30 or 45 degree feather??

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Jimtwillis
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30 or 45 degree feather??

Post by Jimtwillis »

Evening all,

I'm sure this has been mulled over before, I'm looking into buying a new paddle for white water kayaking and would like anyone's thoughts on 30 or 45 degree feather as it's an expensive decision to stay with, what's the pro and cons?
Thanks

Ian Dallaway
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Re: 30 or 45 degree feather??

Post by Ian Dallaway »

Hi,
The best answer is to try paddles with different feather to see which you prefer. There are far more paddles out there set at 45 rather than 30, so that will give you a clue to which is the most popular. Most people I paddle with use 45 degree paddles for rivers and are very happy with them.
Ian

paddler_linds
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Re: 30 or 45 degree feather??

Post by paddler_linds »

You can buy these things without the blade on and glue it on yourself if you want the perfect fit. I did this then placed the blade on and observed my stroke for face angle before glueing and came out with 40 degrees.

A bit unnecessary however and 45 is usually the right number, or close enough.

SimonMW
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Re: 30 or 45 degree feather??

Post by SimonMW »

Whatever you are comfortable with. After speaking a lot with Stu at VE I had my paddles made at 30 degrees. I also still have a 45 degree set of older paddles I use at CIWW and frequently go between them without issue. You adapt very quickly to the feather you are using.

I have found 30 degrees to make certain movements easier on the wrists. Though in general I think too much fuss is made over feather. I probably wouldn't go back to 45 degree for any new paddles now though.

NicM
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Re: 30 or 45 degree feather??

Post by NicM »

I'd recommend going with whatever you find to be the most comfortable. However like paddler_linds, I to have gone for 40 degree's.
Part of my decision for going to that was after playing with feather angles on an old paddle and partly after reading an excellent article written by legendary squirt boat designer Jim Snyder around the right feather which suggested 40 degrees http://rivrstyx.com/the-feather-rap/

Murray carp
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Re: 30 or 45 degree feather??

Post by Murray carp »

Would the shaft length come into your choice? Would a larger feather feel better with a shorter paddle, or am I over thinking it

Jimtwillis
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Re: 30 or 45 degree feather??

Post by Jimtwillis »

Thanks all, I'm investing in a new paddle and leaning towards a 30 degree as you don't have to twist your wrist as much, I'm looking at the Ainsworth N104 Sidekick Carbon Cranked Shaft paddle, 203 cm. has anyone owned or used these ??

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Lancs_lad
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Re: 30 or 45 degree feather??

Post by Lancs_lad »

Rotate the body not the wrists.

Mark Dixon
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Re: 30 or 45 degree feather??

Post by Mark Dixon »

I have both and find that the best for riverrunning is the 45 degree, I definately paddle with more composure with a 45 degree and I believe it helps with torso rotation? I use my 30degree for messing about in my playboat. I dont notice any trouble with twisting wrists or any struggle with a 45.
Mark

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DaveBland
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Re: 30 or 45 degree feather??

Post by DaveBland »

42.25º or there abouts.

No, I'm actually serious.45º seems a touch too much and 30º way too flat for WW. 40º a touch too flat so somewhere around there...
dave

Jimtwillis
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Re: 30 or 45 degree feather??

Post by Jimtwillis »

Thanks Nic very interesting read, mark I agree with the two types and Dave I know where your coming from. After your post I'm leaning to the 45, as it will be more versatile and not a massive change from my old 90.
Cheers

SimonMW
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Re: 30 or 45 degree feather??

Post by SimonMW »

I definately paddle with more composure with a 45 degree and I believe it helps with torso rotation?
Never really understood this theory. Torso rotation is about your hips, your torso, and your shoulders and the linking of your movement between those areas to your arms. Do it enough and it is trained muscle memory. I can't see how paddle feather has any mechanical connection to this.

Personally I don't think it is really that important. A few degrees here or there really isn't going to make a massive difference and you soon adapt to what you have.

Mark Dixon
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Re: 30 or 45 degree feather??

Post by Mark Dixon »

SimonMW wrote:
I definately paddle with more composure with a 45 degree and I believe it helps with torso rotation?
Never really understood this theory. Torso rotation is about your hips, your torso, and your shoulders and the linking of your movement between those areas to your arms. Do it enough and it is trained muscle memory. I can't see how paddle feather has any mechanical connection to this.

Personally I don't think it is really that important. A few degrees here or there really isn't going to make a massive difference and you soon adapt to what you have.
So assuming your thinking why dont slalom paddlers use a 30 degree paddle?
Mark

SimonMW
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Re: 30 or 45 degree feather??

Post by SimonMW »

So assuming your thinking why dont slalom paddlers use a 30 degree paddle?
Dogma? You might like to ask why slalom paddles reduced from their original 90 degrees down to 45 degrees now? If more paddle feather is better for torso rotation surely they would have all stuck with 90 degrees? As it is they reduced the angle because it means less need for wrist rotation. It has nothing to do with the torso!

Think about it. Make the body linkages. It doesn't add up unless it is incidental, or purely in the mind. It's similar to when people who can't fight tense up when they throw a punch. They feel powerful, but in reality all they are doing is slowing down their punch.

Look at it rationally. How does having to rotate a paddle with your wrist simply to align the flat part of the blade to the water for purchase have any mechanical link to the power generated by your torso over not having to rotate the face of the blade as much? If your wrist is flexing through rotating to accommodate a paddle rotation you are actually taking away from the torso linkage, not adding to it. And in fact with more feather it, and therefore wrist rotation/flex it could be argued that you are putting more strain on your wrist joints because natural skeletal structure is not being observed.

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Simon Westgarth
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Re: 30 or 45 degree feather??

Post by Simon Westgarth »

I was once told by someone I would call an expert paddle manufacturer, that the optimum feather for paddling was 55°. Using the term dogma to imply high stakes disciplines like Slalom can not think beyond their small playing space is a little harsh. If any advantage in lessening the feather angle could be found it would of been.

Over the years I have heard many different reasons and logical argument as to what is best. Still at the end of the day, as a collective, those paddlers with a small feather angle end up not feathering the blade. Instead they roll the wrists to accommodate the slight difference in blade angle, with the consequence using less torso rotation. More specifically their rotation or lack of it is at the end of the stroke into the start of the next.

The above point of view is based on watching paddlers. In terms of science, any phrase model of forward paddling is highly complicated to construct. A challenge of a sports science under graduate then.

SimonMW
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Re: 30 or 45 degree feather??

Post by SimonMW »

I think it is fair game to suggest dogma. As I mentioned slalom used to use 90 degrees, as did most kayakers. This then changed to become a 45 degree norm. It did this for a reason, and nobody complained about a lack of torso rotation when it happened. If what people here are saying is true then we would all still be using 90 degree feathers. But we aren't. They reduced the traditional angle by half. And that's what people here seem to be forgetting.

LucyLou19
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Re: 30 or 45 degree feather??

Post by LucyLou19 »

12 degrees for freestyle, 30 degree for river running. 30 felt way more natural, and that's given that id used 45's for 3 years of kayaking- I just tried 30 degree on a 6cm longer paddle (I had 194's at 45 degrees, I did own a set of 30 degree 191cm paddles which I hated as well, and promptly sold, went to 197 30 degrees and love it) which probably forced more torso rotation anyway.

My freestyle paddles are 191cm but have a really long shaft, im guessing this forces better rotation?

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Simon
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Re: 30 or 45 degree feather??

Post by Simon »

LucyLou19 wrote:12 degrees for freestyle, 30 degree for river running. 30 felt way more natural,
I have both and find that the best for riverrunning is the 45 degree, I definately paddle with more composure with a 45 degree and I believe it helps with torso rotation? I use my 30degree for messing about in my playboat.
These two post are correct in my view, but nobody has made the obvious link that the feather angle (and shaft length) is explicitly linked to the type of boat you paddle.

Back in the early 1970s when I was taught to paddle all boats were about 4 metres long, so a single paddle design, and a single style of paddling, could be taught, and coaches were taught to teach a marathon/sprint derived paddling style to all paddlers. Now that boat designs have evolved hugely that no longer works, and we need to look at what works best for each specific design of kayak.

At on end of they spectrum we have marathon boats - long, low drag, fast, directionally stable (so stable you need as rudder to turn them. And at the other end you have WW play-boats - short, slow, high drag and the directional stability of a dustbin. The paddle style for one is long smooth strokes with an upright body, the other is different, a massively high stroke rate like a duracel bunny.

And obviously the optimum paddle design for each differs, WW play-boats are best with feathers about zero to 30 degrees, River runners 30 to 45, and slalom about 50 to 70. Paddle lengths also increase with boat length.

I wrote an articles on this for Canoeist Magazine a few years ago, the boats mentioned are out of date now but I think the basic theory is still valid and may be interesting to some.

http://www.simondawson.com/artkcr1.htm

Simon

Mark Dixon
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Re: 30 or 45 degree feather??

Post by Mark Dixon »

Simon, you are right and boats also make a big difference, I wonder if this is why the 90degree paddle phased out when they started getting shorter?
I use a 194- 45degree for ruiver running and a change between a 194- 30 degree or a 188-30 degree deoending which playboat I paddle, I use the little paddle for an S6 I have as it has no tailend and find I can throw it around a lot easier with the smallest one, especially in sea surf. I've tried a zero and simply couldnt transition so dismissed it.
I think the OP is just going to have to try for himself but also make sure that his paddling style is not compromised with poor technique.

Mark

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davebrads
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Re: 30 or 45 degree feather??

Post by davebrads »

I think the 90 degree feather was always wrong, the theory was that the top blade would slice through the air easier. The "natural" feather angle is related to how high an angle the shaft is when you are paddling. Slalom boats are narrower, and slalomists will always be trying to paddle with maximum efficiency so their shaft angle is generally higher than a white water paddler. You tend to keep the shaft angle quite shallow when playboating, so a lower feather angle is more suitable.

I was once advised to use 80 degree for slalom by a paddle manufacturer as it would mean the top blade is less likely to hit the poles. This was long after I had changed to 45 degree for slalom so I didn't take much notice.

I don't think the exact angle is that important, the wrist has to rotate anyway through the stroke, so if it is perfect for the start of the stroke it will be wrong for the end of the stroke.

When I am coaching newbies in slalom they are given 45 degree feather, I think the higher feather angle encourages a higher shaft angle and therefore better forwards paddling technique.
it's not a playboat, it's a river runner

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Simon
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Re: 30 or 45 degree feather??

Post by Simon »

davebrads wrote:I think the 90 degree feather was always wrong,
Agreed - Ninety was never right, and in my opinion zero is not optimum either.

Between about twenty and seventy, depending on boat length is the thing to go for.

Simon

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MikeRoberts
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Re: 30 or 45 degree feather??

Post by MikeRoberts »

I think the original purpose of a 90° feather was, as mentioned, wind resistance.
Another argument for a low (or 0°) degree feather, is so that you can use the back of both blades/not slice blades for freestyle.


As Dave said, the other use of a feather angle is that it allows you to NOT twist your wrists.
While it sounds counter intuitive, if you grip your paddle with one hand, when you raise your hand to take a paddle stroke, the paddle will twist round anyway.
Simon Westgarth wrote:I was once told by someone I would call an expert paddle manufacturer, that the optimum feather for paddling was 55°.
Which makes that optimum feather, the angle at which you don't twist your wrist.

To illustrate the point, my assistant took a photo over my shoulder.
Image

However, it depends on the angle of the paddle, and therefore the width of the strokes that you take.
I've been told for slalom that this is 72°.. I've played around, and I actually reckon for me it's around 60°, for me, for slalom.

But - take this into a white water boat - wider boat = wider paddle strokes = lower angle
What has the feather angle and wrists go to do with torso rotation and power transfer from the torso?
I'd say, mainly that we're inherently lazy! :P We automatically will go for rotating our wrists less (that's a hell of a lot of power to put through a bent wrist) - and with too little feather, that's a flatter stroke... with too much feather, that's a vertical stroke. Either way, it encourages us to use out arms more, and not our torso.


Personally - I encourage people to go with a higher feather angle, as it encourages more vertical strokes, and better forward paddling. I generally reckon 45° is about right in a white water boat, but, I'd still say, have a go with both, and see what you prefer.

SimonMW
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Re: 30 or 45 degree feather??

Post by SimonMW »

I'd say, mainly that we're inherently lazy! :P We automatically will go for rotating our wrists less (that's a hell of a lot of power to put through a bent wrist) - and with too little feather, that's a flatter stroke... with too much feather, that's a vertical stroke. Either way, it encourages us to use out arms more, and not our torso.
I would agree, laziness. So the lack of torso rotation while using a low feather is more a symptom than an indication that a low feather actually mechanically causes lack of torso use.

If you look at beginners and some intermediates, even if they have some crappy 90 degree feathered club paddles they still often have a very low paddle angle, so I'm not entirely sure I buy the idea that it encourages a vertical stroke. A lazy paddler will always be lazy no matter what the feather angle. The only way out of it is not to be lazy and train proper use of the torso/arm connection. That way it won't really matter if you use 45 or 30 degrees.

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mantamx
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Re: 30 or 45 degree feather??

Post by mantamx »

i'd read a lot on the subject when i started paddling 3 years ago, and went for 15% thinking it was more 'modern' and advanced.. it felt fine and comfortable enough. until i was filmed paddling by a highly professional coach and demonstrated that my body was not rotating (and a few other things). i changed to 45% and immediately felt more comfortable, with a bit more work on technique it is now fine. feather does make a difference, and sometimes the early signals a body sends are wrong (because the rest of your stroke is wrong).

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