Changing feather angle

It seems there are a number of paddlers out there that alter their feather angle occasionally to adjust for wind, stroke level, etc.

While I agree that one can easily adapt to different degrees of feather angle with respect to a simple forward stroke on calm waters, I have to wonder how anyone doing this can have a truly reflexive brace or roll.

For a brace to be effective it must be executed nearly without conscious thought. An effective brace just happens. While trying to learn the unfeathered Euro paddle, I’ve found my bracing totally unreliable for rough water use.

I submit one should experiment with feather angle to determine the best position for them as an individual and then KEEP it there! Practice the rescue tactics and get things committed to the subconscious muscle memory. Only by doing this can one be truly prepared for the unexpected conditions that Mother Nature can easily inflict at her whim.

Adjustable ferrules are great - I love 'em… but I don’t think this is what they were intended for.

Ya know what’s better than having a great combat roll? Having a killer bracing repertoire!

Pleasant waters to all.


if you can adapt to the stroke…
… you should be able to adapt to the roll/brace. Once you familiarize yourself with the angle of control needed on both hands for the forward stroke, you should know what angle is needed for the roll/brace. It’s really not that difficult and it can indeed be reflexive despite the changing angles. Rolling/bracing shouldn’t be angle dependant but it’s a matter of understanding how the paddle pressure gives you the time to hipsnap up.

Ya know how to develop a killer bracing repertoire? Have a killer roll!

Keep practicing your rolling and bracing and eventually you’ll realize that the angle means very little in that regard.

Seems like…

– Last Updated: May-01-06 6:28 PM EST –

Anyone switching between a GP and A Euro has to be able to adapt to slightly different feeling and way of using the two paddles. GP is more often extended, is a more deliberative stroke than I tend to use with the Euro and can be a very different feeling hand hold. I'm hardly transparent about it yet since I just got the GP, but I don't see any reason from experience so far that time in the boat won't make it so. And there are also other skills that are useful to have and change paddle feel, like being able to pull half a paddle off your front deck and roll up with it.

Besides - once you learn to drop your body fully down into the water for a deep brace, to set up for a scull or come up to a balance brace - blade angle starts getting a lot less critical because there is a remarkable feeling of time available to deal with the paddle. I can see this being a whole different game in breaking surf or WW, but for most of sea kayaking you can get to where your body has a lot more to do with recovery options than the details of what's in your hand. Otherwise no one would ever be able to use a Norsaq successfully.

Not sure what this post was intended to do - passed on answering it last night. Posit an opinion forcefully, get opposing views or be contentious? Seems to have gone the middle route, so I came in. But it was a little confounding on first read.

In a nutshell
I don’t understand how one can maintain a truly relexive low brace or high brace when altering feather angles at will.

Perhaps Schizopak is right and it is not an issue for others as much as for me.

If I drop significantly from a 60 or 75 degree feather angle, I can easily regain a forward stroke in a short time but my bracing action is not reliable on one side. It takes me much longer to regain a solid brace, (unconscious), that I would trust in difficult waters.

Not seeking a battle, just putting forth my experience and concerns for comment.


It has to be more difficult

I don’t think it makes much sense fussing with feather angle depending on condition. It’s not that uncommon to run across conditions that vary in a short time. So, you need to be able to adapt the feather angle you have to the conditions you are in.

I find it takes a bit of getting-used-to when I switch between an unfeathered greenland stick and a feathered euro paddle. This is more work but managable.

Do racers fuss with different feathering?

This racer doesn’t
Using a one piece paddle makes it difficult, to say the least…

other than a committed backing
stroke feather angle changes of 15 degrees or so are not so bad. Even a 5 degree change will noticably affect my backing strokes and require thought.

Outside the nutshell
You should probably either stay with one feather angle, or switch frequently. If you switch all the time, you will have the flexibility of mind and be more aware and sensitive to the feel of the paddle and will be able to instantly move your blade to the position you want. If you usually use one angle, stick with it.

I ALWAYS use a 45deg. righthand control.

I Have Different Offset Paddles

– Last Updated: May-02-06 6:09 AM EST –

- 0, 15, 30, 45, 60 - feel pretty comfortable using them. But I don't switch off in a middle of a paddle. I pick one and stick to it. Takes about 5-10 minutes to acclimate and internalize the orientation of the left and right blades. I think switching offset to accommodate wind is not that productive since wind doesn't always come consistently in one direction. In my opinion, one's endurance makes more of difference in wind conditions that offset of the paddle.


upon reading your post
I want to say, I do not change feather angles in the middle of a paddle. It’s more about the lightning standard, the lendal archipeligo, the bending branches being fixed, and the epic beint set to 45.

Slightly off topic
but I was at our local paddle shop lately and they just got a fresh shipment of epic mid-wings in. I really liked the feel of that paddle and I’m ready to move up to something a little more advanced than my BB Whisper. But the Epic is expensive and I’ve never used a wing. Definitely need some trial time. I looked at the reviews here on Epic and they’re all pretty good. Aside from the feathering discussion, are you pleased with your Epic? What are it’s pros and cons? Thanks-