× Tips and techniques for getting the most out of surfskiing.

Wing Paddle feeling "mushy"

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9 years 10 months ago #13371 by Zephyrus
Hi all,

Today was about my 10th time out paddling with a wing. A few weeks ago, I thought I was finally getting the hang of it; it felt "locked in" on every stroke.

Today was completely different. I was locked in at slow speeds, but when I increased speed it felt a little wobbly with much less pressure (like a tiny touring blade).

The "catch" was noisy and seemed to suck lots of air-bubbles into the water, which I assume is the reason the paddle wasn't "locking in".

Last week I was paddling a bigger boat, and used the paddle at 215cm. Today I was using 210cm.

Note: My left forearm (top and bottom) gets fatigued earlier than it should. I am trying to hold the paddle loosely to reduce this "wasted" energy. I control the feather angle with my left hand (trying to roll with fingers more than wrist)


Any tips on getting a clean catch when increasing speed?

Thanks

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9 years 10 months ago - 9 years 10 months ago #13372 by Kayaker Greg
Sounds like your pulling back before you get the solid catch, spear the paddle into the water like your cutting a jellyfish in two, only pull back once its fully immersed.
Last edit: 9 years 10 months ago by Kayaker Greg.
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9 years 10 months ago #13374 by AR_convert
10 weeks :huh: give yourself a break with sore forearms, has taken me on and off years to get to the point where my arms can tolerate the force applied. If you are getting fitter and improving your stroke the force applied by your core and shoulders through your arms will increase so your small arms muscles are always playing catch up.

One thing that clicked for me recently after reading a coaching guide was not to drive my front hand forward after the catch but to keep it locked a the same length and push down the shaft of the paddle as you rotate back, this has made a big difference in the solid feel of the catch and stoke and reduced the fatigue in my shoulders and arms.

There is almost always something to work on with the paddle stroke, that's why I havent got bored with it after 4 years ;)

Always looking for the next boat :)
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9 years 10 months ago #13379 by 1xsculler
Your signature reminds me of a question that sometimes comes to me; Why do so many surfskiers seem to collect so many skis? Why not sell the older ones as you acquire new ones?

current skis: SES Ultra. sculling boats: Fluidesign Lwt, Wintech, Empacher.

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9 years 10 months ago #13381 by Kocho
Slow down to see what happens at the catch... There are several ways to get a clean catch but not all of them are an equally effiient way to do it. One thing I read from a coach write-up that clicked for me - the "lift" effect can be had not only during the sideways swing but also during the catch. Basically, you don't just spear the water or slice into it or equalise speeds and dip your paddle, which are all ways to get a clean catch. Instead, you might want to try to imagine that you are sliding the blade into the water in such a way that you gain a bit of forward lift just from doing so. The shape of some blades is conductive to this type of starting your stroke. This does not result in a big slplash and no air is getting caught, but you are effectively making your stroke that little bit longer reach forward at the beginning of your power phase (compared to just dipping the paddle or slicing it from the side, which are also valid ways for a no-splash catch, but are not as efficient, supposedly)...
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9 years 10 months ago #13385 by Kayaker Greg
Sprinting with a small mid wing during the off season is a good way to improve your catch. The larger bladed paddles mask some deficiency in technique.

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9 years 10 months ago #13386 by Zephyrus

Kayaker Greg wrote: Sounds like your pulling back before you get the solid catch, spear the paddle into the water like your cutting a jellyfish in two, only pull back once its fully immersed.


Yes! That sounds like my problem. I was pulling back as the paddle entered the water. I'll try spearing some jelly fish first next time.

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9 years 10 months ago #13387 by Zephyrus

AR_convert wrote: 10 weeks :huh: give yourself a break with sore forearms, has taken me on and off years to get to the point where my arms can tolerate the force applied. If you are getting fitter and improving your stroke the force applied by your core and shoulders through your arms will increase so your small arms muscles are always playing catch up.


I've incorporated one arm torso rotating lat pulls into every other day weight training for about a year now. For a while my grip was the weakest link, but improving the grip surface of the handles helped fix that. However, I tried some longer intervals (1 minute 90 reps and sure enough my grip was exhausted by the end)

AR_convert wrote: One thing that clicked for me recently after reading a coaching guide was not to drive my front hand forward after the catch but to keep it locked a the same length and push down the shaft of the paddle as you rotate back, this has made a big difference in the solid feel of the catch and stoke and reduced the fatigue in my shoulders and arms.


I read something abut keeping the top hand locked in as well. But I have not tried pushing down, thanks for the tip!

A lot of the kayak stroke discussion reminds me of XC skiing, the slight pause at the most stretched out position before the stroke, using first, body weight, then torso/abs, then a small flick of the arms.

Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be a way to use body weight for thrust in kayaking hehe, unless someone pulls a Bill Koch on us.

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9 years 10 months ago #13388 by Zephyrus
Kocho,

How to you put the paddle in the water differently to achieve this lift? Is it just trial and error until you get the feel of it?

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9 years 10 months ago - 9 years 10 months ago #13389 by Kayaker Greg
[/quote]Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be a way to use body weight for thrust in kayaking hehe, unless someone pulls a Bill Koch on us.[/quote]

Yes there is and there were some interesting links here some months back regarding torso swing and using a wall of water and the slippery soap effect.

kemecsey.uw.hu/Zen.html

kemecsey.uw.hu/legwork.html

BTW, I'm not sure whats going on with your grip or lack off, my right hand was injured in an motorcycle accident and I have no use of the little and ring fingers, they will not close but this does not effect my paddling as I find I do not need to grip the paddle hard.
Last edit: 9 years 10 months ago by Kayaker Greg.

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9 years 10 months ago #13390 by Kocho

Zephyrus wrote: Kocho,

How to you put the paddle in the water differently to achieve this lift? Is it just trial and error until you get the feel of it?


Z., please see Kayaker Gregs links. I think I read about that in one of the articles there (along with other concepts about the wall of water and the power circles). As for me - trial and error, yes, and I don't claim what I do is correct (I'm relatively new to that too), but it feels like I'm getting more of my stroke this way.

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9 years 10 months ago #13391 by Physio

1xsculler wrote: Your signature reminds me of a question that sometimes comes to me; Why do so many surfskiers seem to collect so many skis? Why not sell the older ones as you acquire new ones?

because "he who dies with the most toys... wins"

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9 years 10 months ago - 9 years 10 months ago #13392 by DougMar
Feather angle has a lot to do with the amount of wrist flexure that is required, or not required. I have my Brasca VII max and min, as well as the VI max, all set at about 50 deg feather, and both Epic mids at about 60 deg, and all require zero wrist flexure. Try angling your shoulder up slightly so that your elbow somewhat wings out to control the small amount of twist that the blade requires. Either that or reduce the feather angle. Nothing wrong with having a low feather angle! My friend Franklin (who just won the USA Team wildwater trials!) never uses any feather, and his results speak for themselves. (Sorry for boasting on ya, Franklin!) He’s every bit as lethal while paddling long boats on big waters as he is on the river.

The Brascas behave best when power is applied to them at the catch (not after "spearing the jellies"), while using a catch that inserts the trailing edge of the blade first, right next to the hull, while having a transverse track at the catch. They do provide some vertical lift as well. Their catch suffers terribly if done per textbook Greg. My Epic mids enjoy a slightly delayed application of power after the catch, but do not provide as much vertical lift, if I notice it at all. I.e., all wings have different handling characteristics... That begs the question: what kind of wing do you have?

Also, one cannot have too many paddles. I have at least eight paddles… no, nine paddles. Soon to be ten paddles. Yes, I do use them all, depending on conditions, boat, and mood.

Edit: Feather angle can have a huge impact on catch performance as well. Reducing the feather may help your catch measurably while enabling you to have more endurance.
Last edit: 9 years 10 months ago by DougMar.

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9 years 10 months ago #13398 by Zephyrus
I'm using a Jantex Gamma Mid

Feather angle is 67.5 degrees (I think my old paddle was only 60)

I figured I should pick a feather angle and stick with it. (I am practicing rolling as well)

Do you notic any trouble changing feather angles frequently?

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9 years 10 months ago - 9 years 10 months ago #13399 by 1xsculler
I can relate to that! Also, never confuse needs with wants!

current skis: SES Ultra. sculling boats: Fluidesign Lwt, Wintech, Empacher.
Last edit: 9 years 10 months ago by 1xsculler.

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9 years 10 months ago #13411 by owenw
Feather angle is a very personal thing and the "best" fit is different for each paddle/paddler. As I've grown older (now closer to 70 than 60 :( )even though I paddle 4-5 times per week and regularly race, I find that the accompanying loss of flexibility in both torso and wrists has resulted in me having to progressively reduce my feather angle.

I reckon the best way to find your suitable angle is to get in/on your ski/boat, loosen your joiner a bit, reach forward to a fully rotated catch position (say on the left hand side) then rotate your right hand (still gripping the shaft in its normal position) until it is in the most comfortable/natural position. That is your most efficient angle. Mine has reduced now to 45 degrees.

Life truly lived is full of risk; to fence out risk is to fence out life itself

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9 years 10 months ago - 9 years 10 months ago #13416 by DougMar
Zephyrus:

Do you notice any trouble changing feather angles frequently?

Just as owenw indicated, each paddle may have a different feather angle that works best for that paddle and paddler. I do not feel any noticeable amount of feather difference between these (Epic mid and the Brascas) paddles, in fact they all feel identical in the amount of arm position to arrive at the correct catch for each paddle, even though the two styles of wing paddles have roughly 10 degrees feather difference. The only momentary acclimation period of but about 20 seconds comes when switching between the feathered wings and the unfeathered Greenland paddles (a most excellent type of paddle for rolling), and vise a verse. But I do use both types of paddle quite regularly, and get out at least four times a week.

This past Saturday I paddled with Franklin for a "goof-off" recovery session following his victory at the USA Team Wildwater Trials. He came with a very different wing (you’ll have to ask him what it was… he owns many, many different paddles, mostly wings), and me paddling the new GP that I made two weeks ago. We exchanged paddles for a few minutes. I’m accustomed to paddling a wing with feather, but his wing was unfeathered. So I had at least one stroke where the blade dived beneath the boat momentarily. The wing also made plopping sounds at the catch, which in the roughly three minutes that I tried the wing, was unable to ascertain the proper catch. Could’ve been the lack of feather for me, I don’t know without further use. Franklin indicated that the paddle has a very nice feel and excellent speed.

I was in my Raven (a viciously fast, Greenland rolling boat), Franklin in his wildwater boat (the extremely light, 17 foot (5.2 m) hull looks very much like a scaled-down, elite-style ski) . I immediately noticed the added speed from the wing, and jumped ahead of Franklin. The Greenland paddle design was an attempt at making a faster, more powerful GP. It certainly is more powerful than the typical GP, and previous personal designs, but still does not have quite the speed potential of a good wing. At least in my hands. So, Franklin was finally left in my wake. I’m sure that won’t soon happen again.
Last edit: 9 years 10 months ago by DougMar.

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