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Different paddles for different conditions?

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14 years 8 months ago #3710 by Paul101
Is there any merit in using a slightly bigger paddle blade for downwind conditions, so that it's easier to accelerate onto the waves? And are their any drawbacks to this, besides financial?

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14 years 8 months ago #3711 by nell
Paul, I would guess that it would depend on how strong you are and how your muscles fare with multiple accelerations. For instance, sprinting to catch waves over and over again might even be easier when using "a smaller gear" like a smaller paddle blade for some paddlers. Others, maybe with a high power to weight ratio or with a natural sprinting ability, might do better with a larger blade, like you ask. It also depends on how good a downwind paddler one is because while the elite guys are sprinting at 8-12+ mph and might get along well with a larger blade (though most use medium size blades), the average downwind paddler might be sprinting repeatedly in the 7-9 mph range, and be better off with their normal size blade.

I guess you could think of a similar analogy using a fixed or single speed gear on a bike - with the caveat that you would use that one gear on undulating terrain.

The same argument holds true with longer vs shorter paddle lengths, too, in my opinion.

I've tried a larger blade and a longer blade on a downwind before and it wears me out much too quickly and I end up slower. Erik

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14 years 2 months ago #4291 by Westley
I did a bit of testing on this recently. I used my Garmin to measure the difference. I used longer length runs and shorter sprints changing my paddle after two runs of each. I repeated the process for an hour.

Having analysed the results I can tell you the difference was more to do with wind gusts than anything else.

I agree that if you have the strength to carry the larger paddle then you can use that. My choice will be to stick with the medium slightly lighter paddle as it is lighter (in my head) to carry for the ten kilometres.

I will miss it in the final 200 metres though.

Today is the best day

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