Amount of Paddle Feathering

I just bought a new paddle and the feathering is adjustable in 15 degree increments. The scale goes up to 60 degrees (30 being the mid-point). One older book I read said the feathering should be 80 degrees.

When I set it at 60 I could not turn my wrist enough to bring the left paddle into position. 15 or 30 seemed better.

Suggestions on the amount of feathering please?

Only you are going to be able
to decide what angle will work good for you. You could talk to other people and get their opoinion or even better, paddle and get comfortable with a particular angle.

The guys over at Lightning Paddles have a site with stuff about feathered paddles.

Good advise
There was a time when extreme feathered paddles (80 degrees plus) were accepted. A few years ago the angles began to lower and with it the experiences of carpal tunnel.

The whole reason for feathering is to reduce blade wind resistance during the stroke. Your paddling style coupled with water conditions and trip length dictate what is good for YOU.

The advise “if it feels good its probobly right” is good advise. Go with it.


More info needed…
…If it feels good doit, probably isn’t bad, but

there are exercises you can do to help.

What kind of paddling do you do? touring or WW?

If WW are you a creeker/river runner or a


Touring in high wind makes lots of feather desirable. WW paddling, particularly play-

boating, requires faster recovery between strokes,

so less feather is desirable.

I had a creeking paddlle with 85 degrees and I

liked it because if I braced, the paddleblade was

just naturally in the right position.

Now my touring paddle has 60, my ww paddle has 45.

I am an inexperienced novice but have read a lot. As I understand it, feathering is most useful when water hits your “out of the water” paddle as the feathering allows it to slice through the water which has much more resistance than air.

A downside of feathering is that a crosswind hits the face of the paddle instead of the edge if it is not feathered.

technique ?
what the others have already said is right … but i’d add that if 60° makes you unable to get your left blade in proper position, your technique may be at fault. correct forward stroke is more about arm position as you move from left to right blade in water. if your wrist is too involved you’ll end up with wrist problems and in turn, elbow and shoulder problems due to faulty paddle stroke.

What are you paddling with it?

Is being discouraged as more paddlers who do it are suffering from wrist injuries. The benefits of a feathered paddle seem minimal even in the stronger winds. Unless you are a racer who is concerned with even the weight of your wrist watch, then I would just forget about it. Such cutting edge techniques may become important if you become a competetor, in the the meantime, just relax and paddle away.

Technique is the answer
I just finnished watching “The Brent Reitz Forward Stroke Clinic” DVD and then trying it dry and there is no wrist movement necessary. It is all in the body and arms.

Some book I read said that you achieve proper paddle position by rotating the paddle with your wrist but I think this is wrong.

WS Tarpon 160 SOT
I just bought a WS Tarpon 160 SOT but have not paddled it yet. I am a novice and am just learning on dry land for a few days. Want to learn as much as I can before going wet so I do not pick up bad habits.

The paddle is a Werner Kalliste.

just not true
Sorry, but this is pure misinformation. Paddling with a feathered paddle is no more likely to cause injury than paddling with an unfeathered paddle. The reason people get injured is poor technique. Watch the Brent Reitz video for a good explanation of proper technique with a feathered paddle.

Discouraged by whom?

Hey Jim,
a feathered paddle has nothing to do with weight.

Most two piece paddles can be set for straight or feathered.

My Epic is the same weight if I use it feathered , (which I like) or straight.

Also I would think it would be easier to end up with a sore wrist using an unfeathered paddle.



Feather or no and whether either causes wrist problems depends on technique. Feather isn’t discouraged. Matching the feather to the stroke or matching the stroke to the feather is encouraged.

I use a high angle stroke with a straight-wristed roll-over of 70-75degrees. Less feather would probably be more of a risk to me because I’d have to bend my wrist funny to make the catch work unless of course I was using a lower stroke angle. No feather just wouldn’t work.

This afternoon while goofing off during my cool down, I dropped my hands and paddled low angle with my 75degree right control paddle and sure enough I had to cock my wrist back to get the catch correct. If I paddle low angle I’d need something like 50-60degrees.

Do it if it feels good
I paddle 75-80 deg. Usually with a 196 Lightning paddle wheter I am on the river or touring. I use a 215 windswift in strong winds or days over 20 miles. Your feather and mileage will vary

You shouldn’t turn your wrist at all
That leads to wrist problems. You control the angle of the blade with your forearm.

I use a variety of paddles - a 90 deg feathered Toksook, a 60 deg feathered Werner Kauai, and an unfeathered GP.

In a very strong cross wind, I have had the 60 deg feather fly out of my hands. In those conditions, either 90 deg or unfeathered works best.

Learn the proper technique for paddling correctly and forget about cocking your wrist to adjust the blade–that’s just plain wrong.


A religious war, as you can see!
Feathering has a slight efficiency advantage. Feathering at higher angles requires that the paddle rotate for proper placement with the non-control hand, even with excellent torso rotation. For most people, an angle of about 12 degrees is neutral with a straight shaft paddle. So your choice is taking advantage of less wind resistance and having to rotate the paddle or putting up with less efficiency and saving your wrists.

Bracing would be weird with a NON-Feathered paddle!!! It would NOT be second nature!!

Don’t see why.
If you can brace on the control side and its not strange feeling then you can do it on the non-control side. With no feathering it is the same on both sides.