wing paddle

I’m going to make the jump into a wing paddle. I will be touring with it and doing long races. I have read every thing I can find. Now I just need some real world advice, opinions, and options.

Thanks in advance,

Ryan L.

Excited for you … PLEASE call me for
real world advice.

Call Patrick

don’t be afraid
Open mind and try it for yourself. Forget about all the black magic you’ll hear about how hard it is to brace or roll or paddle in rough conditions.

But he has to get in line.
Nanci and I are both waiting for new ONNOs

jack L

For what it is worth:
the first wing I got was from Epic, and it worked me for death.

After a few years, I got another one from ONNO, and it was like day and night.

For the past two years I not only have used it for racing, but for my every day touring as well.

I doubt if I will every use a Euro again

jack L

Same here
I’ve been using my ONNO wings exclusively. Lightweight, no flutter, adjustable feather and length and Pat’s a great guy and a carbon fiber artist.


Check out the reviews
@ go to the surfski review tab and then click on other reviews. You will find a fairly objective review of 13 different wing paddles. I own an Epic mid and a Jantex large minus. I use the Jantex 95% of the time and find it very high quality.

don’t forget
Well, I have had a wing for a year or two and don’t feel at all comfy in any kind of rough water. Certainly not when compared to my Euro paddles. Plus, I think a wing and a ruddered boat is the right combo.

do forget

– Last Updated: Apr-08-11 1:34 AM EST –

My point is that the experience differs among users. I know people who will rarely take out a euro or gp unless it is to rest. For me it gave a different sense of stability in rough water after I got used to it. I remember thinking, "boy this isn't nearly as bad as some describe it".

If he's doing long races it's the way to go. Although I will say that depending on him and what boat he paddles, he may reach a point of diminishing returns in terms of how much faster he can go.

Wings and stability
I use pretty much all popular (and not so popular) kinds of paddles depending on water conditions, boat, purpose of the paddle, my company, etc.

When I expect to rack-up some miles or want to go fast I usually go out with the wing. The only circumstances I find the wing inferior is if I want to play rather than move forward. Or if things get so dicey that there is a chance of repeated capsizes in very rough conditions or tight quarters where there is no room for mistakes and where I need to rely on more than a sweep roll (for which the wing is great) to get out of there.

In terms of stability, once you are comfortable with the wing stroke, you will feel unstable paddling anything else! The reason is that with a little lower angle to the water, the lift of the wing creates tons of support for you. To get anywhere near the same firm support during a forward stroke from any other paddle, you pretty much have to scull or slice the water thus losing most of your forward paddling power in the process. Not so with the wing - you can brace and stabilize during the forward stroke, and if you got enough enregy for it still make great forward progress (of course, slower compared to if you did not have to waste energy on stability).

I’ve clocked my speed with GPS many times in all conditions - the wing beats any other paddle I use in any condition in terms of speed and power.

It’s perfect for touring/racing. For other purposes I find other paddles work better sometimes.

Last piece of advice - get as light a paddle (with light blades for low swing weight) as you can afford. Makes a real difference. An adjustable length and feather angle is also an almost a must have IMO. As conditions vary or you change boats you will feel a difference and change the length. The feather angle may not be that important to be able to change but that feature comes “free” with length adjustable ferules (sure was handy for me when I decided to move away from feathered to non-feathered paddles).

Wing Advice

I come from New Zealand where wing paddles are the most common type of paddle used now for both racing and touring. They are a vast improvement over a flat blade paddles in most cases except if you’re into white water and surfing and you need that flat surface for the trick moves.

The BIGGEST mistake most people make when moving to a wing blade is to get a blade too big and too long. That combination will kill you. Typically a sea kayak blade may be 220cm to 225cm. Moving to a wing you go to a 210cm to 215cm, AND pick a small wing to start with.

The wing will give you an immediate improvement in forward speed without changing your stroke. Next you have to learn a whole new stroke technique to pull leverage the wings full potential.

I sell a wing blade called the Enduro and it is the most popular blade I stock. It’s smaller than the Epic Small Mid Wing. It is exactly the type of blade a neo-wing paddler should buy.

Control of a wing blade is something that takes a little getting used to. Get an adjustable length blade and you can shorten it on the really windy days. Other than that, if you have control issues, 1. It’s too long, 2. is the blade too big, 3. Maybe the angles are not right for you, 4. You need coaching. (Coaching is good for anyone. Professionals never stop getting coaching, you notice that?)

Now I read about people taking about throw weights. It’s makes me laugh. Ignore it. When people talk throw weights, I start wondering if they actually paddle. You will like the blade that you like. When we are talking 600 grams or 700 grams! The beers you lift after a paddle weight more.

You see a wing blade is powered from your rotational muscles not from you arms. Big rotational muscles and a much stiffer, higher arm position. You will find muscles you did not know you had!

Check out my website and feel free to call me.



some numbers

– Last Updated: Apr-08-11 1:53 PM EST –

Olympic K1 1000m sprint times

1956 Melbourne / Stockholm Olympics Men's K-1 1000m Medalists
Gold: FREDRIKSSON, Gert SWE 04:12.8
1960 Rome Olympics Men's K-1 1000m Medalists
Gold: HANSEN, Erik Rosendahl DEN 03:53.0
1964 Tokyo Olympics Men's K-1 1000m Medalists
Gold: PETERSON, Rolf SWE 03:57.1
1968 Mexico Olympics Men's K-1 1000m Medalists
Gold: HESZ, Mihaly HUN 04:02.6
1972 Munich Olympics Men's K-1 1000m Medalists
Gold: SHAPARENKO, Aleksandr URS 03:48.1
1976 Montreal Olympics Men's K-1 1000m Medalists
Gold: HELM, Rdiger GDR 03:48.2
1980 Moscow Olympics Men's K-1 1000m Medalists
Gold: HELM, Rdiger GDR 03:48.8
1984 Los Angeles Olympics Men's K-1 1000m Medalists
Gold: THOMPSON, Alan Blair NZL 03:45.7
Bronze: BARTON, Gregory Mark USA 03:47.4
1988 Seoul Olympics Men's K-1 1000m Medalists
Gold: BARTON, Gregory Mark USA 03:55.3
1992 Barcelona Olympics Men's K-1 1000m Medalists
Gold: ROBINSON, Clint AUS 03:37.3
Bronze: BARTON, Gregory Mark USA 03:37.9
1996 Atlanta Olympics Men's K-1 1000m Medalists
Gold: HOLMANN, Knut NOR 03:25.8
2000 Sydney Olympics Men's K-1 1000m Medalists
Gold: HOLMANN, Knut NOR 03:33.3
2004 Athens Olympics Men's K-1 1000m Medalists
Gold: LARSEN, Eirik Veraas NOR 03:25.9
2008 Beijing Olympics Men's K-1 1000m Medalists
Gold: BRABANTS, Tim GBR 3:26.323

Keep in mind that conditions for 1000m sprint are not same, watch the trend in times. "phase transition" happens at 92

The wing paddle was introduced in mid80s
And, it was faster. It quite interesting to notice, that even though Mr. Barton was faster than the previous winners, the difference wasn't that great. There is a noticeable jump in later Olympic times. It probably could be argued that it is not only the type paddle, but development of technique and the paddle design that matter.

Edit - Mr. Barton used wing paddle in 88 - says so on his site.

more info.
Bracing isn’t at all an issue on the vast reservoirs and rivers my boat sees. The main boat I will use the wing with is my ruddered qcc 500. Im not sure I can push it to the wall of its design so no issue there. I hope to eventually get a surfski so this paddle will translate. For down river races I feel like there is no argument that a wing is the way to go. I sorta already paddle in the wing style of upright high angle and away from the boat so I am hoping the transition will be quick.

Thanks for the length advice. I usually paddle a 220 so I think I’m going to do an adjustable from 208-218 on the advice of pat.

After talking to pat I am definitely going with the onno mostly because I think the logo is cool. That how we’re supposed to pick gear right? So now all thats left is waiting. Apparently behind jack’s paddles.

Thanks for the help,

Ryan L.

Technique first
When I feel I can paddle my boat as fast as Greg Barton can paddle my boat, then I will opt for changing to faster tools (paddle). What I am trying to say is that I can gain more “speed” with my flat paddle by improving my technique than spending $400 on a wing paddle will gain me.

Just threw this out for debate. I used to race motorcycles and a lot of people would throw money at the bikes when the limiting factor was the rider.

Bill G.

Charlotte, NC

your point is misguided
The idea of a wing paddle is maximizing efficiency at all levels of effort. It’s not like there is the euro then the wing. It’s not a hierarchy of speed. Although your point is appreciated. I am definitely not a gear snob looking for an ounce of speed.

Ryan L

You say: “Now I read about people taking about throw weights. It’s makes me laugh. Ignore it. When people talk throw weights, I start wondering if they actually paddle. You will like the blade that you like. When we are talking 600 grams or 700 grams! The beers you lift after a paddle weight more.”

I owned the Epic signature hybrid wing for a couple of years. Every time I switched with someone with the full carbon version I felt a notable difference. Now I own a carbon-bladed version and it just feels better in the hand. The weight difference is noticeable and it does add-up over time.

Granted, blade shape and size do matter a lot, but weight matters too.

As for size. I went down from an Epic mid-wing to a small-mid that I paddled for a year or so. I liked the slightly lighter feel in and out of the water of the small mid (same material as the mid so difference is just due to size shape). But somehow missed the mid’s more planted feel.

With my last paddle I went back to the mid size and I’m happy with it. Still not 100% convinced one way or the other on size but, I’m 100% sold on the weight issue. I’ve had the same experience with other brands of paddles (Lendal Kinetic Touring, non-wing, models in particular) - the lighter carbon versions are a lot nicer in use than the plastic version on the same shaft. Same with my Greenland paddles - I like the lighter ones better.

To each their own I guess, but “laughing” on other’s experiences seems offensive and not really founded in any sound theory. If one cares, they can search old posts on the actual work difference in paddling a 3oz heavier paddle over a 10 mile distance. The effor added by these 3 oz is comparable to lifting a 50lb kayak from ground up above 6 footer’s head a dozen times. Do your own math before you “laugh” and careful not to choke on that beer -:wink:

Right on if your not racing Bill, but
if you are racing, take a guy with a Euro, and then put that same guy with a wing, and he will beat his best euro time with a wing hands down.

Then he gets so used to the wing, that he enjoys it so much that he never goes back to the euro.

Hey that is me I am talking about, but I’ll bet the same transition happens to oters also.

Jack L

Wing Paddle Rocks!
So yesterday, during our 18 mile paddle around Daniel Island (Charleston, SC), I used a small Epic Wing for about 25 minutes.

I may be hooked (for going straight). I thought it made my forward stroke more consistent (especially on my right side where I have some trouble). I thought it was easy to paddle with. I think it is critical that the entry into the water be far forward and deep else it seemed the thing did funny things every once in a while).

But, I thought it pretty much sucked for doing anything else. Braces were OK at best compared to the Euro. Draw stroke was a disaster although a sculling draw seemed ok and a sculling brace was decent. Bow turns were unnerving. Sweep strokes were a bit unsettled but pretty good - might just be getting used to it. Didn’t try a stern rudder.

I felt I had added stability with the wing paddle probably because my stroke seemed improved.

Switched back to my regular Epic paddle and THAT took some getting used to again in the forward stroke.

I may be buying one next weekend at the ECCKF. I may not use it in the ocean and surfing, but for general paddling it should be fine.

Bill G.

Charlotte, NC

Formerly Mt. Pleasant, SC

Humbled by the water.

Listen to Pat

– Last Updated: Apr-11-11 9:17 AM EST –

I have purchased three paddles from Pat and every time his advice was right on. The first one I got was a wing and he kept steering me towards a smaller blade with a shorter shaft than I like. I split the difference and got one slighly larger and longer than he recommended but not what I wanted. I was smart enough to get an adjustable shaft. The more I used it the more I realized how right he was. I could have easily used a smaller blade and I run the length near the shortest adjustment.

Give Pat a call and take his advice. You will get the right paddle at the right price.

I don't believe his paddles come with a case. Mine didn't. I made some for about $2 per case. It keeps them from rubbing together during transport. The paddles look brand new after several years.