Wing paddle

I got to try my new wing paddle in earnest yesterday and have a couple of questions.

  1. On the right side, (just the right side) as I planted the paddle, I would get a “slap”. What is causing this, and will it affect performance?

    I have a length lock, and experimented with different angles and lengths, and it always seemed to do it.

  2. I believe it was in Hutchinson’s book that I read that the upper body should be rotated completly at 90 degrees to the yak facing the side where the paddle is in the water. I gave up on that and ended up just rotating like I normally would.— Should I keep trying it, or stay at what is comfortable?

  3. I could paddle all day at between 5 and 6 MPH, but when I got above 6, I would wear out after about a mile. Is it just the fact that it is a new stroke to me and I need practice, or am I doing something wrong?

    With an upcoming race Saturday, I am torn between using my old conventional paddle or the new wing.

    Any helpful advice will be greatly appreciated.



can’t say
but I’ve got the experience of applying hp with new technique and suffering a couple weeks of recovery.

i’m not quite sure what is causing the slap without seeing you paddle, but it must have something to do with the way you are planting. the wing should be planted quite far in front, rather vertically. possibly you are planting wiht the blade fairly horizontal. try extending your torso a bit more and slowing down at first for a really good plant. i don’t think you want to end up at 90 degrees- the blade should really be exiting around your hips, not after, and if you are keeping your upper hand up, the blade as vertical as possible, and your arms fairly straight, you should be rotating a bit less than that. as for getting tired more quickly- that’s only natural with a new blade, which will use somewhat different muscles.

my advice would be to stick with the wing, accept the break in period, and never look back. i’ve yet to meet someone who went back to a euro after using a wing seriously for a while.

have fun.


I’m no wing espert but I have two

– Last Updated: Sep-20-04 11:56 AM EST –


1. The wing padle gets about 6 % extra efficiency at best with practice. I don't think you can get more than 3 at best in a week so the return is small and the risk is big. Not my kind of thing. You should know, not guess that the wing would help you, or consider the race an experiment, or go with the flat paddle.

If you get to me back or front channel I'll loan you my (legal) Greg Barton forward stroke video. It's go only about 5 minutes that will be very useful to you but that's a great five minutes. also the FAQ section of sisson kayaks web site has a great paragraph on the wing stroke; practiced it yesterday with my flat paddle.

Hopefully Ice, Sanjay, and the many accomplished wing paddlers on the board will pitch in.

occurs alot of the time(with a wing) when you begin your stroke before having the paddle completely in the water (area where paddle and shaft meet is cupped and makes that sound), probably not extending completely on the right side, happened to me on the left side, go figure. Choking up half an inch to an inch will probably help this (or lengthen the paddle a bit), but the best cure is the full rotation. At first when you rotate you might tap the side of the hull with the paddle upon entry (a good sign your entry is near where it should be), practice will get it just right. The extra rotation will put strain on the ab muscles and you will get tired after a bit, but as you practice you will develop and use this core muscle more and you will feel the addl. power on the stroke. Just my input after suffering similar malady, not an expert by any stretch of the imagination.


wing paddle
Greetings Jackl

It took me about a month to get used to my wing paddle. Now I can’t paddle with my conventional blade. It sounds like you bought one of Greg B.'s paddles. I did and I love it, wouldn’t paddle with anything else. I don’t know what’s going on with your stoke but following some of your writings on, it’s clear you are putting the miles in. Which (conveniently) will give you many chances to practice your off stroke. I bet you figure out your stroke pretty soon. If you did buy one of Greg’s paddles, email him. He’ll respond. Can you think of anyone else you’d rather get direction from. Good Luck! FRanklin

It’s the cup part of the tip of the …

– Last Updated: Sep-20-04 1:04 PM EST –

paddle. Does it still happen even when boat it up to speed? Do you have the regular 6.5" size or the larger one? These things have a bad habit of pointing out whats wrong :) Been tinkering around with various tip profiles for the past couple years..... sort of a trade off for catch power vs. smooth entry. Unless you are just starting to pull on paddle way aft of entry not really slowing you down. (Waiting for someone to argue air is being pulled down here) The " wait 'till blade is submerged before applying load" idea lessens the clopping but sometimes does not feel right....... especially in rougher water. Changing the shaft angle just to quiet noise might not be right if it takes you off form. If you have not already might try easing up grip on noisy side.... compare sides as you go too.. slow motion for a few minutes. If you have adjustable feathering ( wing) and normally paddle over 60 with the regular paddle....maybe back off a bit on wing.
Try shortening the stroke length dramatically ( on the release) as you get up to speed and add rotation as normal.

or you could ask Patrick!
Hi Patrick

I love my Onno Big Boy(customized just for me) paddle. It is all that! I think our kayak club should buy stock in your company. Seems every person in the club is slowly switching over to ONNO. I need to get mine fixed. Think you can help me? Franklin

Slap vs. Crack
I think we need a sound effect distinction here. If what you’re hearing is a slap, then you’re probably not burying your catch far enough before you start pulling (as in pulling the boat past the paddle, which at this point is like a rod embedded in cement). If this is what you hear, then you’re losing efficiency at the forward part of the stroke. I went from this sound to at times, a distinctive crack. The crack comes from slicing the blade into the water, aka ‘spearing a fish’, as Brent Reitz refers to it in ‘The Forward Stroke’ instructional tape. It varies in intensity depending upon the angle in which the blade enters. It’s actually kind of fun to hear; sounds crisp.

As far as using the wing for a race goes, how long is the distance? If you think you’ll fatigue faster with the wing, given that your body may not yet be used to the added impact on the joints, etc., then stay with what you know. Also, if there are any kind of conditions, are you comfortable enough bracing, etc. with the wing to be out there? I find that using the wing makes you want to go faster and harder-you keep waiting for it to slip like a standard blade, but it never does, unless you flub a stroke. Also have a Werner Ikelos for the wife that for all intensive purposes is a superb paddle; large blades and incredible linking stroke capabilities without that dihedral ridge. Even this feels rather noodly after working with the wing for a while. The only time I’ll go back is if I have to use side draws, sculls, etc. Have fun with it!

Thanks everyone for all…
…the suggestions.

It is definately a slap, not a crack.

I am going out again tomorrow and hoping to improve.

I will definately use it in this Saturdays 6 miler, even if I think I would have done better with the Euro.

I will try to pull a little harder on entry, and work on the waste twist.

It is tough to teach an old dog new tricks, but I am game.