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Posted: Sat Jan 07, 2017 1:06 pm
My friend paddles with touring wing paddles while I just use an old plastic Carlisle magic paddle. We do a fair bit of WWR racing and marathon paddles as well as just touring around the Solent. My question is are wings a good investment for sea kayaking, as when I have a go with my friends set I really can't tell the difference (using proper technique) and when we have a little race I always seem to be ahead. This was shown dramatically when at the Poole Harbour race I beat him in the 15 mile by 2 minutes, we were using the same boat (Perception wave hopper), except he had touring wings I had short powerhouse paddles. We are near the same fitness with me being a tad fitter. The question is are wings good for sea kayaking? And why does it seems that my friend is slower with them?
Posted: Sat Jan 07, 2017 2:19 pm
Use a set for a few months and then go back to flats, you'll soon feel the difference. Took me quite sometime to get used to using them but I wouldn't be without them now. Why is your friend slower, most likely technique.
Posted: Sun Jan 08, 2017 8:44 pm
Testing yourself against someone else is no good, you need to get yourself timed with both paddles and see which is faster - but spend some time getting used to wings first to make sure you test fairly. And don't do 2 runs back to back, the second will be slower.
However much my technique improves, I seem to have a naturally low cadence, I also lose focus frequently over any distance and let my technique drift. Some people just arenlt as fast as others...
Posted: Mon Jan 09, 2017 12:22 am
Thank you Jim, also I'm very interested in comparing the benefits of Wings compared to a Greenland style paddle.
Both could provide more efficieny with less effort, the Greenland seems to be the better for rolling, bracing and sculling.
However perhaps wings would be better for a race scenario. Of course this is down to technique, but there are advantages to all three blades types, just finding the one best suited to fast sea kayaking seems difficult. All the racers use wings, yet most of the long distance paddlers and even some racers use the Greenland. Whereas we still cannot count of the reliable flat blade with its familiarity.
Posted: Mon Jan 09, 2017 9:56 am
Disclaimer: I've been almost exclusively using GP's for the last 4 years but recently started playing around with a set of wings.
While perfectly adequate for "traditional style" seakayaks (think Explorer, Nordkapp etc.) I would think that a GP would be less suited to some of the new fast boats (think Taran), especially if you want to get the most out of them on long downwind runs. It's just that you get more bite out of a properly used wing compared to a GP so your cadence doesn't have to be quite as high.
Posted: Mon Jan 09, 2017 11:31 am
The forward paddle stroke is a science all on its own. Lots of 'experts' have their theories of what is right and what is wrong. Without wishing to sound anyway patronising can I suggest you do a bit of research and reading on this.
It is a fascinating subject and one that I have yet to master in nearly fifty years of paddling. A good place to start is You Tube. There are some good videos by Australian coaches who analyse their paddlers technique.
For me the jury is out on wings and sea kayaks. The fastest single Kayak is a sprint K1 and all the paddlers using them paddle with wings. A sea kayak has an optimum cruising speed above which it needs a greater amount of effort to increase the speed. Jim knows more about this than me, perhaps he could assist here. The point is if wings provide more power and hence speed where does the power come from and how long can you sustain it?
Posted: Mon Jan 09, 2017 1:10 pm
Wings can improve efficiency if they are correctly sized & your technique is correct. If you are already driving your boat at close to maximum hull speed with flats you may not get much speed increase, but you may be able to achieve the same speed with less effort & improve your duration. With good technique wings can give you a 5-10% efficiency improvement. Greenland paddles will not improve efficiency (this statement will prove extremely controversial), but the stroke may be quieter which can help if you are hunting seals.
Posted: Mon Jan 09, 2017 1:54 pm
Posted: Mon Jan 09, 2017 5:27 pm
Greenland paddles will not improve efficiency (this statement will prove extremely controversial)
I'll bite! I don't think they'll enable you to deliver more peak power, but I do think they may enable you to maintain cruising speed for longer, compared to flats. No more mph, but more mpg. It may depend how strict your definition of efficiency is.
Posted: Tue Jan 10, 2017 8:28 am
I am an engineer & I was using the term efficiency in the technical sense ie the percentage of the power put into the paddle that drives the boat forward (I can be more specific than that if needed). I have seen no research that demonstrates that you travel at the same speed with less effort using a Greenland paddle, although I often hear the claim. It is also often claimed that the Greenland technique used with Greenland paddles is less stressful on the body, again I have seen no objective research to suggest this & my anecdotal observations do not support it, although I am open to being convinced if suitable evidence is shown.
Posted: Tue Jan 10, 2017 8:40 am
Unless you have a rudder, most paddle strokes incorporate an element of steering. Personally I use wings in my K1 and flat Euro blades in my sea kayak. Where conditions are less than ideal, I am more relaxed and faster with flats. Also flats are easier for 'playing' and tight manouvering for most people. The power and grip on the water is brilliant with wings but for my type of paddling there are too many compromises. Wings are also very expensive so if you have £300 to burn, which is a significant chunk towards a new boat or paddling course/holiday, consider if this would give you more pleasure. If you are keen to experiment, you can make your own GP paddles cheaply and have hours of fun learning to use them.
Posted: Tue Jan 10, 2017 1:01 pm
I agree with Simon, I find flats more versatile & paddle sea kayak with flats, I only use wings for racing. I do paddle with a number of sea paddlers who do use wings.
Posted: Tue Jan 10, 2017 3:17 pm
I would agree that unless you have a rudder wing paddles are not worth the expense for a sea kayak as you cannot maintain technique which is key to wing paddle use.
Posted: Tue Jan 10, 2017 7:08 pm
I'd also suggest that a heavy (compared to a racing K1) sea kayak isn't going to benefit from the lift and glide effect generated by a well used wing so might not yield a similar performance benefit than going from a euro-blade to a wing in a racing K1 would show.
Sea kayak euro blades also tend to be a lot smaller (in surface area) than old school, pre-wings racing blades (comparing my old Power-Master racing blades to a more modern mid size Shuna - there's a fairly significant difference)
I'm not sure it's realistic to try to transfer paddling technique from a narrow, round-hull, high seating position K1 to a much wider, more stable and much heavier sea kayak. There might be a much closer correlation between a K1 and a surf ski - where most paddlers will already be using wings
Posted: Wed Jan 11, 2017 1:45 am
I race surf skis and everyone uses a wing - many also paddle K1s and as you say they are very similar width wise so the technique is the same.
Posted: Wed Jan 11, 2017 7:57 am
I am an engineer & I was using the term efficiency in the technical sense ie the percentage of the power put into the paddle that drives the boat forward
I'm also an engineer - I was thinking of the whole system, biomechanics as well as hydrodynamics, and the percentage of the energy expended by the paddler that goes into moving the boat. I don't have any formal evidence on greenland paddles, but I did find that using one for half a day kept me at the front of the group with no more effort than I'd been using in the middle of the group with Euro flats. With wings, I think the speed benefit for racing is partly the ability to deliver more power due to improved rotation (using more muscles). I don't call that efficiency because it's burning more fuel. There's also an apparent efficiency gain on long distance records like circumnavigations. Whether this is a true efficiency gain in energy in/out terms or just an ability to use more of the body's energy, I don't know, as I don't know what the limiting factor is on the paddler's output over a day.
Posted: Wed Jan 11, 2017 9:42 am
Conor Buckboy wrote:My friend paddles with touring wing paddles while I just use an old plastic Carlisle magic paddle. We do a fair bit of WWR racing and marathon paddles as well as just touring around the Solent. My question is are wings a good investment for sea kayaking, as when I have a go with my friends set I really can't tell the difference (using proper technique) and when we have a little race I always seem to be ahead. This was shown dramatically when at the Poole Harbour race I beat him in the 15 mile by 2 minutes, we were using the same boat (Perception wave hopper), except he had touring wings I had short powerhouse paddles. We are near the same fitness with me being a tad fitter. The question is are wings good for sea kayaking? And why does it seems that my friend is slower with them?
To answer you question on you beating your friend: I would guess that he was using wings that were too long for the boat he was paddling. Anything longer than 212/213cm in a Wave Hopper is too much. You will simply burn out as the gearing is wrong. Your powerhouse length are probably closer to whats needed. So Maybe try again but get your mate you use short set of wings!
Regards wings in general.They are great for paddling forward effectively and efficiently. I you wings for K1, Surfski and expedition paddling. Rock hopping I use flats.
Posted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 6:26 pm
Have used all forms of paddles and craft and now mostly paddling Surfskis with wing paddles I will say that given technique is in place a wing paddle will be more effective for speed with any sea kayak, ski or K1. One only has to look at track record. No one races in K1 without a wing. All distance and circumnavigation records have fallen to ski shaped rudderd sea kayaks and wing paddles. I will grant that the benifit of a rudder allows concentration on forward stroke. So if the aim is to cover distance at speed a wing and a rudder is the best way to go. I have also found that regardless of blade the same technique gives the most efficient forward stroke. Having the right length and blade size for your intended distance is also important so that you don't burn out.