giving up on wing

I have a beautiful new wing that I just cannot get used to. Took lessons, practiced, etc. It is just so much more pleasant to relax in my normal low stroke with either my AT or Kalliste bent shafts. So I cannot agree with the generalization I have seen that once you use a wing you will never go back. YMMV.

Could you be trying to hard ?
It took me almost two years to get used to a wing, and if it wasn’t for the fact that I knew I got more speed out of it in races, I probably would have gone back to a euro.

I think it was some one on here who said let the wing do it’s own thing and don’t try to force it.

I was working myself to death and then it seemed to click all of a sudden.

Now I am one of those who is more comfortable with my wing then with my old euro.

jack L

If you don’t really need the speed
why force yourself to do something you don’t want?

So, what is it and how much do you want?

Possibly too hard
I used the wing exclusively with my Q700, which boat should be very compatible. But every outing that I don’t enjoy with the wing is a lost opportunity for an enjoyable paddle. Plus, I don’t feel comfortable going out in the ocean with the wing since my braces are not as automatic. I don’t feel like spending the 2 years you report. I admire your persistence.

OK, but before you give it up…
try two things.

Go out in your QCC-700 with your old euro, and paddle it with a high angle stroke. You will find that it is quite easy.

Then a few days later, go out in your QCC-700 and paddle it with your wing, but at a low angle stroke like you would normally do with your old euro, but just forget that it is a wing you are using.

You just might discover that they are easily interchangeable.

jack L

I went wing and went back… nm

A Heresy
Efficient paddling technique is pretty much the same for a wing paddle, a Euro paddle, and a Greenland paddle. There are other narrow techniques that work about as well, like Doug Van Dorn’s Greenland technique, but you really only need to learn one. Look at Brent Reitz’s DVD and do the same stroke with a wing, Euro, and Greenland. At least it works for me. I can paddle fast. I can paddle without a lot or soreness and I can change paddles as the mood or conditions dictate.

Van Doren
Yes, I use Van Doren’s low stroke technique with my AT. The wing stroke is therefore totally different.


My AT is 226 cm and I set my wing at 212 cm. The AT is too long to use in a high wing stroke.


To “relax” in a low stroke I have to agree with you - your Kalliste or Xception paddles are just perfect for that and I wouild think better than a wing. A GP would be better than a wing for that too.

Not that you can’t use a wing for low angle, it just does not work as nicely as these other paddles for that.

I use the wing when I want to go fast in a straight line. Flat blade WW paddle for very rough stuff (moving water) or GP for rough “open” water and winds.

Wing stroke is different from drag stroke.

Still not convinced? - look for Olympic sprint kayaking before and after wing paddle.

Quite a few paddlers will use modified wing stroke with drag paddle, it does not mean that they are utilizing drag paddle most efficiently.

wing efficiency
I believe that the wing paddle when combined with the wing stroke is more efficient than the low angle drag paddles that I use, even at moderate touring speeds. (Freya did not travel at race speeds around Australia and claimed this efficiency.) This efficiency at moderate speed, say 4.5 kts, was my motivation for acquiring the wing and am disappointed that I do not enjoy using it, and disappointed that it takes so much to master the technique. While a wing paddle can be used in a low stroke as a pure drag device, there would be zero benefit to doing so.

What kind of wing?
I’ve tried a few wing paddles and a couple of them “just worked for the start”. It seemed like automatically did what they were supposed to do. They were tiring as well as they were fast so I’m not certain I could use one all day. I also noted that that were not very easy to use for turning strokes.

Wings, GPs, Euros (oh My!)…
Keep in mind that during our Iceland circumnavigation, Freya used a wing and I used a Greenland paddle. We made it around in the same time. She was faster in some situations and I was faster in others. We had a fast pace, but a competent paddler could have joined us using any reasonable paddle type. For racing I use a wing but paddling a fully loaded expedition kayak (even at a fast past) is not racing. Use what you enjoy, use what you are competent with, and what you are passionate about (but try them all)!

Greg Stamer

Been using my wing a month
Just got the wing. First test I wasn’t so sure I made the right choice. Tried it with a few different boats and decided I would not want to use it in moving water. Tried it in moving water and decided I would not use it in rapids. Haven’t tried it in rapids yet, but I went back to my beloved AT Xception last evening for a gentle fishing trip, I did so desire that I would have brought the wing. It is quickly becoming my MUST HAVE paddle. I still love my Xception, but this wing thing is really habit forming.

question for you, greg
Not that it should influence me, but what do you most often use for day paddling?

Funny how anything else feels “soft”
“Inspired” by your note about using the wing in rapids I gave my Epic small mid a workout today in some mild Class II rapids with my Perception Sonoma 13.5.

Last year I began paddling there with the GP - before I got enough confidence in my roll with the WW paddle to leave the GP at home and only use the WW paddle.

The WW paddle feels to have more grab and more immediate response than the GP. But the wing beats the WW by a huge margin. Switching b/w the wing and the WW paddle it is like night and day. After paddling the wing the WW paddle feels soft and slips through the water. The wing is just solidly planted and works great for bracing during the stroke too.

I did what was probably the fastest attainment to my usual upriver rapid with the wing and used it a bit in the rapid too.

For just powering through rapids and a little maneuvering and bracing here and there I thought it was OK. In the boiling water in rough eddies or where some currents meet and there is no smooth straight current, the wing was more sensitive - if not careful it could dig under when you need it to support you. Not much of this with the WW with its flat face that slices through and is less surprising.

I still preferred the WW paddle for playing in the smore challenging standing waves. The flat blade surface just gives better control or maneuvering in moving water for my abilities.

I probably would not take the wing in WW again, unless I’m really trying to get to the play spot in a hurry though -:wink:

But it is a good exercise to get better control of the paddle - when the water is moving it is even more important to have proper rotation and trajectory with the wing. In flat water it is not that critical and you just lose some power. In moving water if you make a mistake it is flip over, Rover -:wink: