Need advice for a friend.....

My long-time hang gliding buddy, Gary, recently had a kayak fall into his life and he has gotten excited about paddling. He has been out about 8 or 10 times now. He is in his 50’s, fit, athletic, avid skier, etc. I think he is going to put some time into this and work on improvement because that’s the kind of guy he is. With the kayak came a wing paddle and that is the only paddle he has used so far.

I have zero personal experience with a wing. My sense is that a wing is great for speed and power but not so good for boat handling. Since I have no personal experience to base this one I question my own opinion. I’m thinking that I should be recommending that he move to a Euro or Greenland paddle to help him work on his boat handling skills and hang onto the wing for the future? I don’t know.

There are lots of wing-users here and I would like your advice on what I should suggest?


I would suggest a large euro
In my opinion a large surface area paddle like a Werner Corryvrecken would give a similar feel on the pull, but allow for corrective strokes and catches and give a better feel in general paddling.

From my personal experience bad habits die hard, and a niche paddle could magnify bad habits in attempting to do everyday paddling.

1 Like

what is the boat?
If it’s a fast kayak or a ski, nothing wrong with a wing, although I think the previous poster makes a good point. Perhaps add a euro or greenland paddle.

Wing and “proper” technique

– Last Updated: Oct-28-13 10:26 PM EST –

A wing would actually help you develop better paddling technique compared to a Euro paddle. You can get away with lots of sloppy work with Euro that you will get much more immediate feedback with the wing.

On the other hand, a Euro or GP give more options for stroke development and boat control.

It's just a tool - if fitness paddling in the forward direction is the main goal, then a wing would probably be best, even for a beginner, otherwise, other options might be better...

He’s going to need a spare if he doesn’t have one. A two-piece Euro is probably the easiest spare to carry, that’ll give another paddle to practice with and compare to the wing. Personally, I wouldn’t have wanted to start off with a wing, I just don’t care to go that fast, nor do I like the required technique.

I’m Not a Wing User

– Last Updated: Nov-01-13 8:32 PM EST –

but I still have an opinion about curved shaped blades and rolling. If your friend wants to roll I'd suggest a Greenland paddle. The GP zips under water to where you want it. The curved shaped paddles don't.

darn paddle shapes
They render us powerless to adapt and adjust.

Not at All
Just get the best tool for what you really want to do. If you want to go fast, there’s a tool for that. If you want to roll…

Not a fast boat…
…right now. In fact a bit pokey, me thinks. It’s a Sea Lion. Gary paddled my Illusion and lit up at how easy and fun everything was. Knowing him, I think that he will want to improve his skills as quickly as possible and the question here is the appropriate paddle for skills development.

I want to help facilitate (not dictate) his development and really would like to be able to provide him with information on best practices for a paddle for a guy in his place. I have my thoughts on paddles but after 30-some years my experiences are limited to Euro.