Which Paddle Epic RT or Mid-Wing

So I’m trying to get my miles up in my kayak (17 foot Tempest). I can do 20+ miles in a day without any problems with my current Werner Camano (fiberglass blade), but I’m finding more than 30 miles really gets to me. I want to train to paddle about 50 miles in a day (no wind) on Lake Ontario, or Cayuga. So I figured a better lighter paddle might make a difference. I see the many shapes available and I’m not sure which one to get. Right now I’m looking at the Epic Mid-wing with the Maroon shaft. Although speed is not my main concern speed and distance do go together. I don’t live close to any high end shops so trying out would be difficult. It also seems on these big lakes I’m paddling in high wind and wave conditions so I want a paddle thats also good at waves.

Any Suggestions?

wing paddles
A wing is only about 2% more efficient and doesn’t do steering strokes well. If your boat doesn’t have a rudder it’s not the best choice. A small mid would be a better size for long distance if your boat has a rudder.

In non-wing, a werner cyprus or Ikelos is a nice choice. Or get a greenland stick which are great in high winds and very forgiving on the joints. Joe O’blenis used a greenland paddle on his Vancouver island speed run. He did several 60mi days.

Werner 230 cm San Juan Paddle
I use to do a lot of marathon sessions using the San Juan on my Scuppers and Surfskis paddling directly into 25+ kt Hawaiian Tradewinds. It worked well with rudderless Scuppers and ruddered surfskis. Although discontinued, you still might be able to buy a brand new one from Go Bananas in Honolulu. The weight of the San Juan never bothered me and I used a low angle cruising stroke with the 90 deg. feather and lots of torso rotation. If I’m not going to be doing a lot of fancy maneuvers or steering, but instead, paddle straight ahead, I’d probably use a 215 - 225 cm Onno Small Wing for 50 mile crusing? Basically, it ain’t the paddle or the boat, it’s mainly your technique and mindset.

In actual use
you will find a wing paddle is better given both efficiency and weight, assuming you have good stroke technique. It is not true that a wing paddle does not do turning strokes well. My Onno wing is better at turning than any other paddle I have used, including Werner. It is all about technique.

50 miles is really hard
It’s not as if you are going to get to where 50 miles flatwater is a training run. I mean, its conceivably possible and you may very well be dedicated, but its not likely. There are people that run marathons everyday, but that’s not normal.

In my experience, the discomfort of paddling for 50 miles has more to do with sitting and twisting for 8+ hours, than physical shape. If you can paddle for 30 miles, you can probably do 50. You may not want to get out of bed the next day, but you probably could.

A light paddle is helpful for high mileage, and the shape of it is a personal thing. I would use a wing and a rudder, but that’s just me. I’ve seen people do a 100 in a day with every conceivable combination of boat and paddle. Seat time, long paddles, and interval training in some sort of combination combined with good equipment goes a long way. Keeping food and water in you goes a long way too.

Ryan L.

I have paddled 50+ miles in 12 hours and it was all about a willingness to put up with discomfort. It’s just determination and pain tolerance plain and simple.

Was it fun? Sorta. Would I do it again? Heck yes, with the right motivation.

I think it’s great that you’re going for this, but don’t expect your paddle to make it easy. Although I would have to say that if I tried this with my Werner Ikelos I would be in a world of hurt. Too much resistance for too long a duration. I used a low angle Aquabound carbon paddle. (They don’t make it anymore but it was similar to the StingRay)

So since speed is not of the essence as you mentioned, my recommendation is to stick with the low angle style of the Camano you have but go lighter and foam core: Kalliste!

Relaxed Tour with burgundy shaft
is pretty easy on the joints for me. I find it easier on me than my straight shaft carbon Camano.

It’s also easier on me than my Epic Small Mid Wing, but I’m new to the wing paddle, so technique plays a big role with that.

The Small Mid Wing seems easier on me than the Mid Wing that I tried earlier this year.

Good luck.

A long post about long distance :slight_smile:
I have a mid-wing, but would recommend the small-mid-wing or even smaller for very long distances.

For me, the key to long distance is to maintain excellent technique (easier said than done). Once you get tired/sloppy and lose your posture, you are only going to make injuries more likely, as well as “honing” poor technique. Most people try to make up for deteriorating technique by simply working harder but at that point you are just “dragging the boat” (versus gliding) and efforts are mostly counter-productive.

The longer the distance, the more important your posture. While long distance always requires a good dose of pain-tolerance, once your posture deteriorates and your head slumps forward (or you slump back against the coaming) that “cannonball” atop your neck will stress your shoulders, neck and back. After enough hours in the saddle the strain will cause pure misery. The stabbing pain can feel like someone buried a knife at the base of your neck. Also, without good posture you cannot rotate effectively or have good shoulder mobility. Maintain your posture!

Technique can fail due to a lack of motivation/discipline or because of poor hydration and from not eating properly. Once you bonk your technique will suffer badly. On long distance races I eat something everything 15 minutes (Perpetuem, etc).

For long distance you can use very different approaches, for example, a “go-fast” kayak, large wing, vertical paddle angle, lightweight load and cover the miles quickly, or you can use a smaller blade with a lower stroke and cover the miles more gently but requiring more “butt time”. It simply depends on your goals and timeframes.

For long circumnavigations I have used a carbon GP for daily averages of around 40 miles. IMO you lift less arm weight with the close GP hand position so it can help save your shoulders. For the Everglades Challenge 300 mile race I used an ONNO Endurance wing that is a very light, very small blade (originally designed for women, I believe). I prefer a very small blade for longer distance and save the mid-wing and larger wings for races of 10 miles or less. YMMV.

For an example of my long-distance technique (small blade, holding paddle lower) with a small wing you can skip to 1:43 in the video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nNaooG1l-P0. This was taken at about the 45 mile mark (Everglades Challenge), averaging about 5.5mph. My longest “day” for this race was 108 miles.