How small is too small (Paddle size)

  • MCImes
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6 years 7 months ago #29127 by MCImes
How small is too small (Paddle size) was created by MCImes
Hi Gang,
I have a Small-Mid wing paddle, full carbon, 210-220cm length, 735cm blade area. Its the only wing paddle I've used, so I dont have much of a "Paddle Palette" so to say.

After paddling 10-15km, (5-10 miles) my shoulders are often mildly sore the next day, and I find I have to limit the amount of force i put into the stroke to mitigate shoulder pain. This is probably my fault from being dumb and young; when I was 17-18 I injured my shoulders lifting weights. Nothing too bad, but they are sensitive to extended periods of high stress, like racing or hard fitness training.

My question is, I see the Think Powerwing paddle has a surface area of only 650cm (and a very reasonable price of $370). I know I would probably sacrifice a little acceleration ability with the smaller blade, but if it means more comfortable overall paddling, I dont mind the trade off.

For reference, I just did a 14.5km (9.1 miles) flat water paddle with an average speed of 10km/h (6.2mph) in a Gen1 Stellar SR.

So, think its a good idea to try a very small bladed paddle? Or am i not thinking of some other drawbacks? Thanks for any thoughts.

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6 years 7 months ago #29134 by Cerca Trova
Depends on the distance. I've had numerous sports injuries through the years (shoulder & elbows) and the smaller blades with soft shafts has extended my paddling adventures immensely. I train with my 700 cm Jantex flexi-soft, and my newly acquired Braca XI 704cm 19k Soft AL extra light. My largest paddle is a Jantex 720 cm.
I see more paddlers using the smaller blades than ever before. Of course proper form is always important no matter what blade you use!

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6 years 7 months ago #29135 by Paul600
I now use a Think Powerwing after moving from a Braca IV copy a couple of years ago. Key advantage for me is that I can maintain proper form for much longer with no drop in speed. You have to maintain good technique however, I found a bigger blade could mask a poor technique, something that a smaller blade won't do.

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6 years 7 months ago #29138 by zachhandler
A shorter shaft will also help. I am 5'11" and do a lot of paddling at 208 or 209 cm, but I think I could get used to as short as 206. Shorter lever equals less strain. It is possible i believe to shorten an epic by using heat to remove each blade and then trimming at the ends. I think someone on this forum posted about that recently.

Another thing that will help is modifying your technique. You should try adopting the Oscar Chalupsky stroke. Basically you drop the elbows all the way down to your sides and produce all power and rotation with the legs. It is amazing how much it unloads the shoulders if you do it properly. Boyan at the surfski center in Tarifa paddles that way too and there are lots of videos of him online.

Current Skis: Epic v10 g3, NK 670 double, NK exrcize, Kai Wa’a Vega, Carbonology Feather, Think Jet, Knysna Sonic X
Former Skis: Epic V12 g2, Epic V12 g1, Epic v10 double, Nelo 550 g2, Fenn Elite S, Custom Kayaks Synergy

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