30 or 45 degree feather

Inland paddling
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Badknee
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30 or 45 degree feather

Post by Badknee »

Following on from the paddle threads below, I am about to order a new paddle. I have always used 45 degee feather but have tried various options in the last couple of weeks. I adapted quickly to 30 degree but now can't decide what to go for. I am almost entirely river running. I have heard about the various pros and cons but and advice from those who have switched feathers would be good. E.g. Effect on rolling on the offside, paddling fatigue or strains on joints??
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Chalky723
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Re: 30 or 45 degree feather

Post by Chalky723 »

I get less wrist strain with a 30 than I did with a 45.

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Re: 30 or 45 degree feather

Post by DaveBland »

30.
Paddled 90 for, like, everrr… and then did the 45. Now happy with 30 which is about right 45 > 30 is way easier than 90 > 45
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Re: 30 or 45 degree feather

Post by Chris Bolton »

I paddled 90º for 10 years, then switched to zero. Took half a day to get used to, and has been no problem at all in 20 years since.

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Adrian Cooper
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Re: 30 or 45 degree feather

Post by Adrian Cooper »

A little while ago Simon Dawson wrote an article on the subject which gives food for thought:

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

I am sure I have seen more recent articles but the principle is the same. For each person there is a 'natural' feather angle, you need to work out what it is for you for the boat you are paddling.

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Simon
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Re: 30 or 45 degree feather

Post by Simon »

Thanks for the plug Adrian. I am glad that work is not forgotten. And whilst boats have changed, the laws of mechanics and hydrodynamics are constant which keep the article relevant (I hope).

What I would have said then, and still say now is:

1) If you have time and the ability to get hold of varying paddles - experiment. People are different and it would be good to work out what is exactly right for you. For river running something between zero and forty five would probably be the result, affected by what you like doing in your river running. High angles for longer boats and fast touring, and low angles for short-boat playing.

2) If you can't experiment, then thirty degrees is a safe bet for virtually all forms of river running, you won't go far wrong, and I would recommend that over forty five degrees or zero as a safe centre-ground choice if you are not sure.

Good luck,

Simon

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Re: 30 or 45 degree feather

Post by Franky »

I remain to be convinced that feather angle is about anything other than minimising wind resistance. Other things being equal, the motion of paddling is completely symmetrical, and so in a sheltered environment like a river valley, a zero-degree blade should be optimal.

Since I've been paddling the LV Olympic and having to think more quickly, I'm finding having to make small adjustments depending on which blade I'm using quite a pain. In particular, I find low bracing on my off side very awkward. A zero-degree paddle would sort that. However, having just spent £250 on a 45-degree paddle I won't be getting one any time soon.

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Re: 30 or 45 degree feather

Post by Adrian Cooper »

Also discussed here with a method for assessing your ideal feather angle.

http://www.ukriversguidebook.co.uk/foru ... ther+angle

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Re: 30 or 45 degree feather

Post by Chris Bolton »

Other things being equal, the motion of paddling is completely symmetrical,
That is what I've found
and so in a sheltered environment like a river valley, a zero-degree blade should be optimal.
and in practice, I've never found the wind resistance a problem on exposed sea kayaking - and in a cross-wind, the paddle doesn't snatch when you change feather.

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Re: 30 or 45 degree feather

Post by purelandexpeditions.com »

I've got both 45 and 30 and don't find massive issue with changing between, I used 90 for decades and still have a set of 60.
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Re: 30 or 45 degree feather

Post by Simon Westgarth »

In spite of studying a lot of video, it is difficult grasp as to why with less feather the paddler's tends to use let effective torso rotation, at both the catch and lift of the stroke. Paddlers with zero or close to zero tend not to have any effective torso rotation, where as those with 45º or more certainly tend to have more. Slalom paddlers tend to have 55º or so, whilst those on zero are in the main but not exclusive too are more park and play paddlers.

In terms of where the market is, from a past conversation Werner's European supplier sell half 45º and the other half 30º, there are very few other requests. One matter for myself with 30º feather, some paddlers tend to forget to feather the off side wrist and simply hold tight. This create a bend in their wrist, that certainly lessens the effective power transfer, and potentially invites longer term wrist fatigue issues.

If anyone has come across any biomechanics with analysis on paddle feather, I'd be interested in a read. For myself, 45º feather has proven just great over the many years.

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Re: 30 or 45 degree feather

Post by davebrads »

Chris Bolton wrote:
Other things being equal, the motion of paddling is completely symmetrical,
Except it isn't for the majority of paddlers. The usual technique involves a control hand that maintains its grip on the shaft while the other hand allows the shaft to rotate between strokes. The feather accommodates this rotation and Simon's article explains why. The degree of angle is related to the height of the paddle stroke, but is always going to be an approximation as the height of the stroke will vary from one stroke to the next.

Zero degree paddlers maintain the grip with both hands and the motion is symmetrical.

In my coaching which is mainly slalom I insist on 45 degree feather as I believe that it promotes good torso rotation and a high paddle angle to give a more powerful stroke. I think there is a case for 30 degrees for white water as much of the time you aren't paddling aggressively and a lower paddle angle is easier to maintain, though there is a trade off in that the paddle is not set up for the really aggressive strokes when you need them.
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Re: 30 or 45 degree feather

Post by Simon »

davebrads wrote:
Chris Bolton wrote:
Other things being equal, the motion of paddling is completely symmetrical,
Except it isn't for the majority of paddlers. The usual technique involves a control hand that maintains its grip on the shaft while the other hand allows the shaft to rotate between strokes. The feather accommodates this rotation and Simon's article explains why. The degree of angle is related to the height of the paddle stroke, but is always going to be an approximation as the height of the stroke will vary from one stroke to the next.

Zero degree paddlers maintain the grip with both hands and the motion is symmetrical.

In my coaching which is mainly slalom I insist on 45 degree feather as I believe that it promotes good torso rotation and a high paddle angle to give a more powerful stroke. I think there is a case for 30 degrees for white water as much of the time you aren't paddling aggressively and a lower paddle angle is easier to maintain, though there is a trade off in that the paddle is not set up for the really aggressive strokes when you need them.
In my opinion, for what it is worth, this analysis is spot on.

The one thing I would add is "The degree of angle is related to the height of the paddle stroke, which is related to the length of the boat."

Simon

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Badknee
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Re: 30 or 45 degree feather

Post by Badknee »

I have switched to 30 degree after years of 45 degree. It took about 5 minutes to adapt. Wrists feel ok, shoulders feel ok, roll ok. Grade 4 rapids ok. All good so far.
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