My 1st wing paddle experience......

went pretty well today - I was very pleased. The wind was calm and the lake was the same lake I usually paddle to take afternoon breaks from work. Depending on which boat, paddle and motivation level I have, it can take from 11 minutes to 15 minutes for me to do 1 lap following the shoreline.

I normally use an Epic Relaxed Tour set to a length of 205cm to 215cm in this boat. The Relaxed Tour has been my preferred paddle for about the last three years.

The wing I used today is a new Epic Small Mid Wing in the Signature Hybrid construction with white blades and set to a 210cm length without feather.

The boat is a carbon Epic Touring Cruiser 16, which I just bought used in early December and have paddled it three times using the Relaxed Tour, but hadn’t paddled any boat in the last two weeks. I was NOT using the rudder.

Today I was feeling run down and my shoulder’s been bothering me quite a bit for the last couple weeks, but today the ice was off the lake and the air temperature was 55 degrees with full sun, so I was taking a break from work to paddle.


  1. The boat seemed easier to move along with the wing than I recall it being with the Relaxed Tour. It seem to just take off with little effort.

  2. The wing is way noisier than the Relaxed in all phases of the stroke - is this normal?

  3. The stroke seemed natural - the blade just seemed to take it’s own path as I left it loose in my hands and focused on torso rotation and leg drive.

  4. It took two laps just for my shoulder to loosen up and then I did my fastest lap of the day, which was 11 minutes as I’d previously done in this boat with the Relaxed Tour.

  5. With the exception of the shoulder that was really bothering me before I started, my wrists, elbows and shoulders seemed to feel better after four laps with this Small Mid Wing than with the Relaxed Tour.

  6. My first impression is that I like the paddle very much and will often be choosing the Small Mid Wing instead of the Relaxed Tour for my short exercise paddling outings. I’m rarely out for more than two hours at a time in a kayak.

  7. I was expecting the wing to be much harder on my body than the Relaxed Tour, after reading comments in these forums regarding wings, but that doesn’t appear to be the case with the Small Mid Wing vs the Relaxed Tour.

  8. I’m glad that I opted for the small mid wing, rather than a larger wing.


    Are wing paddles usually noisier than euro paddles? I’m sure that my wing stroke mechanics need a lot of work, since I’ve only used it once, but none of the stroke variations I tried did much to reduce the noise.

    Thanks for any follow up or suggestions regarding getting to know the wing paddle better and improve efficiency.

For me it is.

jack L

thats a good question
I feel like the answer is yes. I can’t remember exactly, but I think the wing will almost always pick up more water on the exit. I’m going to pay more attention.

Ryan L.

A bit
noisier but the effienciency of the wing is worth it.

At the exit as it tnds to lift more water. But, if you are paddling at a less than top speed and pay attention to form, it is possible to greatly minimize noise throughout the stroke. Not sure making the wing too quiet would gain you much though… my technique is far from perfect but I notice I have sweet spot b/w speed and quietness: when I am trying to maintain a good speed if I try to make the paddle as quiet as I canthrough a very vertical and early exit with a deep cross over of the top arm across the deck and high top hand position at the end of the stroke, I seem to expend unnecessarily too much energy on making the stroke quiet and my speed does not improve while I get tired faster. If I do a bit moisier but more relaxed stroke, it seems to move me faster. But if I get sloppy and splash too much, then I lose speed and efficiency again… The catch can be done fairly quiet and without much splash though, and it seems the quieter and smoother/quicker the catch, the better power comes with each stroke.

And DO USE that rudder -:wink: I never understand why people feel obliged to state they don’t use a rudder or skeg as if that somehow shows off some super desirable ability to control the boat without aids…

The small mid-wing
was an excellent choice. I have both the Epic mid-wing and small mid-wing. The small mid-wing is better for touring. Even Freya Hoffmeister uses a small mid-wing (the ONLY paddle she uses).

My wing stroke is fairly quiet, but not as quiet as my greenland paddle. There is no splashing when I use it. It is definitely more quiet in the water (no vortex), but not as clean on entry and exit as a Euro. I think your wing stroke will get quieter with time. It’s a great paddle.


I don’t use the rudder most of the time
because I just don’t need it on the small lakes I paddle, which I can do four laps around in 50 minutes while following the ziggy zaggy shoreline. It’s more fun to use edging while following the shoreline. I can’t “play” with edging with the rudder down.

Also, the only rudder controls I’ve ever used and liked were the gas pedal type mounted in Sawyer Summersong that I sold last summer. I’m not that fond of the sliding controls or the Smart Track toe controls.

I do use the rudder in windy or wavy conditions. In calm conditions, I just don’t benefit from the rudder.

I’m not trying to prove anything by not using the rudder, I just prefer the more lively handling of the Touring Cruiser 16 with the rudder up.

The reason I mention that I wasn’t using the rudder during these paddling observations was just so people would have a more complete understanding of the conditions I was paddling under.

Does noise level vary with brand
and model?

Yes ! A N D the length, profile, offset
angle, feather angle, twist, blade size, how you hold it, pull / push on it + your power on phase timing.

Hey Pat
We used the new touring paddles, on a long, long, long paddle two days ago that had every kind of condition imaginable, and they past the test.

But the wings still have a smile. We will be using them today in a 13 mile race.-should be interesting trying to chug along in a 100 pound expedition tandem with wing paddles!

Jack L

i read somewhere
That onno paddles never make a sound during the stroke and are at least 10% faster than epic wings. :wink:

Hope the weather is nice.

Ryan L.

quiet onno
My Onno wing is completely quiet. And I am not an experienced wing paddler.

I alway choose my ruddered boat with the wing, though I don’t always choose the wing with the ruddered boat. I always use the rudder when paddling the ruddered boat. I never choose the wing with my non-ruddered boat.

Foot room is another issue with toe
controlled rudders and low volume kayaks. I’m still looking for low profile, high topped and warm footwear for cold water paddling.

Sadly, most boats with snugger fitting cockpits also have very low decks in the foot peg area, with can severely limit toe mobility.

Most of the noise is on the exit.
Just a little “glup” noise on entry, none during power and a lot on the exit.

Versus my Epic Relaxed Tour:
The Relaxed Tour requires more effort and is harder on the shoulders and joints.

The Relaxed Tour is much quieter.

Kept Capsizing My First Time
Yep! I remember my first time paddling those new fangle New Zealand made Flyte Descente wing paddles, with narrow tips, on a Bob Twogood made Chalupski, which was 17 inches wide, for I kept capsizing everytime I took a stroke. The bloody paddle kept pulling me over all the time. So I went back to my old flat blades and didn’t have any problems capsizing with them. It took me awhile to figure it out, back in 1989, and when I did, updated to the newer “Propeller” and “Turbo” ones with a twist.

Mine is quiet if I am touring with it,
but it sure isn’t when I am racing.

In yesterdays race it was singing: “Splish splash, I was taking a bath”

Jack L

How did your wrists feel after all the torquing you must have had to do using a wing with no feather?

feather is lame
Ryan L.

why would you have to do that
with no feather?