Blade size vs material - effect on shoulders

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Airmiles NLI

Blade size vs material - effect on shoulders

Post by Airmiles NLI »

What would give a better compromise of power vs wear-and-tear:

glass Sidecicks or Carbon players?

I switched to Waterstick karmas from players and (before they broke) they proved to be
MUCH more powerful
.. but harder on the shoulders

I'd be happy enough just to go back to Players, but the extra power was useful - if I want some extra power but without much extra strain, whats they way to go - bigger but soft or small but stiff?

Instinct says Sidekicks.....

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Post by Rockrat »


I quite like the look of the Player's because they are a mid-sized blade so less strain on the shoulders and arms because there is less surface area to be pulled through the water. The Player's bigger brother, the Sidekick, i think, has a much bigger blade surface area, so there will be more strain on the shoulders as there is more pressure.

I don't think it is possible to find a mid-sized blade which gives the power of a larger blade or a larger blade which doens't abuse the shoulders like a mid-sized blade - you'll just have to comprimise.

On the point of materials - i'm not sure whether different materials for the Player or Sidekick will alter the power charactistics i think they'll just alter the weight and strength of the paddle.

One other option is get a longer shaft on the Player. There will be then more leverage to exert extra power, but you've not got the problem of having a big blade surface area.

Just my opinions as i've been looking on the Werner site and found this useful function on their site.
Iain Robinson

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Post by ChrisMac »

I found that with my watersticks. It went away after a while. I was never sure whether it was because I got used to the difference or my shoulders got stronger with using them.

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Post by Big O »

Go for the Werner Powerhouse, thay seem to be made of the same stuff as Players but are a bigger blad and on a similar shaft to the Player that will have a bit of flex in it.

The shoulder probs come from the stiffness of the shaft and therefore you are using your wrist, elbow and shoulder as shock absorbers. Anything other than a carbon shaft should not give you any problems.

I personally use the Werner Shogun, carbon foam core blades on a carbon shaft. I don't have any problems with my shoulders, but i do a lot of work (paddling and with weights) to make sure my shoulder muscles are strong enough for high impact white water paddling.


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Post by steveparry »

I was getting wrist/elbow problems with carbon cranked Players but found that simple flexibility and proper warming up my forearm muscles got rid of the problem completely. Just got back from the Alps, full on five days paddling with no problems. I do think that (for me) proper preparation of muscle groups affected has had much more benefit than switching paddles. Warm ups are essential and should be part of any paddling day. As I used to swim (not paddling based!) my shoulders are quite flexible, maybe that's the answer!! Swim more.

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Post by James Hartley »

I have the Zen watersticks and have never had any problems with my shoulders as a result. All I can sugested is that they may be a little long and acting like large levers causing injury, or theres an underlying shoulder problem that is been aggrevated by paddling, or you need to do more shoulder presses at the gym ;-)
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Richard B

Post by Richard B »

I would think that having shorter paddles with a bigger blade might be a good alternative compromise to long shaft/small blade combination. I have got 197cm players, which are really good, though they are a compromise as I find that a bigger blade would be useful for creeks/rivers and a shorter shaft better for playboating to stop the blades getting in the way.

It's all pretty minor, but Sidekicks sound like a good choice for you.

Dr Repper nli

Post by Dr Repper nli »

From what I've seen of the Shogun/Powerhouse, it's much more of a river-running blade shape than the paddles you've mentioned. Obviously this isn't an issue if that's what you want them for, but if you're going to be playboating mainly then you may want a bit more droop in the tip.

Personally, I favour the big blade, small shaft option as it prevents tangling and you end up with lower swing resistance for a more rapid stroke rate. Have a set of players as spares, went to cranked sidekicks and much preferred them. Currently using AT2s, which have a large, foam cored blade on a double torque crank.

Essentially, only you can decide which blade style you like. Paddle choice is incredibly subjective. As a general rule though, I think you'd end up regretting buying a paddle that's overly long. In my experience, you tend to get used to larger blades, provided you get out and use them enough, but that's just me. Best advice I can give is to beg other boaters for a go with their blades. Many will be a little retiscent as they can be fragile, but most will be okay with it provided that you are careful. If you ver bump into me on the water (not that there's any reason that you'd recognise me!) you can certainly have a go with my ATs if you want to try the big blade/short shaft combo.

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Post by neilfarmer »

Rockrat wrote: Just my opinions as i've been looking on the Werner site and found this useful function on their site.
Interesting site, thanks rockrat.

Now looking for a bit of advice.

I currently use a set of 'Werner Wenatche' 197ish straight shaft paddles.
Wrists are getting a bit sore, so was thinking of 'neutral bent shafts'.
Put the information into the site above and they recommended 'shoguns'.

The bit I do not understand is.... the materials.
Have searched the threads for a bit,

- carbon seems to be stiffer, stronger, lighter ... and more expensive!
- glass cheaper but more flexiable.

I like the werners because they do not break (or havent so far) and I like the flexing shaft and stiff blades. I have heard stories that Carbon blades on the roof stress and snap (I do not tie the blades on the roof). Is that true? The cost is important, but not a determining factor (I dont want to paddle with £400 blades because I would be too worried on losing them!).

So what I really want is advice! What material? Is glass a good choice? Does a carbon shaft make the shaft stiffer/stronger?

Neil Farmer.

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Post by Rockrat »

It would probably be best to email Werner and ask them the pro's and con's on materials.

However i've got the Brookbank catalgue in front of me and they only seem to sell the neutral bent shaft option where the shaft and blades are both the same materials (ie. carbon/carbon).

You don't seem to be able to mix and match - well that's at Brookbank's - but some other shop may allow carbon blades on a neutral bent glass shaft, which is what you'd be looking at if you like a flexible shaft with stiff blades.

Hope that's of some help.
Iain Robinson

Richard B

Post by Richard B »

I think what you say is all correct, i.e. carbon is stiffer and stronger. Toughness and flexibility have to be a bit of an issue too, a little bit of flexibility in the paddle helps it absorb impacts/sudden loads by flexing (this works to protect your wrists too).

As carbon and glass are both pretty strong I think it comes down to the feel you prefer. I think I prefer glass, I had some carbon paddles once and they felt a bit "dead" in comparison, but they were a different make, blade shape etc so it's not a direct comparison.

If you want blades that are easier on the wrists then glass cranks are probably the way to go.

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