Suppose it takes 60 minutes to do a race with the big wing. How many minutes to do the same race with a similar paddle that is not a wing? Maybe you would also like to see 3 kayak classes. Unlimited. Touring with a wing. Touring without a wing. Meanwhile it is frustrating for me to have to buy another paddle because I love my old wing so much but finishing almost last in the race class in a touring boat at a race such as www.blackburnchallenge.com is not much fun.
What wing now?
Some are faster with mid-wng over big wing over distance. Some like even smaller.
Difference over a non-wing still more depends on paddler than paddle. If same paddler, figure a few percent faster. If 60 with wing, 62-65 without.
No way to know really. Everyone’s too different. You’ll get a range of numbers claiming much more differnece as many who go to wings get more serious about speed/training at the same time. That sort of skews the results in favor of the wing, making it seem even faster than it is.
Beyond that, whay were you asking???
Wing gains you about 5minutes per hour, it did for me anyway.
I raced a Q600 in various races in '02 and '03. In '02 I was using a standard paddle. I generally finished in the middle to rear of the surfski pack. In '03 I started using a mid sized wing. I was competitive with all but one surfski/unlimited boat in the club and I was using a Q600. (the one guy I couldn’t catch was the '02 and '03 winner of the surfski division at Blackburn). I’d say the wing moved me into the racing class even though I was in a 16’8" sea kayak.
That said, I have to say that if you’re serious enough about racing to consider a paddle for a specific class or to suggest adding a class in which you’ll fit, why not just train up to the unlimited class? I’m of the opinion that the sea-kayak and touring divisions are for people that are not serious enough about racing to by equipment or train specifically for racing. Yeah people are buying Endurance 18s and building their own boats optimized for the touring class but guess what, it is still just the touring class.
What is the learning curve…
…with a wing?
I realize I am going to have to get one sooner or later, but I still have not tried one out yet.
Can I get one, and jump right into a race with it, or is there a learning experience necessary?
About 10 min. then all your old paddles will feel strange and like to flutter. I got a wing this summer and love it. It “Sticks” in the water so well no flutter just smooth strokes, yeah it takes a bit of initial getting used to it, but basically for me you just let the paddle do its thing don’t fight it. Once you have it down normal blades feel strange!! And you will wonder why you didn’t get one sooner!! I know I did…
Have had my wing for about a year now, and will not go back to a standard paddle unless: 1. a particular race class specifies it or 2. I wish to perform sculling, draw, bow rudder strokes, etc. Once you paddle with a wing for a period, everything feels like a wet noodle. It took me more than 10 minutes to get the hang of it, and I’m still experimenting slowly with length and feather angle, as well as fine tuning my stroke, which was a disaster, but is now coming along. Unfortunately, I don’t have any empirical data to share about exactly how much faster it is. The point is well taken that once a person moves to a wing, his/her training and fitness level is increased as well. My times decreased dramatically on my usual training loop. Did find that the solid catch, etc. did take a toll on my joints initially; it’s like planting a pole in cement when you spear the catch. To me, a 2 hour workout with the wing feels much harder than a similar workout with a standard Euro blade. Tried to go back to a bent shaft Ikelos recently and had a hard time with it. It felt awkward and a bit rubbery. I missed the straight shaft and solid feel of the wing. Low braces no problem, high braces require some adjustment, and rolling is easy with all the purchase the power face provides. Some may be able to scull and use drawstrokes with a wing, but I can’t; I keep the Ikelos and a Camano for outings that are less fitness-oriented, or for roll sessions. However, if you like to go fast, you need to purchase one, preferably yesterday. Smile.
A Greenland paddle, once adjusted to, has the same effect on your thoughts about a standard blade (was quickly relegated to back deck - then off boat entirely).
Much as the wing gives more solid purchase, so with the foil shape and buoyancy of the GP (with the natural cant of a normal Greenland grip/stroke) - in a somewhat similar but also quite different way (wing stroke works - and so does any thing else). Softer though - with less joint impact. Also superior for sculling and the other strokes. No need to switch back for those things.
I have put little time on my wing, but it is the way to go for straight ahead power, and for support in skinny skis and sprint boats. I use the wing on (and mostly off!) with the ski (body position and height doesn’t feel not right with GP on the ski - and I need serious blade plant/grab to stay up). Prefer my GP with the sea kayak so much though it’s hard trying to get myself to use the wing in it - but I should so my wing use gets better and can be applied to the ski.
Recently rented a kayak on vacation - with the inevitable rental euro - and YUK! (it was a very decent carbon paddle too). Took me a while to feel OK with it. Wet noodle indeed!
Incredibly spoiled by my GP, and learning to appreciate wing.
that you can back and forth between the two. I dare say the gp has a much longer learning curve. Have a gp lent to me by some Greenland instructor friends, but haven’t put in the time to really learn to use it properly. I do like it for sweep rolls, and it sculls easily-very buoyant. They’re intent on bringing me over from the dark side to the light-smile. As far as wings go, I’ve recently had the opportunity to try three or four different ones-currently using a Czech made mid blade carbon, with carbon kevlar HPS shaft, adjustable from 216-222. With the QCC, it’s set at about 217-218cm., 60 degree feather-feels good at a slightly longer length. Had the opportunity to try an Epic one piece-what an epiphany-unbelievably light, with no loss in efficiency. Big bucks too-sigh.
I also use,
an Epic one piece mid-wing and wouldn’t use anything else. Have a two piece adjustable SET which is very similar to the Epic as far as blade dimensions and twist, just 4 ounces +/- heavier, ok to train with, but racing, Epic is the way to go for me. Learning curve was about 2 to 3 weeks to match times with previous paddle, it just kept improving and wouldn’t use anything else now other than maybe getting a larger wing for shorter races (6 miles) and eventually build up stamina to use it for longer ones as it would be more fatiguing.
“One Trick Pony”
Bought my wing to add stability while trying to learn a ski. It was faster and did add stability but also played hell on my tendons and joints.
When I gave up on the ski I went back to a bent shaft to relieve the hurt. I race maybe two days a year and paddle about 250 and really missed all the strokes I couldn’t do with the wing…
Getting old… GH
Hey - we don’t get older,
we get better!
Cheers, and stay happy!
Part of the Beauty of this Sport…
is that it has so many different levels, and you see such a wide age span of participants. As I’ve moved comfortably into middle age, starting my ‘second lap of life,’ I find a buffet assortment of ibuprofen works wonders, both prescriptively and diagnostically, along with regular doses of glucosamine and chondroitin. The high angle stroke does exact a toll on shoulders-ironically though, even with two shoulder spurs from years of heavy weightlifting, the torso rotation needed with the wing stroke is the best thing for me. I hurt now when I don’t paddle. As to the joint and tendon pain, yes, comes with the territory; it’s a solid catch, with little wasted effort, and much transmitted shock. A good warm up beforehand, including stretching and a preemptive Advil is de rigeur here. The bottom line is, if you’re paddling, and racing/fitness work is not paramount, then by all means enjoy whatever paddle, stroke, angle feels best. There’s a satisfaction also to being able to do a bazillion different strokes fluidly, isn’t there? Have Greenland instructor friends who wield their gps like magical sceptres-simply amazing. Enjoy.
I occasionally race and don’t have a boat for it yet. I’ve borrowed an old school fibreglass boat for the next race. Likely I will buy more of a touring boat (possibly AirLite) than a racing boat at some point. My question is … Can I use a wing paddle with this boat? Even if I’m just going out for a nice paddle down an easy river rather than a race?