Surf paddles

We’ve all heard the arguments for and against feathered paddles for touring. Why then are surf paddles feathered when headwinds would not be a factor?

0-45 Offset
surf paddles are basically white water paddles. Short, big blades for quick acceleration.

I have paddles from 0 to 45 degrees. My favorite paddles are 15 off set. Less offset makes backdeck rolls easier as well when one goes over, an inevitability. White water playboaters are increasing going to lower or 0 offsets for the same reasons. The backdeck roll is the basis of some the playmoves.


Some Perspective
I use 0 degree for surfing. My back up paddle has a small offset but I’ve never measured it it looks like ~ 30 degrees. The BCU types set what a lot of people think they need to buy and what manufacurers make. As Sing said US whitewater and surfkayakers are moving towards smaller feather angles.

90 degree offsets are big with Waveskiers in New Zealand, Austrailia and South Africa … maybe they have big winds to contend with or maybe it’s just what the tradition there dictates. I have a 90 offset paddle and don’t think much of it.

Not sure this applies but…
I have yet to get command of anything much in real surf (other than a good ability to swim to shore once out of the boat), so that is not my area. But for what it’s worth in this question, one of the reasons I’ve heard for a 45 degree feather is that it is the best angle to support a properly rotated forward stroke. No adjustments required to get that first good bite in the water.

Personally I am living at a smaller angle, still messing around with it, as part of improving my forward stroke this season. I am finding that some amount of angle helps.

This view relevant in surf? I don’t know. But maybe if you are talking about getting the most power when suddenly needed.

I use
about a 15 degree offset if it is really windy. Otherwise I use 0 as well.

45 here
Jimmy Snyder got me hooked on 45 in '87. I ordered the first ever 45 degree paddle Werner ever made.

smooth and clean transitions in ruddering and body rotation, IMO.


buy a paddle with options
I too paddle at 45 degree feather, been doing so ever since I borrowed one of Flatpicks paddles and liked it more than the feather I had been using (from memory, I think it was 60 degree).

I must admit though that I have the bad habit of controling my paddle with one hand. So moving to a GP stick is not fun. I never use a GP in rough conditions for that reason.

I would recommend buying a paddle such as Epic, Onno or other that has a feather various system. My Epic Length Lock will allow for 360 degrees of feathering.


when one knows the length and offset that one prefers? Though I can use just about any offset up to 60 (left hand control too), I prefer my 0-15’. Once I pick the paddle for the day, get use to it, I am not going to be messing with the angle or length when I am out there.