Wing paddle use with rudderless kayaks in races

If racing a rudderless or skegless kayak (12-15 ft), where you must make varied strokes to track straight or turn slightly, does it make sense to use a wing paddle?

Depends on how the boat tracks and your skill in edging.

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Not really, 12-15 foot boats tend to be pretty wide.

The current design of wing paddles includes a twist in them. That design is to make the wing paddle move away from the boat at a 45 degree angle as you pull it back.

On a wide boat it can cause a few problems in you shoulders.


From another site:

Racers as well as recreational paddlers often think that wing paddles are “better” than other types of paddles. Let me correct this misconception right away. Wing blades are only better at doing a forward stroke, and only if the forward stroke is done with good technique. For all the other strokes one can do with a paddle (bow rudder, stern rudder, draw, low brace, high brace, boof, etc) the wing blade is pretty useless.

This means that wing paddles should only be used in conditions and with craft that allow you to make full use of the benefits of a wing paddle, and where other paddling strokes are not really required. Forget about using wing paddles with a whitewater kayak or with a wide, stable recreational kayak or sit-on-top. If your kayak is made for speed in a straight line, like a racing kayak, surfski or touring kayak, and if it is used primarily on flat water or on the open ocean, a wing paddle might be the right choice.


Late to this topic, but will weigh in. I used my wing with a 15 ft delphin and it worked well.
Main thing with wing is not whether it’s good with your boat but wheather you are good with it. Its a paddle with a tricky non-symmetrical nature and a long learning curve.
If you just grab it and go you are likely to be leery of it and restraned in your corrections. You pretty much have to commit to it as your main for a good long while and make an effort to learn it. Given that it will become pretty great, otherwise will be a hindrance likely.

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Given practice most, of not all, if these things can be done with a wing. The problem is that wing few are motivated to learn. Wing is usually used by sprint kayakers and surfskiers where corrective strokes are irrelevant as well as heavy bracing. In sea kayaking few folks ever touch a wing.

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