What's your feather angle and paddle if you have a Euro?

I also use 0°. But I have discovered that it causes me to get sloppy with my paddle angle in the catch phase of the stroke. It is very easy to get lazy and settle on a fixed angle which sort of fits in both left and right side. But this angle will not give me the best bite in the water.

When the paddle is feathered, I am forced to rotate the paddle between each stroke, and that will naturally make me pick the angle which gives me the best bite.

@Allan Olesen said:
When the paddle is feathered, I am forced to rotate the paddle between each stroke, and that will naturally make me pick the angle which gives me the best bite.

That applies to me too. I tend to get a little sloppy as I tire and the forced slight rotation of my paddle helps with my catch.

45* most of the time with my 205cm Epic Relaxed Tour.

Ikelos at 45. I tried 0 and 60, then settled on 45. After this many years, other angles feel off.

I use zero degree feather on all my paddles including wings.

I can’t tell you how many discussions I have had, even with very well known paddlers, who have insisted that you MUST feather to use a wing. Sorry, but it’s just not true folks. Use feather if you want, but it complicates the stroke and is not mandatory (or necessary IMO).

I found it interesting that Oscar Chalupsky now recommends unfeathered for people who are getting into wings/surfki. See his entertaining discussion of feather angles at 12:50 in the “Oscar Chalupsky Surfski Clinic” at

Remarks from his video: According to Oscar, most people simply copy some local expert for their feather angle.
(Some places in Scandinavia are all left control hand for this reason).

He now teaches that zero degrees of feather is the best – but if you are established it takes a long time to switch; he slowly reduces his feather angle, year by year.

I found that it was relatively easy to switch from feathered to unfeathered for the forward paddle stroke (I was originally taught feathered), but it takes a very long time to unlearn your reflexive brace. Get the blade angle wrong (by habit) and you slice water and can easily capsize during a brace.

Greg Stamer


the corrected Oscar Chalupsky link

Thanks rsevenic!

I use 30° , sort of. My Onno can be set anywhere so I change it a bit until it feels good that day.

Thank you Greg and rsevenic. Lots of interesting Chalupsky advice I’d like to try.

Started with zero when I began paddling, later switched to 15 degrees for either half a yr from late summer to winter, or for 1.5 yrs (forget which year I switched back). We have hard water in CO, so when spring rolled around, I did a comparison to see which way felt more natural after the offtime. Zero degrees still felt better, so I switched back to it and have stayed there since. Werner Shuna and Werner Sherpa for my normal use, and a Werner Cyprus for multiday trips.

BTW, I got my other-side roll down the same year I was using feathered. And kept it when I switched back.

Greg, the one time I tried a wing paddle, the person who loaned it to me said it is designed to be paddled feathered. While I did so for that test and liked the paddle, if I bought one I would much prefer to stick with unfeathered on all my paddles. It’s good to hear that the experts acknowledge this works well for wings.

Zero for sea kayaks and my WW blade has a 12 degree feather built in. I find the WW paddle (it is an H2O) very natural feeling with that feather but it is also the only bent shaft paddle I have ever like from the start. I went to zero for sea kayaking like some above when I got serious about rolling. It was most important to me to reduce the blade angle issue on my left side for rolling so the regular strokes were just going to have to adapt.

It’s really refreshing to see someone of Oscar Chalupsky’s stature come out and debunk the mythology around feathered paddles. It has always struck me as illogical and essentially a case of starting with a conclusion, then adapting your paddling to support it. In contrast, Oscar’s logic is flawless and based on observation and experience, rather than regurgitated dogma.

The only thing I would question is his assertion that you have to reduce your feather angle 5-10 degrees per year to get back to zero. If you concentrate on simply not grasping the paddle with a “control hand” and allowing the blade to find it’s natural angle, the transition can be made pretty quickly. That’s been the biggest stumbling block I’ve seen with people who are changing to zero feather. You either have to approach the change as having no control hand or having alternating control hands on each stroke, depending on which makes the most sense to you (I think this is largely psychological, as the end result is the same). Perhaps this depends somewhat on the type of paddle you’re using, as I haven’t spent any time significant time using a wing paddle. It definitely works with Euro paddles and Greenland paddles.

Zero for me, whether wing or Euro. My first ever (foolish) kayak outing, maybe 40 years ago, out of Tofino, BC was with a feathered paddle. Caught off shore in gale winds (lucky to survive) a side gust ripped the paddle from the windward side. Zero ever since. No difference in off or on-side roll. Everything symmetric. Recent switch to GP very simple.

We did a paddle night when the club brought in their favorite paddle. It was determined that like shoes, cars, houses and spouses there is no one solution. It’s a personal thing.

@Overstreet said:
We did a paddle night when the club brought in their favorite paddle. It was determined that like shoes, cars, houses and spouses there is no one solution. It’s a personal thing.

Why would someone use anything but their favorite paddle?

Missed the point entirely.

Overstreet, I think your point is that different people have different preferences and that there is nothing wrong with personal preference. However, if the choice of feather is not based on comparative tests but, as Chalupsky points out, more on what your daddy or some guru told you, then that choice may not be best.

never took lessons, so picked up ‘feathering’ on my own - the paddle allowed it, I tried it, I liked it.

So if there are 'guru’s who tell me I’m doing it wrong, that I could add x% efficiency if I would stop feathering - no thanks.

I paddle about 4000 miles a year (about 1/2 being short (10mile) daily paddles, the longer paddles on weekends).
On my monthly paddle around Cumberland Island (47miles), I often have to paddle the ocean side (about 25 miles) into the wind. My ‘analysis’ is that feathering is better - for me.
(btw - I wouldn’t want to go faster on the Cumberland paddle - it is best to maintain a 4mph travel around it to catch the tides correctly - 12 hour paddle, full tide cycle.

I don’t use a wing very often, but don’t feather it.
I prefer the ‘Euro’ blade. I can ‘feel’ the water better with one. That’s also the reason I prefer rockered boats (NDK, Sterling), I know I don’t go as ‘fast’, but I’m more connected with the water.

That control hand thing… I went to very low then zero feather easily and early on, initially because I didn’t want to have to switch habits to roll. Then I found I liked it. It didn’t take any phase-in to figure it out.

But I have never in my life understood why one hand would be considered to be more controlling than the other in a double bladed paddle, since the paddle enters the water on both sides of the boat. Just open the hand and alternate which is open or pushing. Assigning my right hand to have more say in the stroke just made my left wrist sore and seemed entirely unintuitive.

I wonder if there is a chicken and egg thing going on - that the idea of a control hand was promoted as part of arguing for a feathered paddle rather than something that seemed like a good idea by itself.

I don’t dispute with feathering being a good idea for many. It is just the one size fits all attitude I don’t like.