I expect to take a little abuse from this post, but the greenland paddle people may be amused. Anyway think of this:
The main reason given for feathering is wind resistance against the raised end of the paddle. In a light wind, the effect especially with very small amounts of feather is not great. Can you really notice? With larger amounts (less than 90 degrees) and stronger winds, you can probably notice.
The other factor to consider is that the wind produces forces in other directions on a feathered paddle. Going into the wind, the force is upward on one side on the boat, and downward on the other in going into the wind or down wind. With a side wind, the force is forward on one side of the boat, and aft on the other.
Those who feather, tend to look down on those with euro paddles that do not feather as Newbies. Strange, they do not apply that to GP paddlers.
My conclusion is those who feather do it for other reasons. One reason being their wrists are more comfortable at different angles when pushing or pulling, or because they think it makes them look cool.
Touring Kayak Paddles
Bent Shaft Canoe Paddles
|Table of Contents|
|Messages in this Topic|
Did it ever occur to you....|
Posted by: jackl on Apr-05-13 12:15 PM (EST)
that there might be a few of us that paddle with it feathered because it is more comfortable that way, and could care less what everyone else is doing?
Posted by: jcbikeski on Apr-05-13 12:24 PM (EST)
previously used about 60 degree. A while back I changed to a higher angle paddle and style and thought while I'm at it I would reconsider the whole feather thing partly to maybe make off side rolls easier. Whether because I just got used to feather or whether a high angle stroke prefers a small bit of feather it turned out that 30 degrees just felt right.
Posted by: harry0244 on Apr-05-13 12:27 PM (EST)
That was the first reason I gave for feathering in my conclusion.
Perfect Answer Jack|
Posted by: gibsonra on Apr-05-13 1:35 PM (EST)
That was great Jack.
look down upon?|
Posted by: nickjc on Apr-05-13 12:25 PM (EST)
You might be looked upon as a newbie if you have poor forward stroke, steering strokes or not have a good roll but no one cares what feather angle you use. Many guys I paddle with use with lots of BCU *'s use no feather, others use 30 or 45 deg. Some switch between 45deg ww blade and a greenland or aleutian blade.
any looking down |
Posted by: radiomix on Apr-05-13 1:12 PM (EST)
Will have to be done from behind my nonfeathered paddle.
I don't agree|
Posted by: slushpaddler on Apr-05-13 1:26 PM (EST)
wrist strain / tendonitis|
Posted by: abz on Apr-05-13 1:33 PM (EST)
I am currently paddling unfeathered due to pain in wrist that resolved after I switched to an unfeathered paddle (I use an Aquabound Stingray CF).
with my wing|
Posted by: radiomix on Apr-05-13 1:47 PM (EST)
I actually do put just a tiny amount of feather, but leave my wrists mostly fixed. I find it lines up my left side better.
The main reason for feathering|
Posted by: bowrudder on Apr-05-13 1:33 PM (EST)
is wind resistance?
Posted by: suiram on Apr-05-13 1:46 PM (EST)
Another popular explanation comes from white water slalom - paddle feathered at 90deg allows to clear gates better.
Posted by: Celia on Apr-05-13 3:50 PM (EST)
I don't feather, maybe I'll throw in a slight feather up to 15 degrees once in a while. Nor do I care about anyone's opinion of what I should do here, so I don't have a dog in this fight.
another reason for unfeathered|
Posted by: gjf12 on Apr-05-13 4:39 PM (EST)
No on-side or off-side for rolls or braces.
80 - 85 Degree Feather Works Best|
Posted by: clydehedlund on Apr-05-13 5:21 PM (EST)
For me when using my Onno Lever Lock Wing to obtain the best angle of attack for propelling my surfski effortlessly and efficiently. This setting allows me to plant the blade with maximum force at the catch and keep it at a straight up and down vertical position until the boat pivots past it.
The real reasons|
Posted by: Dr_Disco on Apr-05-13 5:22 PM (EST)
Feathered paddles and beliefs that feathered paddles are better have been around a long time. No one really knows why they became the norm. What has also been around a long time are justifications that don't make any sense, like the wind argument. One argument for feathered paddles that does make sense is wind resistance based on boat movement (what sailors call apparent wind). If you are racing it makes a difference, especially if you adopt 90 degree feather. If you aren't it is trivial. The main advantage of unfeathered paddles is symmetry. But whatever the case if you are used to a feathered paddle it will take you some time to adjust to an unfeathered paddle. I know since i did that. The reverse is also true. You cannot judge either by going out and paddling around a bit.
Try paddling into the wind.|
Posted by: magooch on Apr-05-13 9:26 PM (EST)
If you really want to know why you feather your paddle, try paddling straight into, or very close to a very strong wind. It won't take you long to figure it out. I've paddled into winds that would stop you dead if you present a flat blade to the wind. For most mortal beings--myself included--this is only likely to happen on a day when the wind is gusting to high velocity. I don't think I have to explain why.
Try paddling with the wind|
Posted by: Dr_Disco on Apr-06-13 8:15 AM (EST)
at your back or from the side. That is why the wind argument makes no sense. The wind does not always come at you from the front. I have been in side winds that would rip the paddle out of your hand if it was not unfeathered.
From a wind resistance standpoint...|
Posted by: Bnystrom on Apr-06-13 5:59 PM (EST)
...feathered paddling has a very limited range of directions where it is advantageous and a much larger range where it is a disadvantage.
Most people have a preferred hand|
Posted by: paddlemore on Apr-06-13 10:30 PM (EST)
The more someone relies on a control hand, and the more dominant their dominant hand is when they paddle, the more asymmetrical their stroke. The reason having a control hand is still around is because people have a dominant hand and it feels natural for that hand to do most of the work.
Posted by: Bnystrom on Apr-07-13 5:14 PM (EST)
... having a dominant hand and being stronger on one side than the other does not mean that one is going to use a control hand on a kayak paddle. It's really all about the grip, or more precisely, the lack of a grip. It's pretty simple:
this is what helped me get my offside |
Posted by: slushpaddler on Apr-07-13 5:22 PM (EST)
roll - unfeathering and forgetting about the "control hand".
Paddling into wind|
Posted by: rjd9999 on Apr-07-13 10:57 AM (EST)
is a comparatively rare event for me. Most of my paddling is done in winds that are abeam (as, I believe is true for most paddling situations). Winds are varaible and gusts are truly unpredictable, so even when paddling into a headwind, I still paddle without a feather. This is due to experiences I've had while paddling in storm.
Posted by: slushpaddler on Apr-06-13 10:15 AM (EST)
If one is paddling upwind and the wind is so strong that it may rip the paddle from one's hands, one has bigger issues. I've only been there a few times but lowering my stroke usually minimizes the issue.
'they do not apply that to GP paddlers'|
Posted by: Kudzu on Apr-06-13 6:17 AM (EST)
I feel like such a fish taking this bait but here goes:
that may very well be the case|
Posted by: paddlemore on Apr-06-13 10:33 PM (EST)
Or it could be that people teaching and learning to roll do not bother learning different mechanics (albeit slight ones) for each side. I also think there is a psychological barrier that is created by thinking in terms of on-side/off-side and by most people visualizing and talking about rolling in terms of one side only.
Ergonomics of feather???|
Posted by: Kocho on Apr-06-13 8:27 AM (EST)
I see several people here say that the ergonomics of feathered paddles are better.
because they are "them", not "you"|
Posted by: slushpaddler on Apr-06-13 10:16 AM (EST)
There are not any published studies|
Posted by: paddlemore on Apr-06-13 10:35 PM (EST)
that address the biomechanics or kinematics of a feathered paddle. At least there are none I have found and that is the basis of my Master's Thesis.
this has been fun|
Posted by: harry0244 on Apr-06-13 8:48 AM (EST)
I put up the OP to see how much discussion I could raise on a question with no wrong answer. It has also been educational. Thanks all.
You have to go back to the 1930s...|
Posted by: paddlemore on Apr-06-13 9:50 AM (EST)
When "canoe" (meaning kayak and canoe) slalom racing was first standardized floating buoys were used instead of hanging gates. A 4 second penalty incurred if the paddler's boat or body touched a buoy. After hanging gates became standard a 2 second penalty was added if a paddle touched a gate. At that point paddlers started using 90 degree offsets to reduce the chances of touching a gate and getting a 2 second penalty. In that context, at that time, a 90 degree offset was "best" and all the top athletes were using that offset. The paddling community forgot about the context and adopted 90 degree offset as the "best" all around offset.
Currently there is a market Catch-22|
Posted by: paddlemore on Apr-06-13 9:56 AM (EST)
Manufacturers make feathered paddles because consumers predominately purchase feathered paddles. Consumers purchase feathered paddles because manufacturers predominately make feathered paddles.
Posted by: gstamer on Apr-06-13 1:41 PM (EST)
Good posts. This becomes cultural: students get into kayaking, take a class, are taught to paddle feathered, grow in experience, become the next generation of teachers and teach their students feathered -- sometimes without questioning fundamental beliefs.
Posted by: suiram on Apr-06-13 4:25 PM (EST)
I truly believe that this is an example of "chicken/egg"
good stuff you guys|
Posted by: slushpaddler on Apr-07-13 11:15 AM (EST)
I believe you've explained it precisely.
A benefit not listed yet for feathering|
Posted by: trvlrerik on Apr-06-13 3:14 PM (EST)
I am a high angle paddler that normally does not feather my large blade paddles. When going straight into a head wind the blades develop a lot of spray when raised. In the summer not a big deal, even welcome on a hot day. In the cold, not fun. Feathering at least 60 degrees cuts the ice building spray a lot.
Posted by: radiomix on Apr-06-13 5:22 PM (EST)
An unfeathered wing is a wetter ride. Worth it.
As for the purpose|
Posted by: dajarr on Apr-06-13 4:17 PM (EST)
of feathering, I agree with bowrudder. The wind resistance thing only works if you're paddling directly into or against the wind. I'm usually not that fortunate.
I started unfeathered but when I|
Posted by: shirlann on Apr-06-13 6:44 PM (EST)
tried feathering, it was a positive action for my wrists for my style of strokes, body shape, rotation angle, depth I sit in my 'sinks', etc. all which work together to make a pleasant day of paddling. For me!
non feathered popularity|
Posted by: Jaybabina on Apr-07-13 7:42 AM (EST)
Nonfeathered Wing& "Proper" Stroke|
Posted by: Kocho on Apr-07-13 9:19 AM (EST)
The argument about better vertical planting and stroke with feathered just does not make sense to me... I paddle I unfeathered wing a lot with a surf ski or a regular kayak and there is simply no need to feather in order to get a good stroke.
Posted by: gobsmacked on Apr-07-13 9:29 AM (EST)
This vid explains it well imho.
Yup, it illustrates my point|
Posted by: Kocho on Apr-07-13 3:10 PM (EST)
I like This One Out on the Water|
Posted by: clydehedlund on Apr-07-13 10:38 PM (EST)
Greenland Forward Stroke Videos|
Posted by: gstamer on Apr-07-13 11:05 PM (EST)
The original footage (and more) is on the Qajaq USA website at http://www.qajaqusa.org/Movies/movies.html.
Rolling, Paddles, and Diversity|
Posted by: Kudzu on Apr-07-13 12:14 PM (EST)
Nah, for WW the GP is not the best tool|
Posted by: Kocho on Apr-07-13 3:18 PM (EST)
it must be human tendency...|
Posted by: slushpaddler on Apr-07-13 4:43 PM (EST)
I agree with you. But it must be human tendency to want to apply one solution to different conditions.
I love playing in rock gardens...|
Posted by: BNystrom on Apr-08-13 7:04 AM (EST)
...and use a GP exclusively, but it is definitely NOT the best tool for it. Particularly when things are tight and shallow, you find yourself at a serious disadvantage, as you can't get enough blade in the water to propel the boat forcefully. It can be frustrating and potentially dangerous. I guess the ideal situation would be to carry one of my old Euro paddles on-deck just for rock-gardens.
Posted by: Kudzu on Apr-08-13 9:13 AM (EST)
If you made a GP somewhat shorter and widened the blades considerably would you get a nice compromise? The 'zip' for rolling and the 'bite' for quick maneuvers?
learned one feathering benefit|
Posted by: abz on Apr-08-13 7:48 PM (EST)
I posted last week that I paddle unfeathered as it doesn't aggravate my wrist; however, this weekend taught me one benefit to feathering.
How about bracing on the "other" side?|
Posted by: Kocho on Apr-08-13 8:13 PM (EST)
Posted by: gjf12 on Apr-08-13 9:34 PM (EST)
Bracing on one side with a feathered paddle is exactly the same as bracing on one side with an unfeathered paddle. Bracing on the other side with a feathered paddle requires much more rotation than bracing on that side with an unfeathered paddle. Bracing on each side with an unfeathered paddle is the same. Bracing on each side with a feathered paddle is different. Confusing?
The advantages are only anecdotal|
Posted by: paddlemore on Apr-08-13 10:17 PM (EST)
Any benefits of having a feathered paddle while paddling into a headwind are not supported by solid research. In an isolated (not real world) environment there are benefits if you look at a discrete set of factors. However, when you look at potential benefits and weigh them against costs in a real world environment you will probably find a net benefit of zero.
hurry up and finish that thesis!|
Posted by: slushpaddler on Apr-09-13 11:26 AM (EST)
So much for research.|
Posted by: magooch on Apr-09-13 11:43 AM (EST)
Anyone who has paddled into a wind and can't tell the difference between feathered and unfeathered, needs to get checked.
Posted by: radiomix on Apr-09-13 5:22 PM (EST)
I love topics like this|
Posted by: slushpaddler on Apr-09-13 5:58 PM (EST)
People would defend putting their two-piece paddle together with the blades in the middle if you told them they couldn't.
If this were Facebook I would ..|
Posted by: Dr_Disco on Apr-09-13 10:06 PM (EST)
give you a "like".
As a very recent convert...|
Posted by: sohojacques on Apr-21-13 3:48 AM (EST)