Paddle, feathered or unfeathered?

sushiy

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Oct 3, 2006
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Lynnwood, Washington, USA
I am just abut starting to make a paddle. And here is my Q.

I read Derek Hutchinson's book and he strongly recomends feathered blade. Now, Greenland paddle is usually unfeathered. and the book explains the advantage of "feathered", and I am like "uhh, I see!"

What is the advantage of "unfeathered" Greenland paddle when it comes to paddling?

I thought " Maybe I should make "feathered" GP. Maybe I can cut it in the middle and twist it and glue or use the hardware."

I don't know... my spirit of Eagle Scout calling me again... what a heck, it takes only another piece of wood and a few days of shaving if I did not like the first one.
 

jurgenk

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Jun 14, 2005
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New Hazelton, BC
Hey sushiy, someone like DarenN or Komatiq (both, I believe have used GP's) will likely explain it better, but one of the advantage of feathering a "euro" bladed paddle would be in cutting wind resistance while paddling into a headwind. As your paddle comes out of the water and comes forward during your stroke, the leading edge of the paddle is turned like a knife edge to any wind on the bow, which eases your paddling effort to a degree.

In a GP paddle, there is a much narrower cross section of paddle (as the paddle blades are generally smaller than a euro) exposed and since these paddles and their shapes were likely developed over thousands of years they likely did some trial and error in their design and paddle stroke. I paddle a feathered paddle and have never tried a GP (I would like to make one and try it), but there is a school of thought that you are exposing yourself to wrist injuries due to the motion of paddling feathered.

Brad
 

DarenN

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Sushiy;
i dissagree with Derek H.
when i paddled with a euro i paddled it un-feathered and never had any problems with wind resistance. i agree that there is a possibilty of repetitive motion injury useing a feathered paddle.
when you paddle with a Greenland paddle only your thumb and first finger encircle the shaft itself. your other three fingers are splayed out, draped over the root of the blade. this grip automatically indexes the angle (cant) of the blade. haveing the blades feathered would screw that up.
follow the Chuck Holtz instructions and you will have a nice paddle that i'm sure you will enjoy useing.
DarenN.......
 

Dan_Millsip

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DarenN said:
when i paddled with a euro i paddled it un-feathered and never had any problems with wind resistance.
I used to always paddle unfeathered as well but I found that when paddling into a headwind that feathering the paddle makes a huge difference.

*****
 

Astoriadave

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May 31, 2005
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Astoria, Oregon, USA
Sushi, this choice is one on which paddlers have strong opinions ... most likely based on what works for them. I've paddled both ways, and found advantages and disadvantages to each. There is more to it than wind resistance effects. The choice also affects bracing, rolling, and how cool you look in pictures. :lol:

If you experiment with each style, the fair, better way to do it is to paddle only unfeathered for a few weeks (months?), and then only feathered for a few weeks (months?), sampling different conditions. Feathered paddling seems less natural at first, but after a while, muscle memory takes over, and that feeling disappears. To give feathered paddling a fair shake, you have to get past that state.

The deal breaker for me on the choice was some serious wrist tendinitis problems. With my walnut-sized brain, I could not dispense with the "death grip" my walnut demanded for feathered paddling, so I ended up unfeathered (Plucked?), which is how I have paddled for these last fourteen-fifteen years.

YMMV!!!
 

Kasey

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Aug 20, 2005
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Kelowna, BC
Hi Sushi,
Was wandering the net re feathered paddles and came across this:

http://www.nessmuking.com/twist.htm

Thought it looked rather interesting for someone to try...especially a headless (see drysuit post) female boatbuilder!
I am just trying out feathered paddling...and on the advice of my favorite teacher-guy am noticing that if you rotate your torso well, and you are using a bent shaft - that you can virtually eliminate the wrist movement generally associated with a feathered paddle. I'm not sure at this point where I will end up settling in the feathered/unfeathered argument but found it very interesting what he has shown me...seems to me that it gets a person involving their core muscles more which is always a good thing!
Congratulations on your completed boat - it looks wonderful!
 

Andy_Ferguson

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Mar 16, 2005
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Prince George BC
I believe the "unfeathered" greenland paddle came about simply because of the tools available at the time. Grab a piece of driftwood and carve a paddle out of it and chances are pretty darn good it's going to be an "unfeathered" paddle. Greenland paddlers tend to remain true to the roots and are reluctant to try other techniques.

I know; it doesn't answer your question, but in my personal opinion, if you're going to carve a Greenland paddle, keep it true to the style. Of course, feel free to create a "sushiy" paddle - you might make a million. :lol:
 

sushiy

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Oct 3, 2006
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Lynnwood, Washington, USA
Ok, this time I will stick with unfeathered, it is easier to make, and to pay respect to the great seamen of Greenland. And next time, or later, I will make feathered one. That laminating method looks interesting, but I wonder why he had to attach the Euro blade to it :? :? It looked beautiful till I saw the final product...

The other way I was thinking was that I get 4X4 lamber and carve it to the feathered one.
 

mewisemagic

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Aug 7, 2006
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Maple Ridge
I like that Qoorutit, do you think that would work for my AT17? My bungees on the stern deck are placed across the boat deck.

It looks like all I would have to do is add a couple of dowels. Thoughts?

cyrus
 

DarenN

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Surrey
mewisemagic said:
It looks like all I would have to do is add a couple of dowels. Thoughts?

cyrus
the system doesn't work as well with bungie cord. works best with a line that does not stretch. leave your bungies as is but add a line, with the sliders, through the same anchor points. also works best on a flat deck with low freeboard.

DarenN.........
 

Mark_Schilling

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"Home by the Sea" - Nanaimo, BC
DarenN said:
when i paddled with a euro i paddled it un-feathered and never had any problems with wind resistance.
To each, his own, I suppose. The first time I encountered strong winds while paddling I had the paddle just about ripped from my hands while paddling unfeathered. I've since paddled feathered regardless of conditions, and would have a hard time going back. I've never had any wrist problems; I think part of learning to paddle feathered is to have a relaxed grip on the paddle shaft and to allow the shaft to rotate freely between the grip of your non-dominant hand. Most good euro paddles will allow you to adjust the degree of feathering, so you don't get stuck with a 75 degree feather angle - perhaps you can get away with a 45 degree or less feather angle.
 

hairymick

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Nov 14, 2006
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Queensland, Australia
I have used feathered paddles for years and couldn't imagine going back to unfeathered.

They really shine when punching into a strong headwind and the longer you have to paddle into it, the more they shine. I have a couple of unfeathered ones in the shed that came with second-hand yaks. I would give them away if I could find someone who wanted them.

No experienced paddlers that I know of down here use unfeathered blades.
 

nermal

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Feb 28, 2007
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Midwest
While I'll agree that a feathered blade has some benefit in battling wind, that is not why I tell everyone except Greenland paddlers to paddle a feathered blade. Kasey is 100% correct, if you are using proper paddling technique and paddling from your core with good torso rotation, a feathered paddle results in NOT having to twist one's wrists. Using an unfeathered blade will require correction from the wrists. It also depends on the angle of your paddle stroke. Look at Werner's entry level paddles. They offer unfeathered or Left/Right 45 degrees. Entry level (read beginner) usuall have a low angle stroke with little torso rotation. A slightly feather blade will help them deal with wind. Many of the premium paddles use 60 degrees or offer minute adjustment with infinite feathering possibilities. I find that with my high angle power stroke that a 65 degree feather is perfect. GP paddles are unfeathered because of the low angle stroke generally used. Also, the narrow width of the blade is easier to rotate once it is in the water. If a Euro blade does not enter the water correctly, it is very difficult to adjust the pitch during a stroke while still applying power and not breaking one's cadence.
 
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