Author Topic: Paddle Blade size  (Read 5810 times)


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Paddle Blade size
« on: August 14, 2007, 07:55:29 PM »
    Want to know everyone's thoughts on paddle blade sizes. Pros and Cons of the variety sizes between 8.5 , 9 , 9.5  BLADE widths of Pohaku paddles, the Jimmy Lewis wooden paddle at a scant 10 inch wide blade,      ( that i use now) and the quickblade paddles and/or others that are used for SUP .     
     I've heard that wood shafts have a little more flex  than fiberglass/carbon fiber shafts which causes less strain on your back, shoulders and core area. Is this true?  Do some of you use different paddles for different conditions, ie.. wave riding,  flat water cruising or distance paddling.  Last but not least the 2 peics shaft.     What opinions, observations and confirmed practices you all have experienced.    Lets have it , no holds barred....  Thanks   
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Re: Paddle Blade size
« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2007, 02:44:05 AM »
I have a wooden paddle, and I like it. But it does make some "cracking" sounds when I dig hard into the water. I have tried my friends carbon fiber paddle, and it was nice, but I only used it once, so I don't have a realy good comprison on the 2. I want to get a new paddle, carbon, but I am sooooo unsure wich one to get. Good question, I would like to see a lot of replies on this.


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Re: Paddle Blade size
« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2007, 04:50:14 AM »
This is a very broad question, but I am going to take a crack at it.

First off, rider height and board width make a big difference. 

Why?  I am finding that the most powerful forward strokes are coming from reaching forward, arms extended in front of you, planting the blade, and pushing straight out over the stringer with your upper hand, while using the lower hand almost entirely as a pivot point for this first phase of the stroke. 

Now, if you agree with that part, then consider this dynamic (and for clarity's sake lets assume the same board width for now).  A taller person with a longer paddle will have a more vertical shaft angle than a smaller person with a shorter paddle.  It feels much easier to get power from your stroke with one hand alligned relatively over the other rather than offset as the paddle seems to track better.  So in this instance a smaller paddler might want a narrower blade to compensate. narrower board widths are coming available this will change.  In production models 27.5 just showed up, and that is the widest board I have right now, and I am 6'2 and somewhat broad.  So where does that leave smaller guys and women?  Right now they are having to make paddle choices based on board availablity.  So this all may change as workable gear hits the market.

I had switched to an 8.5 wide paddle when my boards were still 28.5 wide, but now with boards in the 26.75 to 27.5 wide range, I have a 9 and a 9.5, and prefer the extra pull I get with those (favoring the 9 just a bit).  It has a bit more meat higher up so it pulls a lot of water as well. 

Also, I had been somewhat convinced that those occasional whacks on the rails were just unavoidable, but they are not.  This also is a function of board width, and when the correct board / paddle combo comes together, that attrocious whack becomes a bad memory.

Not to sound like a broken record in praising Blane's 9'2, but that was really the board that opened my eyes to all of this.  Before that, I thought I could not paddle less than a 28 inch wide board, or under a 9'6.  Nothing like running a few hundred "proto" boards under some great riders to figure out what works.

« Last Edit: August 15, 2007, 05:01:46 AM by Rand »

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Re: Paddle Blade size
« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2007, 06:16:13 AM »

What I like and don't like.

I like a taller blade. I think taller made the paddle less sensitive to how deep you engage it during a stroke. I felt a bit more like a kook trying to master a shorter height blade. But I am a kook, so maybe its just me.  ;D

I like shaft flex. It makes the paddle feel like it has rebound spring power. Kinda cool. I guess that is a personal taste, but its mine.  ;D

A birdy told me Quickblade has a new taller blade model coming soon. Right now, the Surftech is the tallest blade I know of.


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Re: Paddle Blade size
« Reply #4 on: August 22, 2007, 08:52:51 PM »
I'm really interested in this thread. I've just started building paddles but I'm hooked. I want to start experimenting with wooden blade shapes and sizes. I've got a slightly unusual blade on the second paddle I made. I hope it doesn't suck.

Should be interesting to see how blade design evolves over the next few years Anybody have thoughts on the ottertails? Or other blade configurations?

I'm probably going to start building custom paddles and I'll be looking for feedback on design. So I'll be bugging you all for input.
« Last Edit: August 22, 2007, 08:54:30 PM by stoneaxe »

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