initial wing length

I ordered a 2 piece Onno Smaller Mid Wing in 208-218 cm length range, but am new to wings, having used a very low angle stoke for several decades. I hope to learn as correct a wing stroke as possible with the new paddle. Any tips on determining how to set length in order to best ensure a correct stroke?

Find the cadence…
“sweet” spot (for you), by trial and error, and use a GPS to monitor your speed.

What ever you had your Euro at…
set your wing a few cm’s shorter, and start there.

See how it feels and after you paddle it for a while it will tell you where it wants to be.

I used to paddle with a 220 euro.

When I got my first wing I started it at 216, and gradually brought it down to 214.

I finally bottomed it out at 213-1/2 a few years ago, and believe it or not if I set it at a 1/2 CM more or less, I can tell.

Hope this helps a bit.



Take a class with …

– Last Updated: Feb-16-10 7:36 PM EST –

Ben Lawry and you'll figure it out -;)

As they said: once you place your hands as far apart as they need to be, then the rest is up to the boat width where your paddle enters, how high it rides in the water, your seat height, and how far forward you are reaching.

For me I usually leave about 2 fists or so of shaft from the outside of my hand to the blade and my hands are placed so that my elbows form a little less than a right angle when holding the paddle resting on top of my head holding it with both hands to the side.

I place my hands almost a full fist closer to the blades than any of the bent shaft paddles I've had a chance to hold insist my hands should be. So either I'm wrong or these shafts are intended for wide and high-riding boats and not very vertical paddling style: if the shaft length is right for me, my hands end-up too close together and too far away from the blades on these bent shafts. I guess that position would be comfortable for long range relaxed touring but I usually do not do that and go for short active paddling sessions...

Even in the same boat, I tend to change the length depending on what I'm doing and on conditions, so good that you ordered the adjustable - it is worth it, IMO.

hand placement
Are you suggesting that the length adjustment depends on the hand placement?


– Last Updated: Feb-19-10 9:51 PM EST –

If you keep your hands closer together but don't change the shaft length, then you will reach the water sooner and farther forward compared to if you hold your hands wider apart and closer to the blades. So yes, if you move your hands closer together, ideally you should probably shorten your shaft too, unless you want a faster cadence with less leverage (can be desireable in some cases).

The more vertical your paddling style, the closer you place the hands to the blades as well (so that you do not put the paddle too deep in the water).

If you are getting tired, shortening the shaft and holding the hands a bit closer together helps (and you shorten so that you do not move the hands away from the blades as you narrow your grip).

If you hold your hands farther away from the blades, you can potentially have a smaller lever (meaning you will need more power from your top hand) - it is like high gear on a bike: if you've got the power you can go fast but you will need to have a slower cadence this way. There seems to be a happy medium somewhere and that changes with conditions and your desired speed. I still don't know what's optimal for me though - the differences are somewhat subtle as a net effect and even with GPS/heart rate monitor it is hard to tell what's the optimal position ...