New paddle for my 18X Sport. Should I keep my wing at the same length as my flat paddle or shorter? I start my forward stroke as close to the boat as possible, but how close to the boat should the paddle be as the blade reaches my hip? I’ve been working to keep a very vertical stroke, but would one generally vary the angle over the course of a long paddle? Maybe a good video would be of some help as well. Thanks.
Just let the paddle tell you…
…where it wants to be… start close and let it drift out. too close in and you will be swimming.
was winging it today
like you my entry point is as close to the kayak as possible-luckily the Jet came with ‘paddle guards’ on both sides…my exit point however is no where near the kayak relatively speaking…funny, after zipping along in the jet I hopped into the Eggemoggin, a kayak that is quick enough but compared to the Jet rather sluggish. I also switched out for a GP with the Egg and was reminded that a GP flutters compared to a WP
Think of the paddle length as single speed bicycle. Choose your gear wisely…the higher the speed you maintain, the bigger the gear (longer paddle).
In a sprint boat, I usually use about a 218cm, sometimes a 216. In a surf ski, 212cm to 215. But in a fast sea kayak, my favorite lengths are 210-213cm. And for a flat paddle? Since I am usually in a much slower boat, and rarely above 4.5kn, I never go longer than 210, more frequently a 205cm.
Seat height can play a bit of a part, especially when paddling at higher speeds. You want to avoid having your top hand very much above your shoulder (some top sprint paddlers who are fantastically strong will have the “push” hand as high as their eye level), as this becomes biomechanically very demanding. Higher seat will allow for a longer paddle- if a longer paddle is necessary for the boat speed.
Keep in mind that it is not just boat speed, a surf ski will have less resistance at 6kn than your boat, and a sprint boat at 6kn is lower resistance than the surf ski. More resistance, the easier gear you will need.
As others have pointed out, if you keep a loose grip on the lower hand, the paddle will dictate the path through the water. Also, if you pull back too far, a wing paddle will definately let you know not to do that!
Agree with Grayhawk
and I can only add, that as you use it you will probably want to shorten it.
I went from using mine at 216 to now 213 and a half.
I say the half, because it is that noticeable to me
Ah, the wing paddle
After six weeks, mine still let’s me know from time to time that I really should consider going in for a swim.
I’m varying mine from 214-216, down from 220 with my old beater paddle. Can go a little shorter, still working on getting max rotation down.
I’m amazed that you can make a claw with two fingers on the lower hand, and the paddle just goes. Feels like you are pushing off the bottom, the blade is gripping so well.
How tall are you?
I'm thinking about getting a wing paddle lately. I suspect it should be somewhere b/w 210 and 220 for my 6'4" height but can't seem to find info on making this more precise.
Secod question is if Lendal Kinetic Wing is worth a look - I have a 220cm crabon straight shaft that I'm not using and I can either sell it and go different brand or buy the blades for it...For active fitness or recreational paddling, not for racing and the Lendal seems to be designed with this in mind, at least on paper...
Lendal wing is excellent
for sea touring. Combines performance aspects of true race wing with sea touring strokes in mind. It’s a compromise, albeit great one. Excellent for rolling, bracing, draws etc, so it allows for dynamic sea paddling where one is using a variety of strokes not friendly for a race wing!
I am 6ft. A friend who is a very experienced expedition paddler came up with much the same length preferences that I did, and did so more or less independently (except for the sprint kayak, since I coached him in that). He is 5’ 11".
I find this bit of info quite interesting. Oscar Chalupsky usually uses a 215cm paddle, except when battling into the wind. In the wind, he will shorten his paddle as much as 5cm. Keeping in mind some of the parameters I alluded to-
He is 6’4" (or maybe 6’5", I can’t remember),so, he would likely use a longer paddle. He paddles a surf ski, a very low resistance compared to a sea kayak; again, this would indicate a longer paddle. He paddles at racing speeds, again, a longer paddle. But in a surf ski one usually sits lower than in a sea kayak (and much lower than in a a sprint kayak) and this would imply going slightly shorter. Also, he is usually racing marathon distances; generally this means shorter. Interesting that someone so powerful uses paddles that, in many cases is still shorter than what many sea kayakers use!
Forget about your overall height
and think more in terms of torso length. That is a far more critical thing to consider. IF you are tall with a short torso, you will probably be more comfortable with a shorter paddle than someone shorter with a longer torso.
The best measure would be to measure how high the water line comes up my arms while I’m seated upright in my kayak with hands hanging down by my sides, combine that with my overal armspan, look at the specific paddle blade shape (some are longer than others), consider the distance from my grip to the paddle blade top, factor-in my paddling style for a specific event, account for my boat’s width and I’ll know for sure. Simple as that -
I went to the good ole’ Epic Paddle Wizard, or whatever they call it. After entering all of the relavent data, I decided to cut down my wing to 210…and I like it much better.
Epic Paddle Wizard
I have been using exclusively different kinds of wing paddles for a while now (at least well over 5 years) in both surfskis & ICF ruled k-1’s. Thus, by now, I know exactly the length of the paddle based on the boat, race distance, and water conditions.
I checked the “Epic Paddle Wizard” several times, and it works. It matches the exact length for both sprinting/marathoning using a large or mid wing.
Note: there are a few wing paddle makers out there. I have two wings from Epic and one from Fenn as well as tried/used quite a few others, and not doubt about it, Epic wings are on top of the food chain.
I like my paddle longer than some becuase suppose you brace when you are perpendicular to waves about 8ft apart. Maybe there is no water to brace against unless your paddle is longer. I have one kayak paddle and do at least 1000 miles a year with it. It is 5 years old and have done many rough surf launches and shallow water races. It is the same paddle that won olympic gold in athens. It is a turbo made in north america. Very rugged
Not sure where you’re finding conditions in which a long paddle is necessary to brace successfully. I’ve been paddling a long boat in big water for a long time with a 216, recently got an adjustable shaft that I’m still experimenting with but probably will settle around 212, and have never missed the water with a stroke or a brace because of anything other than pure operator error.