Speed: Stroke Tempo v Technique

12 years 1 month ago #10426 by Dicko
I wonder if the length of your paddle is more a reflection of strength/age rather than height. I am slightly taller, slightly older and a bit heavier (all muscle of course) and I prefer a blade with more bite as opposed to a smaller blade. I have recently increased the shaft out to 208 from 206 and slightly longer if I use a smaller blade. I suspect that the reason I use a shorter shaft is that I am not strong enough to pull the big blade that I prefer (feels more stable, better bite).
My shorter stockier mates use a longer paddle than I do, but I suspect they are stronger than I am in the arms. I'm sure longer arms means more leverage and harder to pull a big blade. It would be a great article to see what blades and lengths the elite paddlers use. I suspect it is longer shafts with smaller blades.

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12 years 1 month ago #10433 by Rightarmbad
I also work well at 222cm and a slow stroke.
But only in the flat water.

I have plenty of torque at low revolutions.
I still do when on the bike as well.

But to go to a length that is workable in the waves is a problem for me.

Us humans make the most force at a near stall, and the very long blade achieves a good power output for me, it is just impractical to run a paddle like that in the surf.
I also look like a normal paddler at that length.

When I go short enough for the sea, it takes me out of the big slow power range, but not fast enough to put me up into the high revving, low torque, high power range.

I get stuck in nowhere land with not enough torque available and not able to turn it over fast enough to get full power.

If I do 200m stuff, my speed kicks up over 15kmh and I work pretty well, I may even push my paddle out to 207cm for these.

But unfortunately, without wave assistance, I just cannot keep that pace up.

If the swells are running then I have no problems and everything feels as though it gels.
I did a run from out from Kirra the other day with some nice assistance and averaged 15.7kmh and the paddle was nothing but perfect.

But heading out into it the other way was a real chore and no matter what length I used, it just didn't work.
I tried my smaller blade in almost identical conditions and it was no help when going into it either.

It really is a tempo thing, and I am on the bottom of being viable on the cadence I am at, so anything that drops me a little puts me in a bad place.

Under these circumstances, losing leg drive and just using torso twist will shorten my stroke and actually be faster, but it is more tiring on the back and not really sustainable over more than a couple of km.

So the search continues, unless a new carbon boat just lifts my speed up enough for this issue to disappear.

Follow the path of the independent thinker. Expose your ideas to the dangers of controversy. Speak your mind and fear less the label of 'crackpot' than the stigma of conformity. And on issues that are important to you, stand up and be counted at any cost.--- Thomas J. Watson

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