wing paddle blade size

I am currently paddling an Epic Small Mid Wing and feel it is a little small. My cadence is high and I can maintain a steady 4.3-4.5 knots over a calm 10 mile lake course. My boat is an Epic 18x. I feel that there is more speed in the boat but with the Small Mid Wing I have to increase my cadence to a point that my stroke is not smooth.

I am thinking of moving to a bigger paddle and wonder if anyone has experience with Epic’s Mid-Large wing. The shaft is stiffer than the burgundy shaft on my small-mid and it weighs a little more.

I am undecided about whether to order a Mid wing or the Mid Large. The Mid Wing is only about 2% bigger than the Small-Mid but the Mid -Large is about 10% bigger.

Any advice welcomed.



A consideration
Think on this for a moment-

Oscar Chalupsky, at 6’4", and still one of the best surf ski racers in the world, uses a mid wing.

In the catalog description, the mid large is described as best for strong sprint paddlers who find the large blade too much.

I owned a large blade for years, and it was great in my sprint boat, especially when I was trying to get the boat to “pop”. When I got my mid wing, I never used the large wing again. I liked the mid for nearly any boat, any distance- sprint boats in a sprint, fast sea kayaks in a marathon. While I did race some marathons with the large wing, it really was a beast.

My wife has a small mid, which I have used and liked. Not my choice for a sprint boat, but great for sea boats.

There may be other issues to address before simply plunking down your hard earned money for a paddle.

Small-Mid vs. Mid
The small-mid is surprisingly different from the mid-wing, even though by spec they are very close.

I have the mid wing and on occasion have borrowed a small-mid a couple of times. The mid-wing is more than sufficient unless sprinting very short distances IMO.

I am actually looking to “downgrade” to the small-mid since I find the mid-wing too powerful to me for actively paddling for more than an hour.

Are you sure it is the paddle that’s restricting you? Perhaps borrow someone’s paddle to tell for yourself would be best…

comparison of Mid to small Mid
I have used an SRS Mid and my GPS tells the tale – .2 to .4 knots better over a 3 mile trial. I was surprised.

When you can hold 5+ kt…
… over that time/distance, then maybe then consider a little bigger blade. For now, I’d suggest more attention to technique and less on gear.

In general anyway, don’t know squat about you. Maybe you’re a really big strong guy?

I’m 46,5’9", 50# overweight, weekend warrior at best paddling about once a week on average (more when I’m smarter), and can do your 4.3+/5mph speeds with a Greenland paddle (have done so many times over 3 hour+), and a bit better that with an Aleutian or wing/hybrid, in a QCC700. Not a slow kayak, but the 18X is faster.

A bigger blade may ultimately work better for you, and might feel better now, but it will also mask technique issues by encouraging force over finesse and slower cadence/higher load/more anaerobic stroke vs a more aerobic effort level you can maintain longer (and build on). Bad habits over distance that may feel OK feel right/good now but are counterproductive in the long run. A bigger blade will allow sloppy catch to still feel sort of solid, poor rotation to seem effective enough, shaft angle less controlable, release/turnover gets bogged down , etc.

Cycling equivalent is a top gear “masher” who stays in high gear with slower cadence (I tend to do that, though it’s not energy/speed efficient).

There’s a spot where things are dialed in and speed is better while effort is less. Seems to me the small mid would be easier to refine stroke and get this zone ingrained in a touring scenario.

If I still had my mid, I’d have been happy to swap for a small mid. EPIC Mid was too much in a sea kayak for me (without a lot more paddling/fitness work - and being able to hold 6+ kt over distance).

Any of you wing 100% of the time 3 day a week+ fitness/race types out there disagree?

Also agree with above comment that quite small size difference in blades makes for BIG differences on water. Most got by fine with the mid for years before all the size options cam about, so you’d be in good company if you switch, but I also think a lot of folks would swap in a heartbeat now.

New/different gear enthusiasm?

– Last Updated: Feb-26-09 9:27 PM EST –

I think we all tend to give a demo paddle or kayak a bit of extra - so I wouldn't place too much value on those speed differences you saw on one short paddle. Maybe if those 3 miles were at the end of one of your 10 mile paddles...

Racer type agrees
Greyak, I had the same thoughts as you about TED’s current speed range. The 18x is not the limiting factor. Definitely going to anything with “large” as part of its name would IMHO be for short distance workouts and sprint racing only and could lead to injury.

A larger paddle blade may initially seem like the solution but technique is likely the real need and money spent on some coaching may be more effective than money spent on a new paddle.

I paddle an ONNO small mid wing in 18 foot boats and this is ample blade size to maintain 6 mph for hour long outings and can sprint to 8 and not feel that it is the paddle that is holding me back.


I agree as well
I have a large ONNO wing and it’s fine for a general touring in 18 foot sea kayak. On my surf ski, it’s much to big. I can’t do the higher cadence with it for racing and going fast. I want to get a small mid wing from ONNO. You reading this Patrick?


What They Said
Personally, I’d not go any larger than the mid wing for general purpose use. If you’re paddling distances, then I’d also stay with the burgundy shaft over the stiffer blue. Unless you’re purely sprinting, you might end up with some joint pain, etc. with a stiffer shaft-can’t see any real benefit either…a little ‘snap’ is always good.

The mid wing is a great paddle-clean and smooth throughout with a nice ‘pop’ at the exit. A number of my friends swear by Pat’s Onno blade also-have to put one on my Christmas list. My Bracsa VIII is a nice blade too, but lots of surface area in the water so best served for less textured conditions.

Second / third as above …
Personal preference can outweigh anything. Is the paddle adjustable ? Can you mess around with making it longer ?

IMHO, The Small - Mid size or even smaller is what many people should be using. Especially if paddling a slower boat that ‘hits the wall’ under 6mph.

Kocho, you have tried everything else … I think you owe me a chance now … LOL

Andy … stay on my case : )

I wanted a large wing too
when I first started paddling hey lets face it bigger seems better right? After talking to Pat at Onno I end up with his mid wing and it’s more than enough paddle for me to sprint with even. I’m 6’2" 205 and I guess according to Epic paddle wizard very strong, and mid is still enough paddle for me. Like others said work on form that’s what most of us need more than paddle size. You’ll probably pick up bad habbits with a large wing. Chaz

Yep, And better still is to try a really
small wing. This will compel you to work on technique instead of ‘forcing it’ with more surface area. Go back toy your X paddle and you will be suprised.

Hey Pat, what size…
… is the wing you made for JackL? I got to try it very breifly a year or so ago. Really sweet.

I should have gone small…
Small Mid wing. I recently bought a spare mid wing, and I’m sorry I didn’t buy a small mid instead.

I think it would be better for developing my technique, and for keeping uup the cadence over a few hours.

I’ve emailed you a few times.

205-215 cm, 2 piece with your adjustable lever thingy, small mid wing…

email me your address and the cost, I’ll send you a check.

Andy :slight_smile:

Are you making graphite greenland paddles these days? -:wink: That would be the only new high-cost paddle I would consider down the road…

The first time I spoke with you, if you recall I wanted something “big”. Bigger than what I had at the time, which I now realize was already too big for me. Since then I keep going down in size even though some of my boats are faster now.

I’ve been toying with the idea to get a surf ski and this is the only reason I’m still keeping the mid-wing. If it was not for this, I would have probably swapped it for a smaller one by now. For a surf ski I think it might be OK but I suspect I would swap if for a smaller one down the road anyway - my right shoulder does not like the power it generates and feels better when I use the GP (but that may be a technique thing too - I need more time on the water to figure it out for sure)…

I’m like you…
I have a mid wing and I’m thinking of getting a smaller wing size. I’m 5’6", 150 and I think the mid size is just too much for me. I’d like to try a smaller blade, but most folks around here have the mid size.

There are other paddles…
… than wings & GPs (heresy in both camps I realize) - for those times where wing is a bit much on the shoulder and GP not quite cutting it for speed/mechanics.

Ignoring Euros (I leave them to rec/WW/Surf) you might like an Aleut (nearly as easy on shoulder with better speed than GP) or something like my GP/Aleut/Wing hybrid (uses wing stroke - so a bit more shoulder work - but more like a kid’s wing as far as stresses go):

I really need to take/post more pictures of those and the Aleuts…

These sort of form a continuum going GP-Aleut-Hybrid-Wing as far as stroke/stress/feel differences go. I’d say for speed as well, but Aleut and hybrid seem more tied with no clear advantage for cruising speed - just nicely different on the body. I mostly use these two types now, and switch back and forth a lot between them. My Superior carbon GP is a great paddle - but mostly a spare/beater now.

Speaking of which, if you really do want a CF GP - I think Ron at Novorca may still be having a bit of a sale. Not cheap, but a relative bargain (as are Pat’s wings). He also has a bit more flexibility with sizing than Superior’s one size blade/different loom lengths.

BTW - I held on to my Epic mid wing for same reason as you - a someday (again) surf ski. Needed the cash more and wasn’t using it so I sold it. Figure when I can afford a ski again I’ll be able to afford another wing (and likely a bit smaller one). Maybe Patrick will make me one next time around? Might be a while given $ situation…

Yup, the first (and so far only) paddle I’ve made is an Aleut, based in part on the photos you took as well as some of the references you sent me. Mine does not look much like yours though -:wink:

I am not sure what wood I used, but it looks like pine or something similar. At about $10 for a 2"x8"x10’ plank at Home Depot it was not a big investment.

As it is, it is lighter than my Epic mid-wing signature and is probably on par weigth-wise with the Carbon Burgundy shaft for 10x less $ (including the $30 or so plane tool I bought to make it).

It is rather flexible and is great for longer distances. Of course, it is not as buoyant as the Lumpy but is considerably lighter.

Mine has narrow blades - see compared with the 3 and 1/4 width on the Lumpy paddle next to it. Mine is under 3 inches, b/w 2 and 5/8 and 3/4 approximately. Blade length is similar to the Lumpy but my loom is 2 to 3 inches wider than the Lumpy. Total length is 88 for the Lumpy and 90 for mine.

The loom shape is somewhat unusual too - rectangular in the middle, egg-shaped at the grip area. This is for two reasons: first, it was easy to leave it rectangular and second, it is stronger this way.

Photos here:

I’d love to comment…
… but those pictures/description have my head swimming with things probably best left unsaid, so I’ll just bite my tongue. Too many things to get into, not easy to convey on-line. Things more easily conveyed/received in person, with other paddles to compare, and best if on water…