Left-handed paddlers

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banzer
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Left-handed paddlers

Post by banzer » Thu Jan 03, 2019 8:16 am

Greetings southpaws.

Can you use a right-handed paddle? Or is it much easier to have a left-handed one? I have no idea but I'm hoping to get my kids into paddling, and one of them is right and one left handed; not planning on buying two paddles just yet! (Obviously I can use a cheap standard one but they are probably heavier.)

Are there any well known left-handed paddlers?
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Re: Left-handed paddlers

Post by GregS » Thu Jan 03, 2019 8:34 am

Right handed people quite commonly do better with what the rest of the world thinks of as a "lefty" solution: most notably the case in cricket (dominant top hand) but can be true in Canoe / Kayak.

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Re: Left-handed paddlers

Post by jamiemagee » Thu Jan 03, 2019 8:37 am

Why not use splits which can often be left/ right handed. I think you've got to let them use both and see which they use most naturally.

I've a lefty friend who was forced to use a right handed one to begin with and struggled until she was given a lefty paddle

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Re: Left-handed paddlers

Post by GregS » Thu Jan 03, 2019 8:38 am

Fundamentally, whatever someone uses he / she will come to see as "natural" - the hard bit isn't learning with any one piece of kit (e.g. a lefty or righty paddle, a specific feather) - the hard bit is changing later on (especially with wing paddles).

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Re: Left-handed paddlers

Post by frazerp » Thu Jan 03, 2019 8:49 am

I'm a lefty. I've always paddled rights and never had a problem. A friend of mine is a righty who has always paddled with lefts (they were available when he started, he says he wishes he hadn't because he can't just grab most other paddles). My splits are drilled so they can assemble 60degree right or left so you could go that route.

Personally, I'd suggest giving them both rights to start with.

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Re: Left-handed paddlers

Post by Poke » Thu Jan 03, 2019 9:07 am

frazerp wrote:
Thu Jan 03, 2019 8:49 am
Personally, I'd suggest giving them both rights to start with.
Yeah, wee bro Dave is a lefty but was pushed down the right handed paddles route. Hasn't affected his paddling at all :-) I'd go with what Frazer is suggesting. Much easier in the long run.
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Re: Left-handed paddlers

Post by Chas C » Thu Jan 03, 2019 9:11 am

I'm a lefty, I have a few paddling friends who are lefties too plus one who is right handed but always paddled left as it was the first paddle he'd been given.

When I was teaching scouts I gave them all rights and only if the lefties struggled did I give them left handed ones mainly because it so much easier for them in the future to buy/obtain right handed paddles (and in most cases cheaper too).

I would go with Frazer's recommendation first and see how it goes.

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Re: Left-handed paddlers

Post by Chris Bolton » Thu Jan 03, 2019 9:11 am

I'd give them unfeathered paddles. Much easier to learn with, much less stress on the wrist and no disadvantage unless (and even this is arguable) they want to become high level competitive paddlers.

Changing later isn't that hard. I changed from 90º to zero after 12 years and although I've used zero for 24 years now I can switch back in a hour or two if feather is all that's available.

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Re: Left-handed paddlers

Post by davebrads » Thu Jan 03, 2019 10:50 am

My sister is right handed and paddles left handed feather, purely down to the fact that her first kayak coach paddled left-handed. I would say get right-handed feather then things are a lot simpler in the future in the event they need to borrow a paddle. Also they will have much more choice in the local kayak store - I know you can get anything you want off the internet but there is more potential for delays.

I don't want to enter into yet another zero-feather debate, but I would advise that zero-feather is avoided, it is at least equally stressful on the wrist and it promotes poor paddling technique. I have known Chris for a long time, and I have a lot of respect for him as a paddler, but we are never going to agree on this.
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Re: Left-handed paddlers

Post by Chris Bolton » Thu Jan 03, 2019 11:55 am

I have known Chris for a long time, and I have a lot of respect for him as a paddler, but we are never going to agree on this.
And I have the same respect for you, Dave, but you're right, we are not going to agree on this. I won't re-open the debate here, anyone interested can find lots of earlier threads on the Forum.

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Re: Left-handed paddlers

Post by Mark Gawler » Thu Jan 03, 2019 12:14 pm

I'm generally confused when it comes to dominance hand, foot and eye, so the fact that I am right handed (mostly) and use a left handed blade seems quite natural to me. I learnt with a 90 degree feather, so there was not coaching bias in my case. I would recommend people learn with a right handed blade, just because they are easy to get hold of. I personally feel the left handed paddle is the correct blade for a right handed person as you maintain a constant grip with your Left hand, but apparently I'm wrong.

Interestingly I have never paddled in a group where I'm the only left handed paddler, often I've been in the majority.
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Re: Left-handed paddlers

Post by DaveBland » Thu Jan 03, 2019 5:12 pm

I'm a right hander that has always paddled leftie. Started with 90 deg flat faced blades so it's not down to early paddle choice.
I *can* paddle right-handed blades, but I'd hateto rely on it as it's my brain that 'forgets' not the technique. I think if I practiced enough, it would soon come though.
I'm sure it's only like changing feather, but a bit more extreme.

My choice would be go with right-handed as they are begining. It'll be easier in the long run.
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Re: Left-handed paddlers

Post by Chas C » Fri Jan 04, 2019 7:58 am

Chas C wrote:
Thu Jan 03, 2019 9:11 am
I'm a lefty, I have a few paddling friends who are lefties too plus one who is right handed but always paddled left as it was the first paddle he'd been given.

When I was teaching scouts I gave them all rights and only if the lefties struggled did I give them left handed ones mainly because it so much easier for them in the future to buy/obtain right handed paddles (and in most cases cheaper too).

I would go with Frazer's recommendation first and see how it goes.
I'd not noticed that Mark Gawler paddled left handed (poor observational technique), so looks like I've paddled with at least two righties who paddle as lefties, as well as lots of other lefties.

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Re: Left-handed paddlers

Post by Ed Cornfield » Fri Jan 04, 2019 9:50 am

I’m right handed, but have always paddled lefty having started with 90 degree paddles and no one told me not too. The main advantages of using right handed paddles are borrowing paddles, replacing paddles when travelling and loading onto roof racks or paddle bags with friends.

A lot of Norwegian paddlers paddle LH as there was a batch of cheap LH Werner paddles imported 20+ years ago.

Try and borrow one of each and let them experiment if you can, or push down the route of RH unless one really struggles.

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Re: Left-handed paddlers

Post by Jim » Fri Jan 04, 2019 10:41 am

My friend who started our club is a lefty slalom C1 paddler (old skool, we try to get the kids not to have a preference) and in the past he paddled kayak left handed too. The club only have right hand kayak paddles so when he is coaching (which is almost always from kayak because all the kids start in kayak) he paddles right handed and does have to concentrate a bit but rarely has any trouble getting mixed up, unless he takes a kayak down the WW course and needs a reactive stroke which he sometimes slices. In comparison, when he tried to do some demonstrations for me in C1 as a righty (I paddle righty) he struggled much more with that than he does paddling a kayak as a righty.

So I would also suggest starting them both with RH paddles, and if one of them struggles and ends up switching to LH just hope it isn't the one you think is right handed! Seriously, someone mentioned it above - for some people it doesn't make sense to keep the reliable hand in the same position and trust the unreliable hand to change grip, so they do the opposite to the rest of us. We are all wired differently!

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Re: Left-handed paddlers

Post by banzer » Fri Jan 04, 2019 11:28 am

Playing guitar is another one. Right-handers play the complicated / noodley stuff with their left hand, whilst the right does the relatively simple task of picking or strumming.

Maybe I should try playing left handed, though it'll probably sound equally as bad either way. (Currently trying to learn sweep-picking... eeek)
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Re: Left-handed paddlers

Post by Tony Ireland » Fri Jan 04, 2019 11:38 am

Im right handed but was left handed at nursery and they changed me over (in the 70's when leftie was wrong)
I only started paddling last summer, so still very much a Noob, but am still paddling left handed blades. I tried right handed (which I can do) but I find it so unnatural, especially in regards to reactive strokes.
Ive read all the above posts from the obviously vastly more experienced paddlers than myself and yes, clubs dont have many LH paddles if any. LH paddles are generally more awkward/expensive to get hold of, but, for me, Im all about the natural. Let them try both and if youll excuse the pun, see what floats their boat.

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Re: Left-handed paddlers

Post by Jim » Fri Jan 04, 2019 1:11 pm

I'm right handed, but always upset my dad (and waiters in posh Italian restaurants) by holding my fork in my right hand instead of my knife. I think I subconsciously want to make sure I get the food in my mouth rather than my eye, cutting it up is less important, that's what I have front teeth for right? Like I say, we are all wired differently!

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Re: Left-handed paddlers

Post by DaveBland » Fri Jan 04, 2019 4:45 pm

Jim, I think that should be "we are all weird differently".
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Re: Left-handed paddlers

Post by Jim » Fri Jan 04, 2019 9:21 pm

I'm not!

(apologies, I spotted the opportunity for a variation on one of my favourite jokes from the life of Brian)

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Re: Left-handed paddlers

Post by Mark Dixon » Sun Jan 06, 2019 1:17 pm

Zero degree paddle for me is ideal for kids. I am right handed but as a teenager I played both Golf and cricket either handed, I couldnt see any difference.
I often use both hands at work with a hammer or lead dresser, I paddle right handed but often roll left handed, with kayaking shoulder injuries I soon learnt to hammer with my left hand such that most jobs doesnt make a great deal of difference.
Good luck

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Re: Left-handed paddlers

Post by Jerry Tracey » Fri Jan 11, 2019 4:28 pm

It is good to hear that I am not alone!! I am another right hander who has always used left feather. This began when I was a boy, as I was recovering from a broken right wrist and therefore started with left feather paddles (90 degrees in those days). I think that left paddles can actually be natural for right handers - think in terms of holding something in place with the left hand and then using dexterity on the right to carve or hammer it.

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Re: Left-handed paddlers

Post by Adrian Cooper » Mon Jan 14, 2019 9:49 am

Jim wrote:
Fri Jan 04, 2019 1:11 pm
holding my fork in my right hand instead
Probably the least excusable quirk! *

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Re: Left-handed paddlers

Post by Jim » Mon Jan 14, 2019 11:22 am

Adrian Cooper wrote:
Mon Jan 14, 2019 9:49 am
Jim wrote:
Fri Jan 04, 2019 1:11 pm
holding my fork in my right hand instead
Probably the least excusable quirk! *
Which hand do you use a spoon in?

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Re: Left-handed paddlers

Post by Adrian Cooper » Mon Jan 14, 2019 2:31 pm

The correct one. :-)

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Re: Left-handed paddlers

Post by Adrian Cooper » Mon Jan 14, 2019 2:37 pm

Off-topic

Actually Jim, I am a poor example for this stuff. I have a badly damaged right arm so my forearm doesn't swivel nor my wrist bend as much as it should. Using chopsticks is really awkward since they go in sideways rather than point first, really makes my wrist ache.

Note to self, investigate cranked chopsticks.

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Re: Left-handed paddlers

Post by Unsponsored » Sun Feb 03, 2019 8:13 pm

I've been paddling since I was 11 and will be 45 this year. I'm right handed. However not long after starting (blades were not asymmetric or dished) I started paddling left handed and have done ever since. It made getting good paddles in the past a bit of a chew but there are plenty of options now.

I can still paddle right handed if required but it takes a little bit more thought.

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Re: Left-handed paddlers

Post by scottdog007 » Sat Feb 09, 2019 9:29 pm

If paddling from a fresh, so never paddled before why not let them paddle with right handed paddles.

I am basically left handed but to to all sports this changed to whatever was available to me and of course I was ignorant as to what was left or right handed at the time.

I paddle right handed, play cricket, golf right handed but tenise and squash left handed. Most left handed people are almost ambidextrous so can adapt easily I would say.

Strangely enough my father was right handed but played golf left handed.

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Re: Left-handed paddlers

Post by Jonny Hightower » Thu Feb 28, 2019 4:15 pm

I'm left-handed but using a left-hand feather feels totally alien to me, presumably because I started out using a RH feather. Having said that, I do some other stuff, notably eating, in a right-handed fashion. I don't know if that indicates I have some predisposition to some level of right-handedness, but I certainly can't write with my right hand and (probably because) I don't have as fine motor control with that hand. I suggest giving them both RH paddles to begin with and seeing if it causes unusual blade orientation issues.

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Re: Left-handed paddlers

Post by Franky » Fri Mar 01, 2019 5:13 pm

I eat fruit with my right hand but sandwiches with my left. What's that about?

I reckon paddling other-handed is like driving on the right - you can adapt pretty easily if you have to. Muscle memory can go a long way in overcoming natural "handedness".

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