After taking a very helpful stroke clinic with Oscar Chalupsky of Epic Paddles, I’m getting interested in a wing paddle as an alternate paddle. The few times I’ve tested them, I’ve had no way to compare efficiency against a standard paddle except compare the difference in all-out sprint speeds, which was about 5%. It occurs to me that a 5% increase in top speed must represent a much larger percentage increase in power – maybe 10% or 20% – since resistance is increasing very steeply at top speeds. So my question is, at touring speeds, where speed is more linear compared to resistance, would a wing paddle give a much greater than 5% advantage? (I’m guessing not, but don’t know exactly why. Do wing paddles only have an advantage at high stroke angles and high force?)
Where does it come from?
Not a physics expert, but someone who is could tell us how the wing gets its advantage and the crux, (hang in here with me) is whether you get any “free” energy from its use or whether it simply allows you to exert more force on moving the boat ahead per stroke by virtue of the strong and immediate catch and lift it is said to have fromthe wing like shape. So if it is simply giving you the ability to exert more force, there is no “advantage” to using it for touring, since the amount of work done equals the forward progress made. The only difference is whether you want to exert more or less force per stroke to suit your style.
If, however, the physics of the paddle hook up like an airplane wing to actually access additional force that you do not create via muscle, I am thinking it could give an advantage.
Still there? If so, sure, any increase in force from paddling will give a correspondingly larger increase in forward speed if resistance is less (depends on boat, amount of wetted surface, beam, prismatic cefficient, etc.)
And still further, if and only if the wing gives some “free” energy then a physics person could tell us if that effect, if it exists, is linearly present at various increments of force applied to the paddle.
Has that clarified it or as clear as mud???
I don’t know percentages, but…
…since I have switched to a wing , my touring pace is about a half a mile faster than it used to be.
I honestly don’t like it for touring, but I keep using it so I will be at ease with it when I am racing.
L alternate paddle
Yeah thats funny, once you start using it your EURO will be your ALTERNATE paddle…
My biggest bitch with it is…
…when I want to go slow, it drips water all over me.
If that’s your…
…big beef with a wing, don’t get a Greenland paddle!
Or just don’t go slow!! I also find that by putting rain-X on my blades the water drops off faster, keeping it from flying into my face at speed.
Rainex - that’s a new one.
Never thought of Rainex for paddle blades, but makes sense. Less water means less weight at the ends of the paddle. Wing blades also make a lot of noise on entry (ker-plunk, ker-plunk), at least for me. Do they get quieter with good technique? My Lightning standard blades are less than 1 millimeter thin, and utterly silent.