Cranked or 0 dergree feather

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mark Hirst
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Cranked or 0 dergree feather

Post by mark Hirst »

Hi All
After many years of boating and rafting I am starting to feel it catching up on my wrist.

So is there anybody else in my position that might be able to give me some advice.

I am already using a cranked paddle and I am looking for a new-back up paddle.

Which is going to be better for my wrist another cranked paddle or a paddle with 0 degree feather.

I know if I went to the doctors they will say stop paddling which is a bit tricky when I earn my living from paddling.

Has anybody ever used a physio for such problems.

Cheers in advance
Mark
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DanH
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Re: Cranked or 0 dergree feather

Post by DanH »

Both!

I use zero feather cranked paddles and so does my physio.

Just remember that with a zero feather paddle, you don't have a control hand. If you try to keep the control hand, the zero feather principle doesn't work as there will be some degree of natural rotation present.

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mark Hirst
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Re: Cranked or 0 dergree feather

Post by mark Hirst »

Both
Sounds interesting.
Cheers
Dan
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eeonz
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Re: Cranked or 0 dergree feather

Post by eeonz »

It genuinely surprises me that there's no research out there by any of the big sports universities on this...

Maybe a L5 project someone?
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MikeRoberts
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Re: Cranked or 0 dergree feather

Post by MikeRoberts »

I personally wouldn't go with a 0 degree feather angle if you're having issues with your wrists!

Ask yourself why we have a feather on the blades at all? We don't really need it for wind resistance, as sea paddlers do, no need for the 80-90 degree feather they use. Play boaters use 0 - 30, the smaller the angle, the more support/resistance you can get with the back of both blades in the water.

What the feather allows us to do is to reduce the movement in our wrist as the top arm comes up & across. Have a go and see!

For slalom, apparently, the idea feather for a straight shaft is 72.5 degrees. For a crank, this goes down to somewhere around 55. (don't ask me why it goes down for cranks, but it seems to work). The wider your boat, the wider the stroke, and the smaller the ideal feather. The ideal is affected by all sorts though, your height, blade to hand distance, paddling style etc. Have a go and work out what is ideal for you.


Another thing to look at is the balance of your hands on the crank. If you have more pressure on your inside/outside fingers when you paddle, this will increase the strain on your wrists. Again, this is affected by all sorts of factors in the paddle itself, and is also affected by the way you hold it, so you need to work this one out for yourself. While standing, grab the paddle and hold it as you normally would. Pull it back against your stomach, so you are able to put pressure through both of your hands. Shuffle your hands into a position where there is equal pressure between your index/little finger.

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Re: Cranked or 0 dergree feather

Post by DaveBland »

I'm sure there was a big thread on this a year or two ago.
Isn't there a difference in the way 'old skoolers' paddle as opposed to young guns these days?
Something about old style is more pushing with the top arm, meaning a bit of fevva is a good thing, where the young pups use more torso rotation necessitating less need for wrist twisting ?
Maybe see if you can get a set of splits and have a go with them bodged together at different angles - it may be an interesting exercise?
Last edited by DaveBland on Tue Jan 15, 2013 5:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
dave

Glyn B
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Re: Cranked or 0 dergree feather

Post by Glyn B »

How about this?

Zero feather paddle:- Take hold of paddle with both hands, paddle.

Feathered paddle:- Take hold of paddle with both hands, paddle with right hand, twist right wrist to put the left blade in the right position whilst releasing left hand grip to allow the paddle shaft to rotate, grip with left hand, paddle. Release grip to allow the right hand to return to neutral position. Paddle.

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MikeRoberts
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Re: Cranked or 0 dergree feather

Post by MikeRoberts »

DaveBland wrote:I'm sure there was a big thread on this a year or two ago.
Isn't there a difference in the way 'old skoolers' paddle as opposed to young guns these days?
Something about old style is more pushing with the top arm, meaning a bit of fevva is a good thing, where the young pups use more torso rotation necessitating less need for wrist twisting ?
I think some of this may be a combination of boats getting shorter and wider, meaning that it's possible to move a boat with shorter strokes. For me, my strokes are very long (every time I get in my playboat I reach well beyond the end of my boat) so I'm the least likely to know about this! I think generally though, less feather would encourage shorter strokes, maybe something else worth playing with!

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Re: Cranked or 0 dergree feather

Post by davebrads »

Glyn B wrote:Zero feather paddle:- Take hold of paddle with both hands, paddle.
But that isn't what happens. As you raise one arm and lower the other the paddle shaft will rotate, therefore every time you take a stroke with a zero degree paddle you are having to twist your wrist to hold the active blade perpendicular.
Glyn B wrote:Feathered paddle:- Take hold of paddle with both hands, paddle with right hand, twist right wrist to put the left blade in the right position whilst releasing left hand grip to allow the paddle shaft to rotate, grip with left hand, paddle. Release grip to allow the right hand to return to neutral position. Paddle.
With a feathered paddle - at least as long as the feather is the correct angle for your style of paddling - there is no need to twist your wrist. As you raise your arm and lower the other, while maintaining your grip and alignment of your control hand, the paddle shaft will rotate so that the active blade will be perpendicular. All this we know as there is a lot of studies of the forward stroke that tell us this.

So there is more twisting of the wrist with a zero degree feather. Furthermore your wrist will never be aligned to the direction of pull while taking the stroke thereby putting additional strain upon your wrists.

There appears to be a lot of talk about zero degree feather, but I haven't seen any studies of how the stroke works that demonstrate what the zero degree feather supporters are telling us. Someone needs to do this before there is any futher discussion of this subject, just look at the "zero degree feather campaign" thread to see how many words have been wasted on this subject already without any substance to back it up.
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Re: Cranked or 0 dergree feather

Post by Glyn B »

I have a long high, stroke and use a lot of trunk rotation when paddling forwards.

I find it much easier to low/high brace as i don't have to twist the non-control hand to get the blade at the right angle to the water because i don't have a control hand, both hands control the paddle.

No-one has ever noticed my lack of feather and I don't mention it unless someone has a particular wrist/elbow problem in which case I suggest they try it.

Changing to zero resolved an issue i had with my control wrist.

If you've seen any any of Dan Heyworth's videos (Into the Light is the latest I think?) I'm willing to bet that no-one noticed Dans paddle?

If the same scepticism/condemnation was applied to every other development in kayaking we'd still be paddling 4 meter grp boats with wooden paddles, ribbed BAs and bendy plastic helmets with holes in 'em.

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DanH
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Re: Cranked or 0 dergree feather

Post by DanH »

It all boils down to the control hand thing. If you are adament you want a single control hand, zero feather doesn't work. If you are comfortable letting the control hand change. ie if the right hand blade is in the water you are a right handed paddler (right control hand) and if the left blade is in the water you are a left handed paddler (left control hand), zero feather works a treat!

It also makes strokes on either side of the kayak mirror images and hence easier to learn.

It takes a couple of hours to get used to the new zero feather technique.

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Re: Cranked or 0 dergree feather

Post by Rory W »

Dan are you saying you relax your top hand every stroke and let the paddle turn a bit in it?

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DanH
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Re: Cranked or 0 dergree feather

Post by DanH »

Rory W wrote:Dan are you saying you relax your top hand every stroke and let the paddle turn a bit in it?
Relax the top hand - Yes.

Let it turn a bit - No, the paddles are in line with each other, the paddle would only need to twist if there was feather, it's just a relaxation of the hand.

It's a cycling action.
Last edited by DanH on Wed Jan 16, 2013 11:24 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Cranked or 0 dergree feather

Post by surfkayaks.com »

Glyn B wrote:
If the same scepticism/condemnation was applied to every other development in kayaking we'd still be paddling 4 meter grp boats with wooden paddles, ribbed BAs and bendy plastic helmets with holes in 'em.
If only, then we would have the skills back to read the river , avoiding the rocks ,instead of trying to demolish them with our tupperware tanks !!!

on a more serious note, still loving my 90deg feather after 45years of paddling

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Re: Cranked or 0 dergree feather

Post by davebrads »

I am not condemning zero degree feather paddles, I am just pointing out that the reasons given for using them make no sense. The fact that the paddle shaft rotates as you raise your arm is an inescapable fact, and therefore if you are using zero degree feather paddles you are relaxing your grip alternately between strokes, or else your wrists are rotating. I have looked at the Dan Heyworth video, and 4:15 minutes into the film we get a great view from a cam looking back at the paddler, and if you watch carefully you can see that Dan is rotating his top wrist to compensate for this twist in the paddle shaft. It is interesting to note that Dan is using crank paddles. I have noticed that when trying cranks the "natural" feather seems to be a lot lower than with straight shafts, and perhaps this is because rotating a crank through a loose grip is not a natural thing to do.

Zero degree feather proponents often claim that they solve problems with wrist pain, particularly in the control hand. Again I find it difficult to understand the reason why this should be (without doubting the truthfulness of the statement) as if you are using a paddle that is feathered correctly for your paddle stroke, neither wrist is rotating. So the wrist pain can't be caused by the rotating of the wrist, as a zero degree paddle would require more rotation, not less. Perhaps it is because the wrist on the control hand is doing a lot more work than the other wrist, whereas with zero degree feather the load is equally shared?
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Re: Cranked or 0 dergree feather

Post by Glyn B »

surfkayaks.com wrote: If only, then we would have the skills back to read the river , avoiding the rocks ,instead of trying to demolish them with our tupperware tanks !!!
Ha! I still flinch when I hit or slide over rocks expecting to hear the crunch!

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Re: Cranked or 0 dergree feather

Post by DanH »

davebrads wrote:...I have looked at the Dan Heyworth video, and 4:15 minutes into the film we get a great view from a cam looking back at the paddler, and if you watch carefully you can see that Dan is rotating his top wrist to compensate for this twist in the paddle shaft. It is interesting to note that Dan is using crank paddles. I have noticed that when trying cranks the "natural" feather seems to be a lot lower than with straight shafts, and perhaps this is because rotating a crank through a loose grip is not a natural thing to do....

Both upper and lower wrists are rotating the same and at the same time.

In straight forward paddling (like on a lake), there is no wrist rotation. In my video, in the section you are pointing out (~4:15m), i'm not just paddling forward, I'm using the blade to pull the kayak in more directions than straight forward. In order to do this (with any feather of paddle) there will be wrist rotation due to the angle of the blade to the kayak (ref. forward paddling vs. draw strokes). All the zero feather does is eliminate the constant rotation in the control hands wrist when forward paddling.

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Re: Cranked or 0 dergree feather

Post by davebrads »

DanH wrote:In straight forward paddling (like on a lake), there is no wrist rotation.
I'm sorry, but I don't believe that this is the case. I don't think the wrist rotation I am seeing is due to changing the feather to cope with white water. Try filming yourself with the same set up on flat water and then examine the footage, at least that will prove it one way or the other.
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Re: Cranked or 0 dergree feather

Post by Mark Dixon »

davebrads wrote:
DanH wrote:In straight forward paddling (like on a lake), there is no wrist rotation.
I'm sorry, but I don't believe that this is the case. I don't think the wrist rotation I am seeing is due to changing the feather to cope with white water. Try filming yourself with the same set up on flat water and then examine the footage, at least that will prove it one way or the other.
Have to agree with Dan, he's looking right and paddling right (nice vid BTW) 1 of reasons I am considering the zero is low bracing, it definately looks easier with a zero feather, what about rolling as I can comfortably roll both sides and sometimes cant decide which is the stronger? Will be trying my werner splits but interested in peoples opinions.
Mark

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Re: Cranked or 0 dergree feather

Post by DaveBland »

This is a silly argument.
If everyone had the same paddling style/technique, then it would have some merit as it would be able to measure like against like.
But length or arms/width of boat, amount of top arm push, torso rotation, slalom or playboating background etc will all affect paddle stroke style.
The point is to find a balance between angle of feather and crank or straight that works to put the minimum stress on your wrists FOR THE STROKES YOU USE.
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Re: Cranked or 0 dergree feather

Post by Mark Dixon »

DaveBland wrote:This is a silly argument.
If everyone had the same paddling style/technique, then it would have some merit as it would be able to measure like against like.
But length or arms/width of boat, amount of top arm push, torso rotation, slalom or playboating background etc will all affect paddle stroke style.
The point is to find a balance between angle of feather and crank or straight that works to put the minimum stress on your wrists FOR THE STROKES YOU USE.
This is what I was told, I'd need to see if it works for me but not to dismiss it as gospel that I need a feathered paddle as everybody is different, it was pointed out not to expect instant results and also look at a drop in performance before an improvement.

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Re: Cranked or 0 dergree feather

Post by MikeRoberts »

DanH wrote:All the zero feather does is eliminate the constant rotation in the control hands wrist when forward paddling.
Hokey dokey, here's some head-on (as opposed to on-head!) GoPro footage of some paddling.


Have a look at some straight forward paddling around 0:50. I reckon he has about 50-60 degrees of feather on there. No wrist rotation! All the wrist rotation on there comes from specific strokes, rudders, etc.


I'm guessing there may be a slightly different reason why using a 0 degree feather may help. One possible reason is that many people actually rotate their wrist the other way when they're using 0 degree feather paddles. Any thoughts?

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Re: Cranked or 0 dergree feather

Post by Glyn B »

I'm beginning to think that your interpretation of wrist rotation may be different to mine?
I see him rolling his right wrist to twist the paddle so as his left blade is in the right position?

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Re: Cranked or 0 dergree feather

Post by DanH »

Glyn B wrote:I'm beginning to think that your interpretation of wrist rotation may be different to mine?
I see him rolling his right wrist to twist the paddle so as his left blade is in the right position?
Ditto...

Every time he does a left paddle stroke, the right wrist is cocked back to put the left paddle blade into the correct position for the stroke.

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Re: Cranked or 0 degree feather

Post by Chris Bolton »

It's rather surprising how many people who don't use zero feather insist that it means rotating your wrists, while those who do use it say they don't rotate theirs! But there may be a solution...
davebrads wrote:if you are using zero degree feather paddles you are relaxing your grip alternately between strokes, or else your wrists are rotating
Well, yes, I probably relax my grip alternately between strokes - isn't that a good thing? I don't think I grip the paddle at all with the fingers of my top hand, just hold it loosely so that I don't lose it if a wave hits me unexpectedly. Somewhere in the transition between one blade and the other, my grip changes sides - it's not easy to analyse exactly how or where (perhaps I should buy a GoPro), but neither is it difficult to do!

It's nearly 20 years since I changed to zero, so I can't remember how it felt at first. But I'm sure if I'd been taught to walk asymmetrically when I was young, I'd have found it strange to do the same motion with each leg.

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Re: Cranked or 0 dergree feather

Post by Rory W »

Not quite sure why I'm getting sucked into this but a few thoughts...
Chris Bolton wrote:It's rather surprising how many people who don't use zero feather insist that it means rotating your wrists, while those who do use it say they don't rotate theirs!
My current paddles are pretty much zero feather. As I'm paddling with them I don't notice any unusual wrist rotation. I've never had any problems going between them, 45 degree river blades, 60-70 degree wings (actually no idea what feather they are, more than 45 though) or nearly 90 paddles playing polo. 3 or 4 strokes to figure out which way the blade is pointing and then you forget about it. I once had a set of wings where the glue slipped and I carried on using them at zero feather without even noticing it had happened. Sat here inside playing with my current paddles, logically I must be rotating the wrist of my top hand forward very slightly every single stroke. I don't really understand how people can still be disputing this. Have a look at this nice picture:

Image

Paddle feather is 45 degrees. Blade is just about to enter the water with left wrist straight to pull on it. Right wrist is straight too. If the feather was zero, the top blade would be exactly the same angle as the bottom one and so right wrist would have to be rotated forward to maintain the same grip on the paddle. No? Or are you all doing something funny with your arm so this doesn't happen?

I guess the question is does it matter? I just went and looked at lots of pics of me paddling white water and my wrists are rotated at all sorts of different angles anyway. I've never had any problems with my wrists so never felt the need to experiment with cranks or different feathers, just taken every paddle I've got as it came. Maybe with existing wrist problems rotating both wrists forward with no feather is better than rotating your control wrist back too far due to too much feather? Or even better than not rotating it at all? Someone was alluding to studies done, presumably from a racing point of view. Did any of these actually test people who had been using zero feather for long periods or did they just assume that a neutral-looking straight wrist position for your top hand is automatically better for everyone?

Do the benefits of (potentially) a better awareness of exactly where your blades are, (potentially) more stability in stalls and cartwheels (if you do that sort of thing), and ease of off-side back deck rolling and other open-blade-face strokes (is that the right word? you know what I mean) on what would be your off-side if you had one outweigh the (potentially) increased chance of snapping your blades on a big drop or getting them ripped out of your hands? I guess that's a personal question.

I was using a kayak ergo tonight. Despite having no need to, and having most recently paddled with a 0 feather paddle, I automatically reverted to normal control hand paddling rather than keeping both hands still. Is this just because this is so ingrained? What would happen if one of you long time 0 feather users tried?

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Re: Cranked or 0 dergree feather

Post by DanH »

Chris Bolton wrote:It's nearly 20 years since I changed to zero, so I can't remember how it felt at first. But I'm sure if I'd been taught to walk asymmetrically when I was young, I'd have found it strange to do the same motion with each leg.
Brilliant :-)
Rory W wrote:Sat here inside playing with my current paddles, logically I must be rotating the wrist of my top hand forward very slightly every single stroke. I don't really understand how people can still be disputing this.
I did a similar thing last night with a zero feather paddle and a 45° feather paddle. With the zero feather, during a forward paddling motion, my wrists remained straight (both upper and lower), with the 45° feather, my right wrist was cocked backwards when performing a left stroke...
Rory W wrote:...outweigh the (potentially) increased chance of snapping your blades on a big drop or getting them ripped out of your hands?
Are you saying zero feather or feathered paddles have an increased chance of snapping on big drops?

I would say a feathered paddle has an increased chance of snapping (at least around the centre spiggot). With a feathered paddle, when both blades are underwater the blades at different angles causes a torsional twisting of the shaft (hold your paddle underwater at the centre point and pull it up and down, you'll feel the torsional twisting). With a zero feather paddle, this is eliminated. I guess the zero feather could cause an issue if you were "T-Birding" a drop, but one would hope if you were running bigger drops you'd be tucking...

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Re: Cranked or 0 dergree feather

Post by Matt Williams »

I've been paddling with 0 degree for over 10 years but still rotate my right wrist to align the paddle for left hand strokes. I did however go from a 70 degree feather to these.

I was always under the impression that your body has a natural angle in its rotation and that the benefits of paddling with flats where a reduction in movement and not a complete removal.

I know that when I have paddled with blades with a 20 degree feather I have not had to move or relax either hand and have always believed 20 to be a bodies "natural" paddling position?

I've probably been doing it wrong though, who knows it works for me.

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Re: Cranked or 0 dergree feather

Post by PeterG »

A sea kayaker coming from a greenland paddle to a euroblade for surfing or WW finds no feather completely natural, there is no need for feather, I believe that it is just habit. There is no need for a control hand either. What I do find hard is having to hold the paddle as the gp wooden paddles just stick to your hands without having to hold on to much.

A coating of surf wax helps the carbon shaft to stick to my hands without really gripping, but I'm experimenting with ice hockey shrink grip, maybe it will be too grippy and I'll go back to wax.

I also believe from my experience that wrist/forearm problems are the result of excessive grip, not rotation.

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Re: Cranked or 0 dergree feather

Post by morsey »

Not sure the masses are quite ready for zero degrees just yet!!!
System X is now carrying Thirty Degree feather stock in all whitewater models.
This has been our most popular custom order for a while so we thought you'd like to be able to get your hands on it a bit quicker!

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