Wing or no wing?

-- Last Updated: Aug-10-04 6:13 PM EST --

I have a rookie question. When I purchased my paddle (winged) I really did not know the difference with a winged paddle or not. Now after alot of Kayaking and research I am understanding the advantages and disadvantages.
To my ignorance I didn't know that certain strokes were not suitable for a winged paddle.
My question is what do you prefer?

hi. it depends what you are looking to do. what are your goals for kayaking? racing? fitness? birdwatching?

i’ve used a wing exclusively for several years. you can do anything you need to do to move the boat forward, surf, etc.

(ps- “wing”- not “winged”)


Different take but here’s my 2cents

– Last Updated: Aug-10-04 10:16 PM EST –

First let's be honest and say I've never used a wing. None would argue this point: for a forward stroke a wing is the most efficient.

I would advise a beginner to use a standard paddle and learn a standard repertoire of strokes including bow and stern rudder, a high brace that works (cant do that with a wing) competent reverse paddling etc. Then get a wing if you like.

Its funny I was attempting to do a sculling stroke until I realized that you are not supposed to do that with a wing paddle. Also I was having trouble with my sweep stroke without knowing about the effects of a wing paddle on the second half of the stroke. Live and learn I guess.

While I am on the paddle subject. What do you guys feel about feathering the paddle? I was toying around with mine with mixed results. I am interested in what you guys have found since I am just a rookie still.

If you use a regular paddle for too long, you will have to unlearn too many bad things the day you want to improve your forward stroke.

A wing might take a little longer to understand and use, but when you learn to use it properly, it is far better paddle than an “Euro” besides the kinds of paddling you do.




– Last Updated: Aug-10-04 9:13 PM EST –

With a wing, you can go forward, backward, low brace, and sculling. Yes, I am able to do a sculling stroke without any problems.
However, the wing gives so much support that many of the supporting strokes that are essential while using an Euro become absolutely redundant with the wing. In other words, a waste of energy and time.


as already said, on what sort of paddling you do.

It also depends on the boat you have. If a wide rec boat or SOT, you won’t get teh best from the wing.

Regarding feather - I would find it rather difficult to use a wing with no feather. Mine’s set around 75 degrees. I can use a euro (yuck) feathered (what I started with, 60 degrees default is OK) or unfeathered, and mostly paddle with a Greeland paddle (only made unfeathered).

My boat
Currently I own an Pungo 120. I do lots of day trips on Rivers and lakes. I already own a wing paddle and have never used any other kind. I was just researching the difference since it is all so new to me.

I really appreciate all the input, I love hearing everyones input and advice.

I am more of a rookie than you when it
comes to a wing paddle.

If a shop paired you with a wing to match your Pungo 120? Thought I was breaking all the ‘rules’ using it with my Explorer. As far as what’s optimum for feather, etc., don’t know that there’s any optimum, but there are fairly common feather angles etc. Length depends on beam, actual stroke mechanics (How vertical can you be at the ‘catch’ of the stroke?), arm length, strength, etc. With my QCC, height 6’1, 35 cm arm length, etc. I’m currently running a 218 cm. 65 degree right hand feather, and it feels about right. Wing broke the other day so I was forced to paddle a Werner Ikelos 220 cm. (Horrors.) Set this one at 45 degrees and was not bad except for having to keep my arms in more to compensate for the bent crank, and the fact that any blade flutters after a wing. As far as other strokes go, I’ve not mastered sculling with it, and certainly not draw or duffek strokes. For me, the standard Euro paddle works best for these. If you’re going out to go fast or only use a forward stroke, the wing is it in my estimation. If you wish to become a better paddler in terms of stroke techniques, take a Euro, or learn a GP. It’s like the difference between skeg and rudder(evil smile).

Euro paddles, feathered at 75-80 Deg
I have paddled wings and Greenland paddles. I just prefer the Euro.

a bit odd
it’s kind of weird that a shop sold you a wing paddle, especially since so few shops actually carry them at all. you really do have to paddle with it feathered- it will thrown off the whole rotation to try to use it the other way. you also should take a lesson from a local sprint team or find an experienced wing user to help you out- technique is very important here. i agree with iceman that the wing eliminates the need to do a lot of the fancy strokes people like to do with standard blades. i can paddle forwards and backwards, sweep, rudder, high and low brace, and roll with the wing. that’s enough for me.

length is also very important. it should be shorter than you think it should be. i’m 5’11" with long arms and i use a 215-6 in a 18" wide boat. i could even use a cm shorter.


each has advantages
I think it often depends on what people earn with. The local shop sold me awing after I hade tried several. I twent well with my Looksha Sport. Later on down the road I upgraded to a better,lighter wing g. People seem to love them or hate them.Play with the different angles and have fun, eventually you will decide what is right for you.

p.s. in our area high winds are a daily challenge, the wing is great for this.



– Last Updated: Aug-11-04 7:20 AM EST –

Once you go wing, you never go back!!! I do use my "NON-wing" when doing swamp trips.

One gone back to a euro…
Just too much pressure on theses old joints…

Ever try to do a bow rudder with a wing???

Wing is the way to go for me

Bow Rudder?

– Last Updated: Aug-11-04 1:03 PM EST –

I don’t use them much, as its kind of pointless to try to get an 18' boat with not much rocker to try to turn fast. I find that with the Wing I can turn just as fast with an aggressive cantilevered sweep, that way I don’t loose as much speed, as I would with a Bow rudder.

What shop would sell that pair? Borders on criminal.

My advice, sell the Pungo and get a fast narrow boat to go with the wing.

Other option, sell the wing and get a more standard euro to go with the Pungo.

Best option - have all 4!

Is it just me, or does anyone else thing this marriage can’t work out?

Greyak, or anyone else who can answer this. Is it that a wing paddle is typically used for a faster boat and my boat is a typically slow and steady?? So it seems that the salesman sold me something that I don’t really need. Hmmm.

Perhaps I will go and pickup an Euro paddle (from a different shop) tommorow and give that a shot. I do plan on picking up a sea Kayak in the next month or so. Perhaps the wing paddle will be more suitable for that boat.

More toys!
Hey, if it works…

I’d just never pair them that way, same as I’d never use my wing or GP with my (former) 28" beam SOT.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m hardly some traditionalist. A carbon Greenland paddle with a QCC is an odd mix to some. Just a carbon GP is too far for a few.

I wouldn’t use those on the wider boat as they both use techniques that work better with narrower hulls. To me, less than 24". Lower even better. After beginning to learn on an 18" wide surf ski, even my 21’ sea kayak seems a bit wide for the wing now and I feel too low to the water. (perfect for GP).

Maybe a wing can work OK with a wide boat - anyone else have positive experiences?