back of hand pain

I am recently taking up flat water kayaking in the last month with a used Current Designs Storm gt 17’ boat. I did whitewater as a young lad so my comfort in a boat and paddling is fine. I have a straight shaft Werner Skagit low angle paddle.

I have checked out a bunch of educational material on the forward stroke on line and have the torso rotation going well along with a loose grip on the shaft using the ok sign shown by the Werner ed videos. I am using a 30 and 45 deg feather angle and developing a pain in the back of my right hand which is my dominant feather hand. I assume this is because that hand cocks back when the feather rotation happens for the left paddle stroke.

Any thoughts on how to address this issue? thanks Saxon

“Doctor, It Hurts When I Do This.”
“Well don’t do that.”

“That’ll be three hundred dollars. You can pay at the desk.”

I don’t mean to be a smartass. That’s just one of my favorite jokes. Seriously. You don’t need to feather a paddle.

You beat me to it
Why is it older people have all the aches and pains? They’re just not in condition to do these things any longer. Back off on the intensity and slowly work at developing fitness for what you’re doing.

My hands hurt when I rake the yard in the fall. Do you think it’s my grip or the wrong length rake and not enough torso rotation? Sorry for the cynicism but it ALWAYS a case of “you’re just not used to it”.

Worth considering
Very hard for anyone to say without seeing you paddle. But ideas…

You aren’t accustomed to it and need to moderate your hours at first.

You are pulling too big a paddle blade for what you need - think replacing size with cadence if you have gone big on the blade.

You are pulling the paddle too far back in the water (too long a stroke).

You may need to rethink feathering. Some folks, many in our pod which includes some very good paddlers who have gotten all kinds of certs, don’t feather.

keep that wrist straight
"I assume this is because that hand cocks back when the feather rotation happens for the left paddle stroke".

You may have answered your own question in that statement. You should use forearm rotation and not wrist cock to feather the blade.

You may be holding the paddle too horizontal. With a more vertical stroke you can feather the paddle with forearm rotation and neutral (flat) wrists. Whenever power is being applied your wrists need to be kept “flat” or you will run a high risk of injury.

Without a video, we can only guess. You could be trying to “push” hard with your airborne hand, rather than just keeping fairly passive arms and pulling strongly with your lower arm, driven by your legs and torso. The path of your paddle might be faulty. Although you say you are rotating, are you feeling it all the way down to your sit-bones? You could be arm-paddling with only a little rotation in your upper torso.

I’d ramp up slowly, as others have suggested. It would also be a good idea to have a good instructor look at your stroke to get you started with good habits. Injury is often a sign of technique flaws, or doing too much too soon with not enough recovery.

I really don’t see the point in feathering less than 45 degrees, if you decide to feather at all. At these low feather angles your airborne blade is strongly affected by violent headwinds (one blade lifts and the other blade dives) and you still lose symmetry – the worst of both worlds IMO.

Greg Stamer

Ditch the feathering.
If you are bending your wrists at all you are doing it wrong. Just look at the videos of Olympic flatwater paddlers. They do not bend their wrists. I only know of a few paddler who do no bend their wrists with a featured paddle so I have some practical tips that may help.

Get a coach. Flatwater racing coaches may be best for teaching an efficient forward stroke.

Get wrist guards like they sell for inline skaters and wear them for a bit of each session until you get used to keeping your wrists straight. When you start fighting the wrist guard you will realize that you are doing it wrong.

Ditch the feather. Unless you are a competitive white water slalom racer or flatwater racer the feather is doing you more harm than good.

I agree that getting rid of the feather is a good first step. I drilled a hole in a $400 carbon paddle to de-feather it 4 years ago - no regrets. When it gets real windy, I use a GP, which is even easier on the wrists than a no-feather Euro.

Wow! great set of comments from all of you, I will go to work on these. It is funny that when I was a teen paddler in the mid 60s being able to paddle with a feathered paddle,which in those days were at 90 degrees as I recall, was a sought after skill.

thanks again Saxon