Thursday, January 31, 2008

More Thoughts



Sitting inside waiting out winter, I spend a good deal of time looking at kayak and paddle broucheres. What I really want to do is try other paddles. I'm not particularly interested in bent shafts or expensive carbon products. My needs and thoughts are much more basic in nature.

One of the bagaboos aobut selecting a paddle is proper length. There are all sorts of ways to about this such as standing with the hand extended to see if the fingers just curl over the blade. There are even programs into which you plg your hieight, style, boat width, etc. and you get a recommendation for a suitable paddle length. None of them, however, beat actually using the thing and seeing what works best for you.

I want to try a shorter paddle. I want to try a high angle blade and see how it feels on my shoulders. I want to roll with a shorter blade and see how well it braces and sculls. Most of all, I want to see if my forward stroke becomes a tad more efficient with a different paddle. The way things are going, however, it will be months before I get to do any of that. Actually, two things will need to happen first.

It needs to get a bit warmer so that I can get out on the pound behind Rutabaga. There they are, my 2 needs. The weather and a supply of paddles to try. I am hoping that the symposiums will have vendors with shiny new blades for testing. You see, I know all the theories, but until I actually try the thing out in my own boat I won't know what suits me best. Now, where's that magazine ad from Werner that I was just checking out?

Paddle safe...



Alex said...

Yeah, shorter blades definitely seem to be the trend these days (at least for Euro blades) which I see as a good thing. While I'm primarily a greenland guy for sea kayaking these days, I remember that my first Euro blade was 215 cm. Now when I paddle with my wing, I'm at around 208 cm or so and I greatly prefer it. Same goes with whitewater. I started at maybe 194 or 196 and am down to 191 cm. Granted I'm a fairly short guy with a high angle stroke but it's nice not having the paddle shaft pull through the water with each stroke. :)

As for Greenland style, as you well know the paddle is used differently but I still find my paddle to be a bit shorter than most folks at 84 inches (213.4 cm) but it's what works best for me.

I'm actually a bit surprised that with the technology and science that goes into Euro paddles that a better system of figuring out paddle length hasn't been devised. Since our torso and arm height matters much more than our absolute height, I would think a similar anthropometric measuring system like the Greenland paddles might be handy.

Hmmm... how about an armspan + a cubit = a low angle Euro paddle and an armspan + a cubit - hand = a high angle Euro paddle. Does that work out to reasonable numbers in any way? :)

Silbs said...

I'm not sure, Alex, but I like the way you think.

DaveO said...

I too am pondering a new Euro blade, especially if I want to do any instructor type stuff this summer. Ron S made me a long, skinny Greenland stick which feels really good but my Euro knowledge is limited. Canoecopia, here we come!

RoyM said...

sounds like canoeacopia needs to add a wave machine to that tiny pool and open it to paddle and boat demo's

it would feed the need

Best Wishes