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.