Wednesday, December 14, 2011

What if...
...when you took your first lesson or began on your own...what if no one ever showed you or talked about feathering a paddle? What if you had been handed an unfeathered one ( or a Greenland stick) and just paddled with it? Would it have ever occur to you, at any time along the way, to feather the paddle?

If you can, imagine you never feathered and someone came along and showed you how to make the blades sit at different angles. Imagine they told you to do such and such with your wrists so that each blade entered the water at the correct angle. Wouldn't you have found that a bit awkward?  Would you have change?

Apparently this whole feathering thing began so that slalom racers could have a top blade that did not hit the hanging gait markers. I know folks tell us that we feather so that the top blade slices into the wind, but that only is true when we go directly into the wind. More over, the feathered blade is ripe for catching a beam wind. So why bother? Why not just do what you probably do any way and lower your angle of paddling when going into the wind?

Now honestly, is feathering what you love, have just gotten used to or a habit?

Paddle safe...
DS

11 comments:

DaveO said...

As a rookie paddler in my immense blue CD Storm, I almost got dumped by a beam wind on Lake Superior off Saxon Harbor. My big old hugely feathered Lendal surf paddle (what the hell did I know in 1997?) went into mothballs and I got one of those funny skinny paddles that look like a 2 x 4. Not much headwind resistance and I've not worried about being knocked over sideways since.

vicki said...

No feathers for this bird!

Anonymous said...

I had a feathered paddle from the very beginning,and I observed that never, nobody, put the feathering in question.Once in a while I got the matter run through my head, but quickly drop it like a blasphemy- what the experienced guys would say!
I learned the roll,on the right, but when it came to rolling on the left, I thought I should give the 0-feather a try because I thought the body loves symmetry and the learning would be easier. I did and the left hand roll ran smooth from the first try. I now use to roll on both hands, ww and sea kayak, unfeathered paddle all the time. Don't suffer much when I hear behind me beginner/ sunday paddler, etc :)
Sometimes it comes out the sunday paddler has a more reliable roll than the companions and I only have an explanation for them 0-feather

Steadfast Ahoy! said...

I feather my blade in canoeing. I like how it feels and how it looks. Now it's just the way i do it out of habit, and I'll probably never change.
Rosemary

RussJ said...

I've paddled with straight blades and different angles of feather in the past. I consider it a good skill to be able to adopt to a different angle quickly, as there are times when you might need to use someone else's paddle.

Doug handed me one of his paddles to try a few years ago. I promptly missed a brace, capsized, failed to roll, and took a swim. It's all about the angle.
If you can't adapt, it might be you next.

Stan Mac Kenzie said...

Very interesting post Silbs and I enjoyed reading the comments. I started with a feather and I likened it to a stick shift in a vehicle, it made me feel like 'I was actually driving’ when shifting all the time, especially in city traffic.The rotation of the wrists being the analogy. When using a feathered paddle felt like city driving, well not really, but felt like I was really initiating something to make the paddle work and my boat move forward. WEll bent shafts came along and it has been so long since I used my Werner that I can’t tell you if it is feathered.
I do use the Greenland paddle from Superior and I just haven’t gone back since I got it a few years ago, for all kinds of reasons but the big one being that it just feels natural to me. Hope they don’t plan on bending those shafts. : )

S.

steve said...

Got rid of the feather and have been paddling without for a few years now. I don`t see any advantage to the feathering, just strain on the wrists. Whenever someone gets a new paddle they ask what angle should it be,I tell them to try without any and they just look at me as tho I`m crazy.
good post should be read by everyone

Silbs said...

Thanks for all the comments. I am surprised. I thought I would be taken to the wood shed over this heresy. I am also finding that the number of paddlers using Greenland sticks is increasing geometrically.
(Steve, check out my daughter's posting on the o'plenty blog).

gnarlydog said...

Silbs, to me your post is not about feather or no feather. I see it more as a questioning the current trend.
And as you point out it is possibly just a trend that many follow without reasoning. You have a valid point: we don't always just paddle into the wind!
Just like DaveO’s case my Werners were sold and the remaining ones are now lost somewhere under a pile of junk in my shed. There is no questioning of feather on a GP and the wind is not a problem. Incidentally my wrist/elbow problems also went away since I switched to sticks.

Silbs said...

Always good to hear from you, Gnarly. Interesting about the wrist problems...makes sense.

RoyM said...

Nice Post...put a "Feather " in your cap for this one:)