Paddleshaft Marker?

I thought I had my roll figured out, but yesterday I had to again request a bow rescue. I don’t think I will ever be able to develop confidence unless I can improve my paddleshaft so that I can have an absolute certainty about the blade angle. Yes, the shaft has an oval section, but that is not good enough for me. I want something more exact. What are the best ideas for a fiberglass shaft? Thanks.

Tape a popsicle stick
Use duct tape or similar, tape a popsicle stick or two onto the shaft at what should be the top of the shaft to keep the blade at the correct angle. May be diff on each side depending on what feather you are using. Either place the thing out far enough so that it doesn’t get in the way of your normal paddling, or do a real nice smooth job with the duct tape so that you can handle it comfortabley there.

I’ve heard of the popsicle stick idea but am leery about the sticky tape residue.

Some people …
just open their eyes and sight the blade…

i have goggles (prescription)
also Lendal paddles has a nubbin that i find with my pinky finger…as well as they also have an indexed section on their shaft too…

the index kit is available by iteslf too if you wanted to add it on…it is a piece of plastic and some heat shrink tubing…

you could put your popsicle sticks (or the like) on the shaft wehre you want it then heat shrink tubing it into place…

superglue a line of bumps down the area…

NSI makes a indexing kit out of sticky back foam too…


For now…
For now I’ve added a toothpick wrapped on with electrical tape. I’ll see how much that helps.

loose grip
with a loose grip with both hands just move the forward blade up and down a bit to “slap” the surface of the water. The blade will tend to align itself flat to the water, or you can twist a bit with the back hand.

I figure it out by first do a sculling stroke. That also brought my body up a little before I do a REAL “sweep”, which is really a sculling sweep anyway.

You may say, what how can I scull if I can’t figure out the blade angle? That’s the thing, when I’m not in a hurry to “get up”, I can “feel” the blade angle as I “sweep” the blade much easier.

Another pratice I use is to scull with my eyes closed (upright). I found it helps to get the “feel” for blade angle and get an instant reaction of my wrist to orient the blade for maximum support.

I’ll try doing a trial sweep. I’ve tried patting the water and wiggling the blade but that seems too dependent on calm water and always feels like guesswork, and guesswork reduces my confidence.

Not so calm water
"too dependent on calm water "

Good thinking!

How do you get the paddle to skim the surface of water when the water is NOT calm?

The answer is: the paddle doesn’t have to “skim the surface”!

You can get “lift” from the paddle even when it’s under water, as long as you got the blade oriented in such a way that it “rises” as you sweep back and forth. The exercise of sculling with eyes close helped me a lot to “feel the lift” of the paddle.

This is a bit of a side track. But I got drag into play kayak polo for the fun of it. And I quickly learn quite a few things they don’t teach you in sea or white water kayaking. Sometimes, one drop the paddle to grab the ball, the paddle ended up resting on whatever random orientation. So after throwing the ball and re-grab the paddle, one might found the blade in a totally odd angle! The first time it happened, the blade dove and I nearly got flipped! Well, one learn really quickly to “feel” the blade angle and just twist one’s wrist to make it “bite”!

It’s a very good education. Now, I don’t get freaked out when I take an “air stroke”.

Two simple things - assuming feathered…
… beyond just looking:

  1. Slide your hand out and check! How far is it from your normal grip to the blade root? Not far. Easier for most to check inboard, so…

  2. Figure out and remember what angle the inboard blade it at when outboard is where you want it. Easiest way is to just sit upright in finish position and note position.

    Doing pawlatta/extended blade sweep or EJ rolls at first will also drive this stuff home - and once that’s reliable you can use less extension and “combat” grip - with extentions and manual blade check always there as a fallback as it takes all of a second.

    Of course - it’s best to just feel the water/blade interaction. In time with a lot of rolls this become second nature (faster if you have a lot of miles on that paddle, scull, etc.). Worst case you end up with an upside down blade. Guess what - still works fine - and good practice anyway. So is trying all sorts of paddles.

    Of course - all the easy ways to add indexing can help this too. As do Greenland and Aleut paddles which take this to another level…

    Something to think about: Blade control issues are more often about rushing things and mental distractions. These are the big problems. Paddle issues much less so.