Rolling with a wing


I am considering trying a wing next season as its getting too cold now to make the switch this year.

Since I paddle solo much of the time and like rough waters, a reliable roll is an important component of my paddling reality.

Currently, I have a good screw roll from both sides using a conventional paddle. My primary boat is a T-165 but I’m starting a winter build project that will be an 18’ x 20" boat.

I’d be interested in hearing from those of you who use a wing primarily and roll regularly with the same.

Using a wing, how is the roll different than with a conventional paddle?

Is your roll with a wing as reliable as you desire it to be?

Can the wing paddle be considered a good tool for stormy waters? Expedition use?

All comments appreciated.

Pleasant waters, all.


Used a wing about 6 yrs ago
It was a Werner that I got with a surfski. I could roll my Falcon16 reliably with it. I did not use the wing in rough water or in high winds.

I have limited experience but

– Last Updated: Sep-21-04 2:03 PM EST –

I've played with one couple of times and just bought and watched Barton's forward stroke video. So a view from the peanut gallery:

You lose all or some of the ability to do a bow rudder, high brace, duffek strokes, sculling strokes (draw or support), perhaps most of the abiliity to do a draw stroke; and what about backing up? I don't imagine there are many opportunities to link strokes with a wing but I'd love to hear about it.

Not the most versatile tool for me if I have to assist (rescue) a companion.

The best tool for going straight ahead once mastered. isn't that what we do most of the time? Should be even easier to roll with than a standard paddle bit not for a steyr roll or any other reverse sweep type.

It is a matter of efficiency for the main task VS versatility. I'd go for the versatility on any true expedition if I have companions. You never know what you might need. If solo I might choose the wing if I was a master of it. Paul Caffyn does.

Why not a small wing for calm days, a larger "flat" paddle for rougher days and mad skills with both of them. If you are really on an expedition, perhaps one of these should be bombproof (may I suggest the flatter paddle).

Rolling with a Wing
I’ve found the wing to be quite easy to roll with using a standard sweep/screw technique. The interesting thing is it provides so much ‘lift’/purchase on the water, it doesn’t really require you bring it all the way around. When it’s at about a right angle to the boat, you can lean right on the thing-feels like there’s a paddle float attached (Not proper form, certainly, but hey…).

As for sculling strokes, draws and bow rudders, er, no, not good for that. I’m sure there are wingnuts that can manage them, but I’ve not gotten to that point yet. Low braces are no problem, high braces are more difficult. For a good all around paddle, I suggest the Ikelos-large blades, smooth as butter in the water, maybe a Barton Active Tour.

I have limited experience but
Hey Peter,

Appreciate the input.

My primary paddle is a Werner Molokai which I really like. If I do end up with a wing the Molokai will always be close by.

My two wing candidates are the Onno and the Epic. The length lock is an attractive option for a new wing user but I’ve heard great things about Patrick’s wings also.

Your comments on expedition versatility make sense. The Molokai treats me well and I have a good repertoire with it. It also takes the abuse shallow rivers dish out quite nicely. I don’t want to beat up a carbon paddle in these kinds of conditions.

Thanks again for the comments and best of luck to you with your wing.


wing rolling
Wings are super solid in a screw roll. Solid enough to encourage bad technique because it feels like you’re pulling up on the side of the pool.

Other strokes require major modification, except for the low brace. Forward stroke with the wing sort of serves as a high brace in itself.

NO doubt Onno’s wings are

– Last Updated: Sep-22-04 12:07 PM EST –

a great value. Patrick has worked a lonk time to get it right. Most folks I know end up with the wing about 215-218. One thing greg Barton does is ship wings unassembled and so you can work with various feather angles then epoxy the thing together.

No doubt Epic makes a nice paddle (I own an active tourer and enjoy it mightily), but you know what it costs.

Hate to disabuse you but I don't own a wing paddle yet. Perhaps next spring if I get a fairly stable surfski. First I'll order the wing and then the surfski. By the time the boat gets here, I'll be on top of the paddle (hopefully).

Since I'm at it, I'll talk a bit about meeting Greg Barton and Oscar Chalupsky. Met Oscar at a high end sporting goods store show in Boston. He was so great, extraordinarily patient with newbies, even a jerk who said "I win all the races on Martha's Vinyard" and would have walked out with a relaxed tourer as his next "racing" paddle if not for my meddlesome intervention. I convinced thin that the active tourer might be bettter for racing. (Oscar did not help with his paddle selection), but he was really courteous to this guy.

He was so humble, even with the few of us who knew who he was. Don't get me wrong, he is absolutely a spirited character. He was proud of his abilities and you could feel the fierceness of his race face if you paid attention but it was not on the surface. Lots of us could learn from him.

Greg did a group lesson for about $45 per person and it was great. A big help to me, though I do not always pay enough attention to my form. Take a class with him if you can.

Must tip the hat to Patrick at Onno, who has take his time to help me repair other manufacturers paddles. Hope to meet him soon.

Wing Paddle

– Last Updated: Sep-22-04 2:38 PM EST –

I created a poll about wing paddle on the yahoo Surfski group and those are the result:

Epic Mild Wing 28 votes
Bracsa 6 votes
SET 6 votes
Onno 4 votes
Fenn 4 votes
Bratcha 3 votes
Lettman 2 votes

and some others


Oh its easy that’s what ailerons are for!!!

Turbo kayak paddle was used to win gold in athens in 500 meter k1. I love this long narrow wing because it has a gentle catch and yet accelarates so well toward mid stroke. Much easier on shoulder and elbow. Anyhow there are people who can do wonders with a wing and then their are the jealous as having their doors blown off by a wing. My wing is so solid that anything less tyhan a wing feelslike limp spaghetti. It helps to have good index marks on the paddle paralell to the shaft under both hands for rolling. Please do not let anyone tell you that duffet strokes,etc cannot be done with a wing just because they cannot do them. I love the wing in rough water because you and your paddle havesuch a solid catch on the water. But consider a long shaft for easier bracing.

NIce post!
No doubt for quality and performance of US paddlers epic is the standard, Still Onno’s showing of 4 is respectable given the lack of advertising and the relative size. It’s all about the dollars.

Pat’s new wings…

– Last Updated: Sep-22-04 6:01 PM EST –

...interest me, but as they're so much more work he has to price them up there with the others.

The more I use my GP, the less other paddles interest me. Right now Patrick's new wing being the only one still on my like to try list (not that I wouldn't upgrade my SET to an EPIC, just don't feel like being one of the crowd - am curious - and really love the whole one man/family shop quality/service thing!).

To give him the go to make one, I'd like some better idea what the differences are (and need some $ too!). I'm not looking for design specs Patrick (picking up where I dropped our email converstation a while back - by all means keep your secrets), but perhaps you could articulate some performance/feel differences? I expect yours will have the good points of others plus your own special touches, and not just be another clone wing.

Please enlighten us and help us break the EPIC monopoly!

Anymore thoughs of doing an adjustable length/feather option? I should know what I need, but have commitment issues - might like to change length for conditions - plus it would be nice to be able to loan it out for demos for you!

BTW - SETs are the only significantly cheaper wings I've seen (an OK paddle, but no EPIC, though largely an Epic clone for blade shape. Adjustable thing is not great. Works, but not really marked and can get very hard to loosen and break down).

Onno’s surprise

– Last Updated: Sep-23-04 4:27 PM EST –

When I created the poll, I tried to add as many makers as possible, locally and internationally.
I was surprised when Onno got as many votes as Fenn and more than Bratcha. Both are populars South African makers. It says something good about Onno paddles.


Epic Monopoly
Bracsa has adjustable length/feather option very similar to the Epic. I don’t know which one was first.

Internationally, Bracsa is a really monopoly. Almost all recers around the world used its paddles, but Epic wing are as well made as Bracsa and a bit lighter. Anyway, my next paddle, might be a Bracsa because they offer many shapes/sizes/constructions/etc.