Author Topic: Funny thing with paddle length...  (Read 2805 times)

Luc Benac

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Funny thing with paddle length...
« on: May 20, 2020, 09:44:04 AM »
I have been of course shortening my paddle length over time like everybody else. I was at a reasonable length of 76" to my 72" height for some time.
Three weeks ago, as a result of discussing with Norman John Hann (kind of my mentor for everything SUP) about his own move in paddle length and the feedback in terms of stroke dynamics on balance board training during the week, I took the unreasonable step of lowering further my main paddle, the Salish 500, to 74.5". I was expecting some cringing in the lower back with a "I told you so" message from my erector spinae.
Low and behold, the first week-end of use resulted in less lower back strain than ever and a better start of my week seating at a desk. No strain in the shoulders either, but that you would expect.
Fluke, pure fluke......must be.....but I also cut the Viento 520 to 75" to have  a broader test over two blades.
Now this long week-end, after three good paddle sessions, it is the same......
Whoa....something is wrong, it seems like there is a "magic" paddle range where the lower back - and - the shoulders are taking less beating than otherwise. And 2.5"~3" over my head is quite outside where common wisdom would have put it until now.
Now crossing fingers that it does not all go away one day soon

disclaimer:
my back is not like everybody with a heavy thoracic Scoliosis so that could also influence the results in weird ways
I am using the shorter length on my low volume boards (Javelin and Maliko) but keep a little bit longer shafts for my bigger winter board
Naish Maliko 14' x 26" 273L
Sunova Allround 14'x27" 319L
Naish Nalu 11'4" x 30" 180L
 *Salish 460 & 500, Andaman 500, Viento 520

Dusk Patrol

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Re: Funny thing with paddle length...
« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2020, 12:44:51 PM »
Interesting!  Iíll do some experimenting (but with an adjustable paddle).
Bullet V2; RS 14x26; JL Destroyer 9'8; BluePlanet 9'4

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Re: Funny thing with paddle length...
« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2020, 02:10:08 PM »
Now crossing fingers that it does not all go away one day soon

What are you going to do if it does?

For my 68" I'm constantly ranging between 74-77 for flat water 73-75 for surf/DW regardless of boards though 6 different blades.

Funny? Maybe. Strange for sure :)
in progress...

TallDude

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Re: Funny thing with paddle length...
« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2020, 02:29:47 PM »
For my distance on my unlimiteds I like 10" over. I like more reach as I'm going a lot faster. On my 14' I'll go down to 6" over. Surfing.. I'm 4" over. I dropped to head high or maybe 1" over for surfing, and that just about did my back in. I was a wreck for about a week.
It's not overhead to me!
8'8" L-41 ST and a whole pile of boards I don't use.

Luc Benac

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Re: Funny thing with paddle length...
« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2020, 03:07:45 PM »
Double post...
« Last Edit: May 20, 2020, 03:10:18 PM by Luc Benac »
Naish Maliko 14' x 26" 273L
Sunova Allround 14'x27" 319L
Naish Nalu 11'4" x 30" 180L
 *Salish 460 & 500, Andaman 500, Viento 520

Luc Benac

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Re: Funny thing with paddle length...
« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2020, 03:08:41 PM »
What are you going to do if it does?

Hot glue a longer shaft :-)

OR

Tell my physio and she will make me work more  :P
Naish Maliko 14' x 26" 273L
Sunova Allround 14'x27" 319L
Naish Nalu 11'4" x 30" 180L
 *Salish 460 & 500, Andaman 500, Viento 520

Luc Benac

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Re: Funny thing with paddle length...
« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2020, 03:11:47 PM »
that just about did my back in. I was a wreck for about a week.

That is what I was expecting hence my surprise and delight that post week-end aches were really reduced both for shoulders AND back.
Naish Maliko 14' x 26" 273L
Sunova Allround 14'x27" 319L
Naish Nalu 11'4" x 30" 180L
 *Salish 460 & 500, Andaman 500, Viento 520

Luc Benac

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Re: Funny thing with paddle length...
« Reply #7 on: May 20, 2020, 03:13:56 PM »
I also did not notice a marked slow-down or at all with having a shorter reach due to a shorter paddle. If anything it improves the catch and the start of the pull.
That said it is not an absolute unless you can check in a protected pool, back to back :-)
Naish Maliko 14' x 26" 273L
Sunova Allround 14'x27" 319L
Naish Nalu 11'4" x 30" 180L
 *Salish 460 & 500, Andaman 500, Viento 520

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Re: Funny thing with paddle length...
« Reply #8 on: May 20, 2020, 03:27:14 PM »
What are you going to do if it does?

Hot glue a longer shaft :-)


That's sounds better. So you didn't physically cut the paddle, just cut the length?
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Luc Benac

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Re: Funny thing with paddle length...
« Reply #9 on: May 20, 2020, 04:08:12 PM »
What are you going to do if it does?

Hot glue a longer shaft :-)


That's sounds better. So you didn't physically cut the paddle, just cut the length?

I have several shafts of different lengths that I can swap to make my paddles of various length overall.
If suddenly 74.5" becomes intolerable instead of being beneficial like for now, I can bring the paddle back to 75.5" or other length.
Naish Maliko 14' x 26" 273L
Sunova Allround 14'x27" 319L
Naish Nalu 11'4" x 30" 180L
 *Salish 460 & 500, Andaman 500, Viento 520

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Re: Funny thing with paddle length...
« Reply #10 on: May 20, 2020, 05:22:13 PM »
You are possibly giving up some flex on the shorter shafts, any accounting for that? Any style adjustment to compensate?
in progress...

Luc Benac

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Re: Funny thing with paddle length...
« Reply #11 on: May 20, 2020, 05:38:40 PM »
You are possibly giving up some flex on the shorter shafts, any accounting for that? Any style adjustment to compensate?

I am using the new Blackfish Paddles shaft which are really soft. The only alternative I have found to Kenalu Xtuff.
I did not notice any problem going from 75.5 to 74.5 and I am peculiar with shaft softness...
As a beginner, my style is in constant flux so... :-)
Naish Maliko 14' x 26" 273L
Sunova Allround 14'x27" 319L
Naish Nalu 11'4" x 30" 180L
 *Salish 460 & 500, Andaman 500, Viento 520

jondrums

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Re: Funny thing with paddle length...
« Reply #12 on: May 20, 2020, 06:08:41 PM »
I hate the idea of height+X" as a formula.   You're talking about plus or minus an inch or two, and I would say the formula shouldn't be viewed as accurate enough to resolve that kind of difference. 

Shouldn't we take into account deck height above waterline?  The difference you are seeing versus other people could be entirely due to this.  On my foil board with a scooped deck, my feet are nominally under waterline.  On my bigger surfing board I'm probably 1.5 inches above water.  I use the same paddle for both, but I can tell the difference

PonoBill

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Re: Funny thing with paddle length...
« Reply #13 on: May 20, 2020, 07:30:02 PM »
I played around with this some time ago, did a lengthy experiment with different length shafts over a short measured distance. I shot video of each paddler with a floating piece of PVC next to them with one foot increments marked. The original idea was to show that an ideal length delivered the best speed and distance per stroke. It didn't.

Then I tried timed runs over longer distance ( a mile) using different lengths on different days (trying to eliminate preference and test order biases). I spent two weeks that I'm not going to get back collecting data. Rubbish.

What I basically determined is that different is better. Take an inch off, add an inch, either might feel better. Six months later do the opposite and it will feel better.

I also tried setting people up very carefully with a paddle length suited to their stroke and the thickness of the board they were using. Shot video of their stroke and measured how much shaft they'd need to bury the blade to the ferrule at their full reach on their board. Everyone I tried it with felt the paddle was too long.
Foote 10'4X34", SIC 17.5 V1 hollow and an EPS one in Hood River. Foote 9'0" x 31", L41 8'8", 18' Speedboard, etc. etc.

Luc Benac

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Re: Funny thing with paddle length...
« Reply #14 on: May 20, 2020, 07:53:21 PM »
What I basically determined is that different is better. Take an inch off, add an inch, either might feel better. Six months later do the opposite and it will feel better.

I am expecting a little bit of that so I have a couple of longer shafts handy to go back one inch if the body calls for it.

I also tried setting people up very carefully with a paddle length suited to their stroke and the thickness of the board they were using. Shot video of their stroke and measured how much shaft they'd need to bury the blade to the ferrule at their full reach on their board. Everyone I tried it with felt the paddle was too long.

Yes this is reading your posts that I had started keeping track of the shaft lenght instead of the paddle lenght - specially at the time of the Konihi.
Naish Maliko 14' x 26" 273L
Sunova Allround 14'x27" 319L
Naish Nalu 11'4" x 30" 180L
 *Salish 460 & 500, Andaman 500, Viento 520

 


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