Cheap but strong paddle with 0 or 30 degree feathering?

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beermatt
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Cheap but strong paddle with 0 or 30 degree feathering?

Post by beermatt » Fri Jan 09, 2015 1:55 pm

Does anyone know where to get a cheap but strong zero or 30 degree paddle? I'm not bothered about weight so aluminium or alloy is no problem, I'm not bothered about much really, only the angle and strength so was hoping to get something entry level to keep the cost down, but it seems very difficult to find.

When first starting out I had a couple of cheapish paddles for touring and both of them failed on me in less than a year with little use :-/ compared to the very old aluminium ones at the club which have seen years of abuse on the rivers and are still strong as an ox. Unfortunately they're all 90 degree feathered which really hurt my wrists, but something very basic like that is fine, just with little to no feathering. I've experimented with 0, 40, and 60, and definitely prefer 0; apparently slight rotation provide a better bone alignment so would consider a 30 but not keen on 45.

Any suggestions where/if I might find one?

Thanks

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Re: Cheap but strong paddle with 0 or 30 degree feathering?

Post by chriscw » Fri Jan 09, 2015 9:05 pm

TNP do a basic paddle which is only £27 at our local canoe shop. I have a couple one child size and one adult. they are bit heavier than my Streamstyle and Werner ones but they are only £27 rather than £130. They seem pretty tough so far and I do have a similar TNP canoe paddle which is years old and has seen regular heavy use. They do appear to have gone up to £38 now at least online.

http://www.marsport.co.uk/Products.aspx ... 51&m=g&c=0

Mine are both 30 degree feather.
Chris Clarke-Williams
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Re: Cheap but strong paddle with 0 or 30 degree feathering?

Post by Franky » Fri Jan 09, 2015 10:48 pm

beermatt wrote: apparently slight rotation provide a better bone alignment so would consider a 30 but not keen on 45.
Is that true? I read somewhere that the only purpose of feathering is to reduce wind resistance. And while that's important on exposed open water, WW paddling is mostly done in sheltered valleys, and therefore you could argue that a 0 degree feather is best for white water. After all, it enables you to keep both hands firmly on the paddle at all times. I suspect that the only reason that most paddlers don't feel comfortable with 0 degree feathering is that they're not used to it!

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Re: Cheap but strong paddle with 0 or 30 degree feathering?

Post by chriscw » Sat Jan 10, 2015 12:23 am

Hi Franky,

Do you paddle white water with a 0 degree feathered paddle? I have used flat paddles occasionally but it seems to me that in moving my hands to the position for a stroke on the other side I rotate the paddle shaft a little anyway. I have occasionally given new paddlers an unfeathered blade if they were struggling with blade angle and it does seem to help.
Chris Clarke-Williams
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Re: Cheap but strong paddle with 0 or 30 degree feathering?

Post by Franky » Sat Jan 10, 2015 12:15 pm

chriscw wrote:Hi Franky,

Do you paddle white water with a 0 degree feathered paddle? I have used flat paddles occasionally but it seems to me that in moving my hands to the position for a stroke on the other side I rotate the paddle shaft a little anyway. I have occasionally given new paddlers an unfeathered blade if they were struggling with blade angle and it does seem to help.
No, I always use a feathered blade because it's what I'm used to.

When I started paddling, I was intrigued as to why blades were feathered, and so I read up on it. One Web site was adamant that the only purpose of feathering is to reduce wind resistance. I can't remember what Web site it was. I've never come across any other explanation. Having to twist your right wrist AND keep loosening your left hand grip adds a fair bit of complexity - and asymmetry - to the paddling motion, and I can't think of any other physical activity (not running, not swimming) in which asymmetric motion is considered more efficient than symmetric motion. So to me it makes sense that wind resistance explains it all. But I am not an expert so I could be wrong!

The only time I've used a 0-degree blade was when I hired a sit-on-top kayak for some sheltered sea kayaking in California. The kit was geared to people who hadn't paddled before.

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Re: Cheap but strong paddle with 0 or 30 degree feathering?

Post by DaveBland » Sat Jan 10, 2015 4:29 pm

There's a test for this. Interestingly, the results vary for different people. I can only assume it's to do with differing paddle strokes and body shapes.

Simply use a broom or plain rod - whatever you can get that's similar to a paddle shaft. Sit on a raised box and hold it 'in the water' as if you are mis stroke. get a friend to mark where the centre line is.
Close your eyes and hold tight and paddle to the other side. Get your friend to measure the centre line again.

Measure the angle.
dave

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Re: Cheap but strong paddle with 0 or 30 degree feathering?

Post by Yellow boat » Sat Jan 10, 2015 6:21 pm

Dave is right. I've built a prototype gauge to measure people's natural feather. I've only had about 15 different people/paddlers try it so far but from my small sample their natural feather range is between 15degs and 45degs.
As a test I've measured a couple of slalom paddlers natural feather and then set up a pair of adjustable paddles to that angle and had them use those and both have said the angle felt ok and didn't need long to get used to (they both used off the shelf 60deg feather paddles).
Not very scientific I know but when I can get some parts for my gauge machined up more accurately I guess I should try a bigger sample.

Paul

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Re: Cheap but strong paddle with 0 or 30 degree feathering?

Post by chriscw » Sat Jan 10, 2015 6:41 pm

Interesting, I have thought for a while now that if you are paddling with the loom vertical you do more or less feather naturally whereas if you are keeping the loon more horizontal as is of the case on the sea it would be more natural to paddle with flat blades but of course air resistance and wind would tend to be more of an issue.
Chris Clarke-Williams
Location Basingstoke

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Touring, Coaching Beginners (I am an L2K), Surf White water trips, Weir Play (I'm not good enough to put freestyle!)

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Re: Cheap but strong paddle with 0 or 30 degree feathering?

Post by Yellow boat » Sat Jan 10, 2015 7:25 pm

Chris, exactly my starting point. Then after lots of observation and even more pondering it was clear to me that there are so many variables, my idea of coming up with a set of measurements that I could use to calculate a feather angle was way way beyond me. So I went for the more impirical approach, a physical guage.

But if I told you how I did it I would have to send the lads round.

Paul

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Re: Cheap but strong paddle with 0 or 30 degree feathering?

Post by Adrian Cooper » Sun Jan 11, 2015 5:09 pm

Come on Paul, admit it, it's a stick and a felt tip pen!

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Re: Cheap but strong paddle with 0 or 30 degree feathering?

Post by Franky » Sun Jan 11, 2015 5:25 pm

DaveBland wrote:There's a test for this. Interestingly, the results vary for different people. I can only assume it's to do with differing paddle strokes and body shapes.

Simply use a broom or plain rod - whatever you can get that's similar to a paddle shaft. Sit on a raised box and hold it 'in the water' as if you are mis stroke. get a friend to mark where the centre line is.
Close your eyes and hold tight and paddle to the other side. Get your friend to measure the centre line again.

Measure the angle.
I wonder if the results would be different for people who have paddled and people who haven't? I wouldn't be surprised if the "natural" feather for complete beginners turned out to be 0 degrees. Anybody who has already been taught how to twist the blade is not coming at the activity from a "natural" point of view.

When I started paddling, I found twisting the paddle an odd and uncomfortable movement. I still remember that feeling and that's why I am not sure that one should assume one's feeling NOW about what's comfortable applies to beginners.

I do agree that 90 degree is too much because no matter how much you use a blade with that much feather, I suspect you're going to be straining your wrist.

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Re: Cheap but strong paddle with 0 or 30 degree feathering?

Post by Yellow boat » Sun Jan 11, 2015 6:50 pm

Adrian, a Sharpie was used in the construction of the prototype. But I will say no more. . . .

Franky. I did have my mates daughter try it. She had never paddled a kayak and her reading was around 25deg where as her dad who has been a div 1 C1 slalom paddler and raced with me in C2 was closer to 15deg.
Of course that dosen't prove it either way. But I do believe we all have a natural feather angle that should help reduce wrist strain and maybe improve the effectiveness of our paddle stroke.
Or I may be I'm just wasting the ink in my Sharpie :-)

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Re: Cheap but strong paddle with 0 or 30 degree feathering?

Post by Franky » Mon Jan 12, 2015 8:16 pm

Yellow boat wrote: Franky. I did have my mates daughter try it. She had never paddled a kayak and her reading was around 25deg where as her dad who has been a div 1 C1 slalom paddler and raced with me in C2 was closer to 15deg.
Interesting. I suppose perhaps even with a 0-degree paddle you have to rotate the shaft slightly *on each side* to get the blade in perpendicular to the boat. If that's the case, it's perhaps more efficient to have a feathered blade, and then only to have to rotate the paddle once (but twice as much) for each pair of strokes. I don't think our club has any 0-degree paddles so I can't check out how it feels.

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Re: Cheap but strong paddle with 0 or 30 degree feathering?

Post by beermatt » Tue Jan 13, 2015 10:24 am

Thanks for the comments all. Paul's experiment was interesting. Sounds pretty methodical even if it was just a stick with a marker pen ;-)

The subject of feathering angles has been discussed before, plenty of reading if you're interested
http://www.simondawson.com/artkcr1.htm
http://rivrstyx.com/the-feather-rap/
http://www.ukriversguidebook.co.uk/foru ... 3&t=114183
http://www.ukriversguidebook.co.uk/foru ... 3&t=105391


I'm pretty certain I want a 0 or maybe 30 at the most, just can't seem to find one at a reasonable price!

Paddle feathering was one of two things that put me off getting into kayaking properly for a many years, it just didn't feel natural and put a lot of strain on the wrist tendons/ligaments which usually hurt during and afterward. I finally picked it up more seriously about 2 years ago, and have done a combination of river/WW and pool training (I can comfortably roll now) using feathered paddles; and touring/sea kayaking for which I used a 2 piece paddle set at 0 degrees most of the time and adjust it on the fly when going into a strong headwind (60 on my first paddle, 40 on the second). After both those paddles broke I bought a Greenland Paddle for touring/sea which I absolutely love. (GPs are 0 degrees as wind resistance isn't an issue with their design, not suitable for WW though.)

Correction to my original post, some of the paddles at the club are 45 degrees (sorry was sure I checked this before :-S ) which aren't as bad as the 45-90s but still not keen. I find it even more pertinent in WW because you have to react quickly, make bursts of power/speed, and recovery/support strokes. While I always get my blade lined up with the water correctly, my wrist alignement is probably far from perfect when reacting to things quickly, especially if coupled with some power this seems to cause more strain than consistent forward paddling.

I understand many people have used high angled feathered paddles for years without any problems, but everyone's different and it's not for me.

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Re: Cheap but strong paddle with 0 or 30 degree feathering?

Post by DaveBland » Wed Jan 14, 2015 3:15 am

Its possible you may be getting overly hung ip on the whole feather thing.
I say this as I resisted moving away from the 90 deg i had used for literally decades. My reasoning was that I didn't want to spend ages relearning and making mistakes on stuff i really couldnt afford to - and i didnt want to dumb down my paddling either...
Anyway, finally bit the bullet an plumped for some 45s.
Two rivers later and I'd never have known...
Now I can swop around from 90 -30 and after 5 mins its all good.

Point is... Maybe dont worry too much and persevere. The feather is not that much of a dealbreaker.
Maybe.
dave

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Re: Cheap but strong paddle with 0 or 30 degree feathering?

Post by beermatt » Fri Jan 16, 2015 12:50 pm

I'm pretty sure it's not my imagination because I was content using the club paddles for a long time assuming I'd get used to them, it's only after coming back from some of the tougher mornings to an unnatural joint pain that takes several days to subside I started reconsidering. As you say I shouldn't worry too much and will persevere with the club paddles for the time being, especially now I've realised they have some 45s. Will still be keeping my eye out for any good deals on a 0/30 though!

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Re: Cheap but strong paddle with 0 or 30 degree feathering?

Post by Yellow boat » Fri Jan 16, 2015 6:58 pm

Beermatt, sounds like a sound course of action to me.
May be look for a second hand pair of split slalom blades with the adjusting clamp in the middle. You may even still find an old pair of Lendals around with the Vari-lock joint. You can then try all angles of feather and see what works best for you.
Good luck

Paul

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Re: Cheap but strong paddle with 0 or 30 degree feathering?

Post by DaveBland » Sat Jan 17, 2015 5:28 am

beermatt wrote:I'm pretty sure it's not my imagination
Hey, no offence meant… I was just chucking another [personal] perspective in - in case it helped.
dave

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Re: Cheap but strong paddle with 0 or 30 degree feathering?

Post by beermatt » Sat Jan 17, 2015 9:49 am

DaveBland wrote:Hey, no offence meant… I was just chucking another [personal] perspective in - in case it helped.
Don't worry none taken :) was an interesting comment. The mind can play tricks sometimes and imagine things are better/worse like a placebo, so I try to be conscious of that.

@Paul good idea I'll keep my eye out on the 2nd hand market too.

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Re: Cheap but strong paddle with 0 or 30 degree feathering?

Post by chrisbraincoaching » Sun Jan 18, 2015 8:12 am

Ive paddled exclusively with zero feather since about 2006 I think. If you've come from a paddle that is around 30 degrees or less it probably takes about 2 paddling sessions to get used to it. The shops sell paddles with feather, so thats what we all buy and because we all buy paddles with feather, the shops continue to sell them. Im going to guess if the shops started selling paddles with zero degrees we would all start paddling with that!

Its what you get used to, you can train your brain and your body to become comfortable with some pretty unusual movements if you have to!

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Re: Cheap but strong paddle with 0 or 30 degree feathering?

Post by Kizzie_St-As » Mon Jan 19, 2015 4:32 pm

Something no one has yet mentioned - are you sure it's the feather that's the problem? Wrist pain can also come from gripping the paddle super tight, especially if you have a straight shaft paddle. Your wrists are at an unnatural angle, so you can get serious tendonitis from this.
You said cheap, and crank shafts are not cheap, so another option might be to reduce the shaft diameter. I have small shaft Werner players for playboating as I have a bit of a death grip when surfing sometimes.
Another possible wrist strain is simply the weight of the paddle - aluminium paddles are too heavy and I can't paddle for very long without my wrists complaining, while I'm fine with my fiberglass paddles.
Too large a blade surface will also put strain on your wrists, so you may find it better to get less powerful blades and up your stroke rate instead.

So to get those all together, wrist pain can be reduced by:
- Reduced feather
- Crank Shaft
- Smaller diameter shaft
- Lighter paddle
- Smaller blade surface area
- Training yourself to not grip so tightly, and to grip with only thumb and first two fingers

If you have to buy paddles new (because I'm not sure how good the low feather market is) Werner Rios are standard beginner paddles as they are bomber, and come in 0-90 degrees, small or standard shaft diameter, though you may have to wait a few weeks for special feathers to be imported from the states.
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