Whitewater Forum: Paddle Feather
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Paddle Feather

Printed From: ProfessorPaddle.com
Category: General
Forum Name: Whitewater Forum
Forum Discription: Open Discussion Forum. Whitewater related subjects only
URL: http://www.professorpaddle.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=15879
Printed Date: 15 Dec 2018 at 12:12am

Topic: Paddle Feather
Posted By: PanchosPigTaxi
Subject: Paddle Feather
Date Posted: 01 Oct 2017 at 11:17pm
Hey Everyone,

So I looked through the archive to avoid asking a question that has been asked before, but I didn't find my question exactly, so here it goes:

I'm looking to buy a new paddle, the one thing I haven't decided on yet is 30 or 45 degree offset. Here's what's confusing me.
- Werner says that 45 is their most sold whitewater paddle offset.
- However, NRS and CKS seem to pretty much only carry 30 degree offset paddles.
Has something changed recently to make 30 the new "standard"?
I don't really playboat at all, so I only need something more suited for whitewater.
Thanks in advance.

Posted By: Jed Hawkes
Date Posted: 02 Oct 2017 at 8:35am
I hate to say it but as far as standards are concerned there isn't great consensus on that. The god father of paddles has some opinions regarding feather (http://rivrstyx.com/the-feather-rap/) but it won't really answer your question.

I go with 30 degree straight shaft because it makes my wrist feel better than the 45. I went through several paddles with different angles and lengths before I settled on what I have now, it's all about what works best for your paddling needs.

The line will become apparent

Posted By: James
Date Posted: 02 Oct 2017 at 10:10am
Total in the eye of the beholder. I went with a zero degree because I liked the feel of knowing where the blades were when playboating, then with creeking liked the feeling of no feather on entry off ledges/falls.

I would say trends seem to be falling from 45 degree to 30 these days but what would I know.

Posted By: Mauler!
Date Posted: 03 Oct 2017 at 8:05am
I think offset is not a great idea.   I like zero.    Started with 45. I just bought a hardcore paddle.....its a 30 degree.....but to awesome to pass up. Best paddle around.

Posted By: mikenash
Date Posted: 06 Oct 2017 at 7:21am
Thanks Mauler. I also have experimented with different feathers over the years and actually used a zero feather for a while.  30 degrees has been my preferred feather for about 7 years.

Posted By: Mauler!
Date Posted: 07 Oct 2017 at 5:24am
Yeah I think if I open my body up and change my movement a bit......i won't have to change my grip ever time.   Giving it a chance.    Your paddle is the same as my old fluid technology paddle but even more badass.   Super stoked to get one.....

Posted By: Mr.Grinch
Date Posted: 07 Oct 2017 at 11:17pm
To each their own, but skiing is not like snowboarding. Do climbers consider moves in right/left bias?

Where does the idea of feather come from? In truth, it is for lessening inactive blade resistance on the return. A hold over from flatwater paddling. Not useless, but not our issue on day trips or at play spots.

Given the choice over a few days of down river, I'd prefer feather, upwards of 45 degrees.

However, playboating probably benefits the most from zero offset, and I'm sure the underwater helicopter effect is more responsible for the perception of an "onside," and "offside" roll than anything. And that effect is ubiquitous.

As always, use what feels best to you.

Posted By: NateW
Date Posted: 08 Oct 2017 at 8:48pm
Straight shaft 30 degree - only because it's the most commonly on sale paddle in the usual places. The hammer factor podcast guys think you should paddle at least a 200 if you're ~5'10 or so.

Posted By: Fun Eli
Date Posted: 08 Oct 2017 at 9:44pm
It has more to do with body mechanics... Hold a paddle (or broom) like you are taking a forward stroke on your right side (with the shaft close to vertical). Hold the shaft tightly with your right hand and switch to a forward stroke on your left side (with paddle close to vertical). Notice the angle of your top blade in relation to your boat. It will be about 30-35 degrees away from being perpendicular to the boat... That's your paddle offset. It's a side effect of having a control hand. You can also use a zero degree offset and just not use a control hand, switching your grasp between hands on each stroke. Zero degree has some advantages in playboating, where your boat is tumbling in all directions, and it's easier for the off-side roll, but 30 is preferable for most river running and creeking. There are lots of variables including arm length, shoulder width, posture, how vertical your paddle is in the water, etc, but it usually comes out to about 30-35 degrees, give or take. A few degrees off one way or another is not going to make a difference. They used to do 90 degrees for racing because the top blade cuts through the wind as you move it forward for the next stroke, but it's hell on your wrist. 45 degrees was just less offset than 90, so better, but not ideal. Some people still use 45 because that was the standard for a long time and people got used to it. If you are used to one offset and pick up a different one, it's going to feel weird, but give it a few days and it will feel completely normal.

Short answer: for playboating, get a zero or 30 offset depending on your preference; for creeking and river running, get a 30.

Hope that helps clear things up a bit for you.

Posted By: mikenash
Date Posted: 09 Oct 2017 at 6:39am
Explained perfectly Eli. Well done!  

Posted By: Mr.Grinch
Date Posted: 09 Oct 2017 at 7:48pm
Awesome! Why don't Greenland paddles have feather, though?

Posted By: Dale
Date Posted: 10 Oct 2017 at 7:35am
and hand paddles. Why don't hand paddles have any feather?

Posted By: megspk
Date Posted: 10 Oct 2017 at 1:32pm
Because hand paddles and Greenland paddles don't need them? ;) Its all personal preference related to the paddler when it comes to feather I think. Whatever is most comfortable and doesn't cause you pain or if you need to shave that air resistance down for racing....

A strong person and a waterfall always channel their own path. -Unknown

Posted By: jalmquist
Date Posted: 10 Oct 2017 at 1:48pm
Not that I'm an expert at paddling with a Greenland style paddle, but from what I know, a proper Greenland stroke requires the user to shift hands on the paddle / shaft for each stroke.  Lower hand on the shaft, upper hand somewhere on the upper blade.  You do not (should not) have fixed hand placement using a Greenland paddle.  Try one using with fixed hand placement and see how it goes... 

Eli nailed the answer.  Notice the "close to near vertical" comment.  Whitewater kayaks turn, so a more vertical stoke keeps the blade closer to the center line of the kayak, limiting the "turn force" generated (and providing more forward propulsion force) with each stroke.  To keep the blade close to the boat, ww paddlers use shorter paddles that allow for a (more) vertical stroke.  One (probably the most) ergonomic way to get a fairly vertical stroke is to bend the off-hand / upper elbow, bringing your upper hand up somewhere near your face.  This in turn imparts a twist to the paddle shaft, assuming you keep your hands neutral and don't allow the shaft to pivot in your hands.  Feathered blade angle compensates for this, reducing the amount of wrist adjustment needed to keep proper blade alignment in the water.  For the forward stroke... 

What is the best feather for this proper ergonomic alignment?  Everyone's stroke is different, so there isn't one right answer.  Luckily, our wrists are fairly flexible, and they can do quite a bit of fine-tuning to blade alignment.  My preference, if I can't have it dialed in perfectly, is to over feather just a bit.  I'd rather have my upper wrist bent back SLIGHTLY while driving a forward stroke than to have it bent forward. 

Did I mention that this ergonomic feathering adjustment is applicable to the forward stroke?  For all other paddle strokes and efforts, it applies differently.  Good luck!            

Posted By: dave
Date Posted: 20 Oct 2017 at 12:47pm
Hi, I still have a paddle and use it. Carbon bent shaft Werner 25deg. I experimented with an infinetly adjustable Werner carbon bent shaft sea kayak paddle and came up with the most painless angle for me. It's all about the pain factor and nothing else. I have a sea kayak paddle that is similar in blade size to my ww paddle, just longer. I had Werner custom make my paddle.


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