Energy Lost With Dihedral Blade?

I am looking for a touring paddle that has power but can also be used for a variety of strokes and bracing. I have noticed that many of the touring paddles have gone to dihedral blade. For example AT (my preferred brand) and Werner. This is just about the opposite of another increasingly popular style, the wing paddle.

I want power but also the ability to use the blade in various ways. My wing paddle is very inadequate for much more than forward strokes. It seems like a straight or spoon paddle would be nice but they sure don’t make many of them. So my question is how much energy do you lose with a dihedral paddle if I really am pressed to get one. I do like AT so am considering getting one but that will be after I research more and try one. No need to mention a Greenland paddle as I already have one as well and it doesn’t fit what I want. Thanks.

Salt Wood Reggie?

– Last Updated: Sep-26-13 10:34 AM EST –

If it was a 2-piece with down-facing blade design it would be a perfect option;) I like how it feels in the water and in the hand and is plenty powerful (its bigger brother, forgot the name right now, is just too big). I tried both, but I don't like the fact hey are one piece - just too bulky to stow as a spare paddle on my kayak on the water while I use some other paddle (like a GP or wing). So, impractical for me.

I've settled on Werner Cyprus for now even though I also have a Lendal Kinetic Touring (medium) in a 4-piece design (the previous generation). The Lendal is more powerful and I think a stronger blade.the bends in the shaft are I think also better shaped than on the Werners (but I don't like the heat shrink and being only on one half of the shaft way they did the "indexing"). The blades are also a bit heavier than the blades on the Cyprus, making the swing weight heavier on the Lendal, even though it is actually a rather light paddle overall in the full carbon construction I have. But the fact that it needs a wrench to assemble and disassemble puts me off. I keep it for travel or as a spare where I don't expect to need it in a heartbeat.

I also had an Ikelos for a while, but found it too physically big. It too, like the Cyprus, is not of the downturn blade shape, which I think does not make sense for an open water paddle (symmetric or upturned only make sense for shallow water, and they have a penalty of requiring you to take a wider stroke than ideal). So the Ikelos just felt clumsy to me, even though it was great otherwise.

The Cyprus is plenty powerful for whitewater and tidal races, and is nice and smooth. But compared to a wing it feels a bit mushy in the water (as do pretty much all other paddles).

The reason I got the Cyprus is that it is a "god enough" paddle that excels in linking and correction strokes, buoyant, well built, very light, two-piece, and I got it on sale for about $200 as a "demo". Would I buy it full price if I did not have it? Maybe, but I would first paddle the AT versions and the new Lendals - the only thing I would improve on the Cyprus (for my use) is the blade shape from almost symmetrical to a down-turned design, which would make my paddle stroke more efficient and closer to the boat. I would also move the bends a bit closer to the blades, as that's my preference for play. It seems OK for just paddling around and gives a nice longer reach for bracing and corrective strokes the way it is and for touring folks seem to prefer bends the way they are - far away from the blade...

I think they make big enough dihedral

– Last Updated: Sep-26-13 11:47 AM EST –

I think they make big enough dihedral blades that you can likely find the power you want in that style. But I fell into a similar camp. Minimize the blade size, maximize the catch, while still allowing nice maneuvering and skulling strokes.
For a non-wing spoon blade, Lendal is one of the only ones. I have one of the new foam cored X-Range 700's, as well as the previous all-carbon kinetic. It's a nice blade, and I'm pretty big on the new oval shaft they use. Finally a carbon shaft that matched what wood paddle makers like Mitchell and Cricket Designs have been doing since I've been paddling. I was surprised that the new Lendals didn't try to compete in the lightweight game. They came in at a reasonable weight, and I think gave more of a nod to ruggedness. But I really like this paddle.
My favorite overall paddle is still the Mitchell Black Magic. It's neither dihedral nor spooned edge to edge, but has a significant spoon curvature lengthwise. The low swing weight isn't just a gimmick. Pick it up and then another paddle equally weighted or even a bit lighter, swing those blades up and down, and you'll feel it. It's got a really great feel in the control strokes. A few days ago I watched a little video on Nigel Foster's web site about his carbon fiber Air paddle, and what he's describing about his blade edge to edge, and the lack of any tendency towards twisting or creating extra turbulence during maneuvering strokes, is pretty much how I've tried to explain the cedar cored Black Magic. The lengthwise curvature of the blade gives it the cleanest and easiest entry into the water at the plant that I've experienced.
I've got an older all carbon foam cored Nigel Foster paddle. It looks really close to the same design as his current model. Really solid catch and nice feel on this one as well, and I don't think you can go wrong with it if your pocketbook can handle it. Here's the video I was talking about. This might be about all I'm aware of that isn't specifically going for dihedral.

Even slalom paddles have a tiny bit
of dihedral across the blade, but you have to look for it in the right light.

I’ve never seen a truly spooned slalom or whitewater blade. I agree that a blade with a lot of dihedral is not likely to work as well in compound strokes. Some think curved blades won’t handle well, but all slalom blades now are curved, and they handle splendidly.

Take a look at this one
If you’re not wanting to spend a lot for a great all around paddle, I would suggest that you look at and if you are able, try out a Carlisle Expedition. Yeah, I know it’s not carbon–it’s all glass–and it doesn’t have a fancy new ferrule, but it flat out works.

Does anyone other than Nigel have it?
At a $600 a pop on the net I think these are some expensive paddles. They look good though and I would be very willing to try them - but have never seen one on the water… Perhaps my local store can get them as they started to carry NDK boats lately…

Not that I’m aware of.

– Last Updated: Sep-27-13 4:19 PM EST –

When I first saw mention of it, I didn't see it anywhere. I contacted Seaward by email to ask if they knew anything about it. I got a response from Nigel giving me the price, and to just respond if I wanted to order. Same price. Very recently when I caught this video was the first I saw a way to order it online.
When you get those wide blades towards the tip, I think it's kind of the opposite of a Greenland paddle in more ways than the catch on the forward stroke, but also where people seem to like a Greenland paddle's forgiveness towards blade angle control. I think with something like the Foster paddle, it should be understood that blade angle control becomes an important part of the art, and you can really dial in a lot of smooth maneuvering force with a stationary verticle paddle in a gliding kayak. I think working on mastering blade angle control with euro-style blades is as rewarding as anything else in kayaking. And it's probably something that Nigel Foster has long embraced in coming up with his blade design?
Let us know if you happen to find it available anywhere else, but I've only seen it advertised for sale via his web store.

Yup, this is where I saw it too
No message.

100 cm difference
I’m still looking up some of the paddles mentioned. I could almost go with something like the Carlisle Expedition except I’ve gotten spoiled for the egro/bent shaft. Fiberglass seems fine to me, though since it’s sea kayaking and not whitewater.

Someone mentioned how the dihedral ought to work fine for speed if the blade is big enough. This makes it surprising that the AT the premier paddles have 100 sq/cm less surface area than Werner. I am starting to see the point, though. I guess if it is just a slight dihedral, then it shouldn’t lose too much energy. It’s just strange that on the one hand, big scoopy, wing paddles have become popular but most other supposedly fast paddles are dihedral. I’ve personally never had much problem with flutter when taking a stroke so don’t really get the advantage of dihedral.

Here are the Werner and AT paddles that I was talking about.

AT Oracle at 610

Werner Ikelos at 710

AT Oracle

– Last Updated: Sep-28-13 4:52 PM EST –

I've been paddling with an AT Oracle Glass (210 cm) for a few weeks now and really like it. The dihedral is very, very slight. Almost none. As you say the surface area is not as large as some other high angle paddles, but this blade has plenty of bite. Probably this is due to the shape of the blade -- most of the surface area is out near the end of the blade plus the very minimal dihedral. I've also paddled with a Saltwood Reggie which I like but not as much because of the size of the shaft, plus the blade seems to have a little too much catch for everyday touring. For many years, I paddled with a custom-made oversize Lightning Standard (flat blade,no dihedral) as my paddle of choice.