shortly after that I switched to the Greenland paddle and never went back. Feathers are for the birds.

  • Reading this I get the thought that when the blade is in the water then that side would be "gripped not hard" but the opposite hand would be lightly holding on and helping to guide forward and being pushed/directed forward with the shoulder extension and a bit of torso twist?

  • edited July 10

    Yooper16 -
    Pretty much yes. The in-water blade is mostly being pulled, you can do that with three fingers without a tightly closed hand. Unless you are really in the soup the paddle isn't going anywhere.

    And the more torso twist the less you are asking of your shoulder. Allows the wrist to be fairly straight as mentioned above. always healthier for the long haul.
    This is where pedaling comes in. If you can pedal to push your hip back a bit, it increases your torso rotation.

    The wrist issue from paddling is first too much tension, after that sheer use. If you boil it down, most of the above suggestions produce a less tense wrist.

    Also to someone above, I don't find alternately opening my hand at all tiring. I don't go any more open than needed to keep the wrist safe, but what I o feels pretty natural.

  • @Yooper16 said:
    Reading this I get the thought that when the blade is in the water then that side would be "gripped not hard" but the opposite hand would be lightly holding on and helping to guide forward and being pushed/directed forward with the shoulder extension and a bit of torso twist?

    I try to not grip the paddle at all, but the mechanics you describe are correct.

    Take the paddle in your hands and open your fingers. The paddle shaft will sit in the V between thumb and index fingers. That is the "push" side. As you rotate your body, arms are bent at the elbow and the rotation presses the paddle into this V. It feels remarkably solid.

    On the other side, hand is open in the same manner, but you curl fingers over the paddle shaft so that the shaft makes contact at the base of the fingers with the fingers forming a U shape over the shaft. This can be done without bending the wrist and keeping the wrist more relaxed reduces the odds of overuse injury.

    I use this "grip" even in heavy conditions. When rolling or bracing, I have to close the fingers on one side due to the forces involved, but I rarely close my fingers at all when paddling, regardless of conditions.

  • Not to argue the point, but if you're paddling at a serious pace, one hand is pushing (blade out of water) and the other hand is pulling. That's just the way it is and I would find it kind of hard to pull without closing my fingers and that's called gripping. When you're in big waves and strong wind, especially when going to windward, you'd better have a grip on the paddle, or you might lose it.

  • Glad the curtains are shut so that the neighbors can see me practicing while reading your posts.

  • Hey 12t, Get yourself a Greenland paddle and you don't even have to think about feathering or dominant hands.

  • magooch -
    I didn't say not to hang onto the paddle.Just that the force of the grip needed is often overrated and can leave damage to the wrists.
    I messed around yesterday when I was out, coming back from some wet work. Too lazy for a long paddle. Going into 12 to 15 knot wind and a little splash around a southern tip because it was low tide. Not unusual paddling conditions for many. The paddle drew back fine and was not going anywhere with one finger and my thumb. The more I rotated the less I needed in my grip.

  • @Yooper16 said:
    Glad the curtains are shut so that the neighbors can see me practicing while reading your posts.

    Wait, what are you practicing?

  • @magooch said:

    @Yooper16 said:
    Glad the curtains are shut so that the neighbors can see me practicing while reading your posts.

    Wait, what are you practicing?

    Guess I didn't think that one through> :)

  • My contact with the paddle appears to be the same as magooch. In flat water I can get away with the two/three finger approach and push with my top hand open, but the dynamics of waves, wind, and boat wakes changes that. Played around with that last night while a couple of ski boats were out yanking people around....and sliced my blade a couple times. That was disconcerting.

    I was looking at some forward stroke videos today and except for a couple of brief frames when explaining how to hold the paddle, the instructors have a full grip on their paddles, albeit lightly.

    @Yooper16 How's the bug situation up there? Are they still in full attack mode?

  • During the times when I've been caught in rough conditions, like the wind trying to blow the paddle out of my hands, I have used a very firm grip. Not quite white knuckles, but close.

  • Mosquitos are not bad, actually better than where we moved from. We lived in the area known as the Black Swamp in SE Michigan, so most things are an improvement up here.

    Black flies, seem to recall them being worse years ago, but we live intown in the thriving metropolis so maybe that helps. Recall them being really bad during our backpacking years.

    Mayflies are a bit heavier than I recall the last couple. Or are these Julyflies?

    Had a massive infest of army worms this year all over the area. The resultant moths laying for next year are starting to reduce. Overall for us not bad. Have visitors on and off for the next 6 weeks, and probably some of our road trips will come upon swarms of the little darlings.

    Hope to get out tomorrow --gonna re read this thread beforehand.

  • The whole grip thing is getting way overworked here. Most people likely show their whole hand on the paddle in regular circumstances. The point is that the force of the grip can be greatly reduced over what people starting out often assume. To the detriment of their wrist. A good way to find out if more work is being done than necessary is to pull fingers off the paddle side being drawn back to tell how little tightness you can get away with.

    There is distance, power paddling and there are exercises to discover more about limits in paddling. Both are a good idea.

  • Wind forces are minimal on an unfeathered paddle. Only when the wind is directly behind or in front (a rare occurrance, especially when following a coastline) will the wind "catch" the blade, even if the blade is fairly large. On a slim greenland paddle, the effects are considerably lower. There is no need, even in high wind (alone) for a full grip on the paddle. I just curl the fingers and leave the thumb loose. It often will not make contact with the paddle.

    When entering/exiting surf, however, or bracing, sculling, and cresting waves, a full grip is necessary. The forward stroke does (unless you are practicing surf or heavy paddle moves, as described above) require anything more than a stable platform between thumb and index finger. The forces involved are such that the paddle does not need to be gripped. The push locks the paddle in place on one side and the pull does so on the other. There may be some wind conditions where a full grip is needed with an unfeathered paddle, but I've yet to encounter them.

    With a feathered paddle, you pretty much must grip the paddle (though not as powerfully as some seem to think) at all times in winds. In heavy winds, this means holding the paddle quite firmly. Now, the wind has a very easy time getting, and grabbing the paddle. Many capsize when this happens. You cannot (or I should say, I cannot - I won't speak for others) shift weight quickly enough to lean on the paddle, so I am forced to release the paddle on the windward side. This causes problems, as well, but I can avoid the capsize as the paddle flops over in the air. In my experience, this will not happen with an unfeathered paddle.

  • The above sentence should read:
    The forward stroke does NOT (unless you are practicing surf or heavy paddle moves, as described above) require anything more than a stable platform between thumb and index finger.

  • I've certainly had the wind try to take the paddle out of my hands on several occasions. Sometimes feathering helps this. Sometimes it doesn't. Depends on wind direction. I tend to paddle high angle.

  • @Yanoer said:
    I've certainly had the wind try to take the paddle out of my hands on several occasions. Sometimes feathering helps this. Sometimes it doesn't. Depends on wind direction. I tend to paddle high angle.

    Ditto

  • I have tied feathering several times, and with the 15° many of my friends use, I notice little difference in back pressure from the wind. What I did notice was going into strong wind the feather tended to push the upper hand inboard on the left, and outboard on the right ( I use high angle). I found that tiring. Without feather, that did not happen.

  • edited July 13

    I am curious about the control hand statements earlier in this thread. Could someone elaborate why one should not use a control hand with a feathered paddle, and what one should do instead to twist the paddle shaft into the correct position before the catch?

    I would like to give some background for my question:
    When I do a paddle stroke, the paddle shaft twists forwards during the stroke. So with an unfeathered paddle, I will after the stroke have to twist the paddle shaft backwards (bending my wrist up) so I reset the paddle blade position before I do the catch in the opposite side.

    Whether this is caused by body mechanics or by a subconscious effort to keep the blade perpendicular to the kayak movement direction during upper body rotation I don't know. I just know that it happens. I also know that it is not just me who does it this way, because:

    2 years ago I joined a wing paddle class. Here the concept of "correct feathering" was explained. The feathering for a right-handed wing paddle is correct when you can go directly from the end of a stroke on your left side to the catch on your right side without doing anything to reset the paddle blade position. So this acknowledges that the above described twist of the paddle shaft during the stroke is actually supposed to happen.

    OK. With the basics down, now let us go back to the control hand issue. What happens when we end a stroke with a right-hand feathered paddle on the right side and want to do a catch on the left side?

    It should be obvious from the above that we need to twist the shaft backwards a lot - double of what is needed with an unfeathered paddle. Not only will we have to reset the twist we did during the stroke on our right side - we also have to counter the feathering.

    I think it is also obvious that our left hand hasn't followed the twist of the shaft during the stroke on our right side. We push with an open hand, so the shaft will twist freely in the open hand. So our left hand will now be in the wrong position on the paddle shaft.

    As I see it, we now have two choices when we want to bring our left hand into the correct position on the paddle shaft and twist the paddle shaft before the stroke:
    1. We can twist the shaft backwards with our right hand, letting it slide in our left hand. The right hand is probably already in a good initial position for this, because it will have followed the paddle in its forward twist during the stroke. Now both the paddle and the left hand are in the correct position.
    2. We can bend our left hand forward - a lot. Then grab the paddle shaft and then twist back the paddle shaft. Now both the paddle and the left hand are in the correct position.

    To me, method 1 seems to be a much simpler and easier movement than method 2. And method 1 is the control hand method as I understand it.

    So those of you who use a feathered paddle without a control hand, do you really use method 2? Or is there a method 3 which I haven't considered?

    I acknowledge that this topic will be difficult to discuss, because most of us don't really think what we are doing when doing a movement. And we will often vehemently claim that we are doing the movement in one way while we are in fact doing it in a completely different way.

    My favourite example of this disconnect between what we do and what we think we do, is making a turn on a bicycle. Most people will deny that when they want to turn to the left, they start by turning the handle bars to the right. They will claim that they turn them to the left. But to keep the balance during the turn, you need to lean to the left. And the way you make yourself and the bicycle lean to the left is by turning the handle bars a bit to the right.

  • edited July 13

    Control hand thing, talking about me l presume. Fyi l watched this whole dialogue play out in a class with Ben Lawry. My recall is that he paddles with a feather, but its been a good long time so that could be wrong.

    When l do mess around with feather l think l use number 1 above. Can't vouch for whether the left hand gets a bit involved in returning the paddle to a forward angle as l finish the stroke though. I would have be on the water to check it out.

    But l have never once thought of my more functional hand as being controlling nor been required to. As the stroke moves from side to side with a feathered paddle the shaft has to rotate for a good entry into the water. I happen to be right handed so that determines which end spins how, but in the power phase each hand is alternately doing the same work.

    To me the shaft rotation is just something l do to get a clean blade angle and the hands are the servant of that goal. It may partly come from my earlier paddle boat time being a sit and switch canoeist. In my younger days l putzed around over moderate distances without any training. So l never learned a j stroke then. Speaking of something that is difficult on my aging wrists...

    Back to the start of this thread, for someone starting out new calling one hand a control hand has two risks. One is exactly what the oper states he is doing, bending his wrist back and forth with likely a tighter grip than is needed. Not good for the wrist. The other is that it can take focus away from things like torso rotation and blade placement that will pretty much set up the rest of,it.

  • In wind, I do not paddle with a high angle. I'm not sure I ever do except for steering manoeuvers in moving water. This may be why I have fewer issues with wind with an unfeathered paddle.

  • I think we're over-thinking this and my head hurts.

  • Me too. I guess we're not great thinkers.

  • @Celia said:
    But l have never once thought of my more functional hand as being controlling nor been required to. As the stroke moves from side to side with a feathered paddle the shaft has to rotate for a good entry into the water. I happen to be right handed so that determines which end spins how, but in the power phase each hand is alternately doing the same work.

    To me, it sounds like you are paddling with a control hand. You just avoid thinking about it as a control hand.

    I don't think that the difference between what your two hands do is caused by you being right handed. I am pretty sure that it is caused by the paddle being feathered for a right hand person. If you feathered it for a left hand person, your hand motions would switch sides, even though you are still right handed.

  • "Or is there a method 3 which I haven't considered?"
    Method 3.
    You are at the end of your power phase on the right side. Your left blade will need to rotate to be in position for the catch. But what else needs to happen?
    Your right blade needs to be lifted from the water into the air.
    At the end of the stroke, if I keep my wrist straight, and do nothing but a straight-wristed curl with my right hand, from the extended position in the water, all the way up onto my shoulder, I have rotated my left paddle closer to 180 degrees. This is obviously too far, and that's not how you want your right hand to end up. But it illustrates that you have a whole lot of rotation that can happen without flexing your wrist. With a high angle stroke, keeping my elbow down, I would rotate well over 90 degrees. Now I don't keep my elbow down when I raise my right hand. I lift my elbow as well. So what happens is that in between raising my hand, and raising my elbow, I end with the proper amount of rotation for the left-hand stroke. None of this involves bending my wrist to control blade angle.
    If you think of the paddler's box, and rotation, and how the blade face angle needs to remain constant in relation to the water while changing in relating to the direction your arms are pointing, that's a good way to think about the whole thing. I don't know anyone who describes that as something that they actively control with a firm grip and shaft rotation as they progress through the stroke. Most seem to say the power-face locks in and finds it's way with a loose grip and proper solid rotation. I find that to be true. Likewise, I raise the shaft on my thumb with both hands, with well-developed calluses on the thumb of each hand. The control of rotation is loose and not concentrated upon. The control is subtle, and doesn't require something so deliberate as a control hand with a grip and wrist twist.

    "I will after the stroke have to twist the paddle shaft backwards (bending my wrist up) so I reset the paddle blade position before I do the catch in the opposite side."

    A different version: When I raise my hand from the water, the shaft will rotate backwards with my hand without bending my wrist. The higher angle I lift to, the higher I will need to raise my elbow to control over-rotation, so I reset the paddle blade position before I do the catch on the opposite side.

  • Cape Fear. Thanks. Yes.
    Alanoleson, my husband was left-handed. Neither of us found any use for thinking of a hand as controlling.

  • @string said:
    Me too. I guess we're not great thinkers.

    me three, for heavens sake, been paddling around 35 years, feathered (right & left), unfeathered, euro, wing, greenland (not so much), and couldn't tell you anything about a control hand (hey, get your mind out of the gutter).
    -
    It probably says more about why I can do but not teach.

  • @magooch said:
    I think we're over-thinking this and my head hurts.

    Ditto.

  • @raisins said:
    -
    It probably says more about why I can do but not teach.

    You teach well because you skip all the extra talk and just go for what's not working after observing.

  • I briefly flirted with feather (or was that Heather?) for a short time when I first started out. I quickly found that it did me no good and have paddled neutral ever since. Reading this thread I'm glad to have done so because it seems way too complicated.

  • edited July 14

    Sparky
    When my husband and I started things were loosening up, but in general folks still got started off with some feather. With the advice that if it didn't work for you try reducing/removing it.

    What got both Jim and I to no feather was starting to learn rolling, seemed to simplify things not to have to to adjust the paddle side to side.

    Subsequent to that the emphasis on high angle paddling dominated. And more people messing with Greenland or Alook paddles. To feather or not got very optional in many circles.

  • edited July 14

    @Sparky961 said:
    I briefly flirted with feather (or was that Heather?) for a short time when I first started out. I quickly found that it did me no good and have paddled neutral ever since. Reading this thread I'm glad to have done so because it seems way too complicated.

    I did the same. A paddle was one of the first things I bought for myself instead of using equipment from the club. The very reason was that the club paddles had fixed feather, and I wanted to paddle unfeathered.

    However, I have after some years discovered that paddling unfeathered with an euro paddle makes my catch sort of sloppy. I do not twist the paddle enough before the catch, after taking the other blade out of the water. I still get a paddle stroke, but it is less efficient.

    When I paddle feathered, my catch on the right side of the boat will automatically have the correct twist (at least if I used the correct amount of feather). So here I will get a good catch and an efficient stroke. And on my left side, I will be forced to think about twisting the paddle so much that I get the same quality of catch on both sides of the boat.

    So paddling feathered from time to time can in my opinion be good for avoiding to get sloppy.

  • Hey 12t, Not only will you not have wrist issues with the Greenland paddle, you also don't have to think about the right side being up or the power face being right. All these feathering words... unnecessary.

  • Here's another little detail that some paddlers including myself might have a difference of opinion. I've read paddle ads that pointed out that their paddle shaft was oval shaped to fit your hand more comfortably. I've always thought that it is oval shaped so that you can sense with your hand that the blade is indexed correctly to enter the water. Whether, or not the oval feels better is secondary--or so goes my thinking. I've never broached the subject with a manufacturer. Anyway,, I'm very happy that my paddles have oval shafts (in the hand areas).

  • The oval shaft may help some. The feel of having some water under your blade, or behind it for forward paddling, is more tangible to me.

  • If you look at your closed hand, it tends to be oval shaped.

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