For three years paddling
a Folbot double I used a Camano, unfeathered. Every once in awhile I’d try its feathered position (60 degrees or so, this was before their latest splined paddle design). It felt awkward and didn’t seem to be giving any advantage so I decided I’d be unfeathered forever. I’d read enough opinions to decide that was “okay”.
This year, I got my single boat, same paddle, still unfeathered. Then one day I was paddling into a particularly stiff wind so set it feathered again. The decrease in effort moving forward was immediately obvious. And for whatever reason, possibly because with the narrower boat I could be a bit higher-angle (though still low-angle, really), it did not feel awkward at all.
That was it for me. Next time out I tried unfeathered again, didn’t like it nearly as much as feathered. Unfeathered actually felt awkward, go figure. I’m now using a newer Camano with the 15-degree spline design but have still found 60 degrees to be the best. No tendon issues whatsoever.
For three years paddling
Feathered or unfeathered makes no difference. I paddle unfeathered GP in touring and used feathered Euros for surf and white water. Over time, your body and technique adapt and integrate. There is no confusion. I can roll, scull, brace on either side with either paddle.
The biggest difference to me is the length of the paddle. A long paddle makes higher angle strokes inefficient, while you can always paddle low angle with a shorter paddle. Shorter paddles are less efficient in sweep strokes but you can more than compensate by edging.
I was Euro with 30 deg feather and high
angle stroke. Thought I really was doing everything right. My Werner lets you adjust feather in increments. I chose the one that felt most natural.
After developing some problems in my left shoulder from muscling my off-side roll (never had shoulder problems before) I started to look for a lower stress answer. All signs seemed to point to a Green land Paddle. I got very lucky to meet a bunch of GP paddlers and have traded my 400 dollar carbon fiber werner for a 3000 year (design) old piece of wood (go figure!) I do vary my stroke but never go as high as I was on the Euro. I think the lower angle is a much more protected position and kinder to your shoulder joint. I still get some discomfort but I am paddling better than ever.
For what its worth, my intro to GP was trial by fire. A friend made my paddle and gave it to me on my second trip out in the ocean… I did fine
even rolled when I had to (took two attempts). The GP is getting better each time I go out. So is my low angle stroke. Now I just have to learn all that cool GP stuff!
Along with all the other cool GP stuff…
… be sure you include some high angle strokes too - even the wing stroke. There are no limits with GP. Try it all.
As a novice rec kayaker, I find that keeping the shaft approximately chest high and paddling as close to vertical and as close to the yak as possible, materially enhances my speed; especially when I reach fairly far forward and end the stroke near my hip.
I have tried feathering but do not feel comfortable with it.
High angle when you gotta move and move fast!
Depends what I’m doing.
For adventure racing I use a lightweight 60 degree feathered CF paddle and a high angle. For general touring I use a Derek Hutchinson designed Toksook paddle with a 90 degree feather and a low angle. Both paddles are 230cm.
do it all
The best way for you: is to try as many as possible and narrow it down to what you like. I have paddled with euro paddles at 90, 45, and 0 degrees. I found the euro paddle to be the least comfortable and most taxing on my body. The GP is a great learning paddle for rolling, and one where many paddlers feel the most control. With its positive floatation, its amazing what you can learn to do with it. It feels safe. I always paddled with a fairly low and rapid stroke with the greenland paddle, but experimentation is the key. There is no right way, especially since everybody is different. The wing paddle is where I finally ended up, and not just because i like to go fast. I find it grips the water without flutter and gives me a solid connection to the water. I have not had the nagging stress injuries in my neck that I had with other paddles as it forces good rotation and using more powerful muscle groups. Too often I see paddlers, maybe coming from a canoe backround, who use too much arm to pull the kayak along. In the end this will be more taxing on shoulder joints and wrists, elbows, etc. As sing stated, feather can be anything. High angle is generally used for speed, good rotation and low works real well in heavy wind or heavy chop for me. There are many adjustable wing paddles on the market. There is a guy out here in Long Island who makes one of the best length lock carbon wing paddles I’ve ever used for a very fair price. My epic paddle is now my second paddle.
Hey, Give It Up!
who’s your local paddle maker?
Dam Good Gear
by Danny Broadhurst. email me and I will give you his email. the paddles go for around 280 I think, but you will have to ask him. The length loc does not separate from the paddle, so there is no parts to loose. With one firm twist it locks down real nice and is adjustable to all feathers left and right and a distance of about 4-5cm’s in length. Each paddle has a grip for the control hand that is very comfortable and thicker than the paddle shaft. easy to take apart and put together, the blade is very similar to the epic mid wing. Nice finish.
Feather history - gates
I had read that one of the main reasons for feathering (common to WW kayaks) was that it is easier to fit the paddle past the gates.
Not In the Market Myself
having already gotten two good ONNOs. But if you got a local craftsman, should get his info out there and support his work.
Dam Good Website
Pictures and descriptions of all paddles and components. Contact info at bottom of page.
You sure this stuff isn’t imported?
greyak, I think he gets all the parts from different places and puts them together. At one point he was using a lendal shaft. Whatever or wherever he gets the parts, its a solid paddle. so far I haven’t broken one.
That was my guess
after seeing the pictures. Makes sense.