Changing feather

Inland paddling
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Pyro
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Changing feather

Post by Pyro » Thu Mar 15, 2012 11:50 am

What's the best way to shift the feather angle on my blades?

Been paddling for years with my Lendals (Kinetic XTi), but they're very high feather (85°), they're starting to give me a bit of gyp in the wrists, and I'd like to bring then down to a lower angle - say somewhere between 30° and 45°. So, questions for the masses:

a) Am I better off heating one end to melt out the adhesive and then re-setting it, or would cutting the shaft and spigotting it work better?

b) Is there any way of working out an optimum feather angle for me, our am I just better off setting it somewhere (against a set measure) and getting used to it?

My last couple of trips I've used a set of our club's Lendals, same blades but different feather to mine, so if all else fails I'll just set them against those.
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Tuomas
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Re: Changing feather

Post by Tuomas » Thu Mar 15, 2012 12:07 pm

Just set the feather to 12-15 degrees and stick with it. There is no reason to go thru the transition to 30-45 degrees on the way to optimal feather for general WW use.

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Re: Changing feather

Post by Pyro » Thu Mar 15, 2012 12:36 pm

That's the sort of thing I'm wondering Tuomas. How do you come up with this idea that "12-15° is the optimum angle for whitewater paddling"? Having tried out very low angles (didn't feel comfortable), and switching down from very high angles, I'm more keen to go for a mid-point, at least initially.
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Re: Changing feather

Post by morsey » Thu Mar 15, 2012 4:30 pm

I would chop the middle of the shaft (neatly) and get an insert, local canoe shops can supply Streamlyte "Centre Spigot & Butt" which you glue in. You can use gaffa tape to initially hold the feather and you can experiment until you find the ideal. Then you have a choice. You can either glue the otherside of the shaft on, or drill a hole and use the pin from the kit to create a take apart paddle. This avoids the issue of warping the shaft when trying to heat the adhesive. Cost about £10!

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Re: Changing feather

Post by Pyro » Thu Mar 15, 2012 4:42 pm

That's a fair point, Morsey. Will see about locating a spigot and a sharper blade for my hacksaw!
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Re: Changing feather

Post by DaveBland » Thu Mar 15, 2012 4:47 pm

I changed from just under 90 to 45 last year after over 30 years.
I was pretty concerned, but it took one river to get used to it.
In hindsight I should have gone for around 40 for optimum wrist angle, but any less would just seem freaky and I suspect mean I had to change my paddle strokes and technique.
Note this is with a straight shaft. No idea how it would affect one of those kinky buggers.

My only real advice is to go for it and you will get used to it quick, but make your first river not too spicy. Oh, and just take an extra half a second to compose your roll until you get used to it.
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Re: Changing feather

Post by Pyro » Thu Mar 15, 2012 5:02 pm

Cheers Dave, the physics of adapting don't worry me too much, I've been borrowing a set of lower-angle blades and they feel okay after a while, though they're a different blade material so I've been trying to isolate what's feather angle change and what's blade flex.

I've scouted through the olds threads on here but no-one seems to have a conclusive answer on how to work out what's optimum - though lots of people seem to have an opinion on what is! Some people have used a method to try and measure it practically, others just seem to try and adapt to whatever they get. And yes, i'm on about straights as well, never found a set of cranks that felt right at all!
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Re: Changing feather

Post by Tuomas » Thu Mar 15, 2012 6:18 pm

Well, there's no real reason to have feather in the WW paddle. Zero degree is still not the best because in paddling there is a bit of natural rotation with zero degree you will actually need to rotate your wrist other way than when using feathered paddle. At around 12-15 degrees there is the most natural feather when you basically don't need to rotate your wrist at all in normal forward strokes.

I low degree paddle is a symmetrical paddle. It is as easy to do for example draw strokes for both hands because you don't have to rotate wrists differently for each side.

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Re: Changing feather

Post by Simon » Thu Mar 15, 2012 6:30 pm

morsey wrote:I would chop the middle of the shaft (neatly) and get an insert, local canoe shops can supply Streamlyte "Centre Spigot & Butt" which you glue in. You can use gaffa tape to initially hold the feather and you can experiment until you find the ideal. Then you have a choice. You can either glue the otherside of the shaft on, or drill a hole and use the pin from the kit to create a take apart paddle. This avoids the issue of warping the shaft when trying to heat the adhesive. Cost about £10!
Mark one version of this idea.

Get the spigot, glue one end in, and get a Jubilee Clip/pipe clip to clamp down the shaft over the other end of the spigot at an angle of about 45 degrees feather. The clip will hold the shaft firmly in place, but you can adjust it easily with a screw driver or knife blade on the water.

You can then experiment with different feathers to find the one you like, and once you are happy take off the clip and glue it permanently in place.

Having said that it worked so well that one set of paddles I had was held together with a pipe clip for about 3 years.

Simon

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Re: Changing feather

Post by morsey » Thu Mar 15, 2012 6:39 pm

Also if you are going to chop the shaft I would add an extra index grip if the paddle doesn't already have one. Will help you deal with getting used to a new angle without slicing the blade so much as you will feel the grip rather than relying solely on attaining the correct amount of rotation with a circular grip.

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Re: Changing feather

Post by DaveBland » Thu Mar 15, 2012 6:40 pm

Tuomas wrote:Well, there's no real reason to have feather in the WW paddle.
Equally, there's no reason not to.

I think it all depends when/how you started paddling. I'm sure there are experts on here that will know the exact motion etc, but in essence the old-school style is to push with the top arm – and the new style uses more torso rotation .
Not saying one is better than the other, but if you've spent years doing one way, then changing is a hard ask as especially if you start young, your body develops to suit that style.
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Re: Changing feather

Post by Tuomas » Fri Mar 16, 2012 6:53 am

DaveBland wrote: Equally, there's no reason not to.

I think it all depends when/how you started paddling. I'm sure there are experts on here that will know the exact motion etc, but in essence the old-school style is to push with the top arm – and the new style uses more torso rotation .
Not saying one is better than the other, but if you've spent years doing one way, then changing is a hard ask as especially if you start young, your body develops to suit that style.


I think I can qualify at least a (semi) old-school paddler... I started paddling 1995 and have used 90, 55, 45, 30, 15 and 12 degree paddles along the way. And have ended up with what works best (for me).

Speaking of pushing with the top arm. With low angle paddle you can push with you top arm wrist in straight line instead of having bent wrist. Which one you think have more power?

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Re: Changing feather

Post by mantamx » Fri Mar 16, 2012 1:29 pm

+1. 30-45 is as much legacy as 90 - just takes time for people to get comfortable with "going all the way down in one go" IMHO. Used to paddle with 90deg myself, and now feel 15 is sufficient to feel comfortable. at 30, a slight twist of control hand is already required, and in my view adds no benefit.
Tuomas wrote:Well, there's no real reason to have feather in the WW paddle. Zero degree is still not the best because in paddling there is a bit of natural rotation with zero degree you will actually need to rotate your wrist other way than when using feathered paddle. At around 12-15 degrees there is the most natural feather when you basically don't need to rotate your wrist at all in normal forward strokes.

I low degree paddle is a symmetrical paddle. It is as easy to do for example draw strokes for both hands because you don't have to rotate wrists differently for each side.

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Re: Changing feather

Post by DaveBland » Fri Mar 16, 2012 3:32 pm

Tuomas wrote:
DaveBland wrote: Equally, there's no reason not to.

I think it all depends when/how you started paddling. I'm sure there are experts on here that will know the exact motion etc, but in essence the old-school style is to push with the top arm – and the new style uses more torso rotation .
Not saying one is better than the other, but if you've spent years doing one way, then changing is a hard ask as especially if you start young, your body develops to suit that style.


I think I can qualify at least a (semi) old-school paddler... I started paddling 1995 and have used 90, 55, 45, 30, 15 and 12 degree paddles along the way. And have ended up with what works best (for me).

Speaking of pushing with the top arm. With low angle paddle you can push with you top arm wrist in straight line instead of having bent wrist. Which one you think have more power?


You may well be right with the feather thing, but I'm most comfy with around 40. As stated I'm not expert enough to get to 'grips' with all the motion dynamics, but I do know my pushing arm is in line with the main arm bone – kinda with the base of the palm of my hand.

[Tell you what though... 1995 doesn't qualify as old school!]
dave

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Re: Changing feather

Post by PeterG » Fri Mar 16, 2012 8:37 pm

Tuomas wrote:Well, there's no real reason to have feather in the WW paddle. Zero degree is still not the best because in paddling there is a bit of natural rotation with zero degree you will actually need to rotate your wrist other way than when using feathered paddle. At around 12-15 degrees there is the most natural feather when you basically don't need to rotate your wrist at all in normal forward strokes.
Are you sure it doesn't just feel this way because you have come to zero from a feathered paddle? I usually paddle on the sea with a greenland paddle and used to use 45 degree feather on my WW paddle, but I now have a zero feather pair of streamlytes and they feel so good. Another advantage is that you can wax both hand grips, not just the control hand, so the paddle really sticks to you without having to hold it tight.

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