Author Topic: Funny thing with paddle length...  (Read 3465 times)

LoudounSUP

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Re: Funny thing with paddle length...
« Reply #30 on: July 14, 2020, 05:47:25 PM »
I have an adjustable length SIC Tao. I'm thinking about ordering a fixed length paddle so out of curiosity, I measured the true length of my adjustable paddle which is currently set at "200 cm"...and it measured 198 cm. Is there some voodoo science behind measuring paddle length or is the SIC adjustable scale not meant to be taken literally (more of just a loose guideline)?
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LoudounSUP

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Re: Funny thing with paddle length...
« Reply #31 on: July 15, 2020, 10:43:51 AM »
Today, I added 8cm to my paddle length. I believe I wasn't burying my paddle deep enough and my releases were loud and splashy. Now, with the blade deeper during the drive phase I'm noticing that my releases are much cleaner. The killer is the added paddle length during the catch (shoulders hate me) - there's really no way around that.
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2019 SIC RS Air Glide 14x28

Night Wing

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Re: Funny thing with paddle length...
« Reply #32 on: July 15, 2020, 12:03:58 PM »
Today, I added 8cm to my paddle length. I believe I wasn't burying my paddle deep enough and my releases were loud and splashy. Now, with the blade deeper during the drive phase I'm noticing that my releases are much cleaner. The killer is the added paddle length during the catch (shoulders hate me) - there's really no way around that.

My orthopedic surgeon repaired my left shoulder in 2002 and my right shoulder (rotator cuff tear and bone spur) in 2017. After my right shoulder was repaired, he told me to "ditch my 85 blade size and go with a 75 blade size and both of my shoulders would thank me for it". And he was right.

You might want to consider reducing your paddle blade size.
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Luc Benac

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Re: Funny thing with paddle length...
« Reply #33 on: July 15, 2020, 12:20:23 PM »
80 sqi for me is now a huge paddle. Most of the time using 77 sqi or 71 sqi.
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JBMaine

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Re: Funny thing with paddle length...
« Reply #34 on: July 16, 2020, 05:12:14 AM »
I second the reduction of blade size. This year I went from 90 square inches to 79. This resulted in a change of constant shoulder pain to none.

Badger

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Re: Funny thing with paddle length...
« Reply #35 on: July 16, 2020, 06:09:43 AM »
When I started back in 2013, 95 square inches was considered small. Few if any companies were making smaller blades at the time.

Now I can't imagine using anything over 80.
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LoudounSUP

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Re: Funny thing with paddle length...
« Reply #36 on: July 18, 2020, 05:13:55 PM »
I've come full circle with my paddle length. My "suggested" length is 82-83" per QuickBlade's table. I've been all over the map in length and while 78-79 feels better on my shoulders, I wasn't getting any positive blade angle and I noticed my blade depth during the drive was shallow, creating splashy releases. My low back appreciates the added length but one unexpected benefit has been with leg fatigue...my legs feels stronger with the longer shaft. Perhaps its because I'm transferring more body weight onto the longer paddle?

About the shoulder pain with a longer paddle...there's no getting around the extra shoulder height required at the catch; however, I've noticed that I'll get some relief if I keep the handle low as I'm recovering for the next stroke. In my mind, I keep repeating "low carry, bury"...as in carry the paddle low during the recovery and make sure to bury the blade during the catch...seems to help.
SUP in Nordic Virginia
2019 SIC RS Air Glide 14x28

Badger

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Re: Funny thing with paddle length...
« Reply #37 on: July 18, 2020, 07:51:10 PM »
I'm six feet tall and my surf paddle length has been at 73 inches for about four years now. Lately, I've been feeling like an inch longer might be more comfortable. It might be because I'm getting older and don't paddle as aggressively as I used to.
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OkiWild

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Re: Funny thing with paddle length...
« Reply #38 on: July 19, 2020, 02:40:57 AM »
Largest factor in joint problems in sea kayaking is blade size being too big. With SUP, I was having shoulder and wrist problems, but I was using an 88" blade. Without changing anything else, I went down to an 82" blade (same shape), and problems pretty much went away. All of my surf paddles now have a 78" blade, and I can't recall the last time I had a shoulder or wrist strain.

5'10" and I use a 75"-76" long paddle. Most of the breaks I surf are a 1km+ paddle to get to. Watching the surfers with their eye-height paddles make that trek doesn't look like much fun :-(   

Area 10

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Re: Funny thing with paddle length...
« Reply #39 on: July 19, 2020, 07:45:47 AM »
Yeah I agree - as your stroke technique improves you can reduce the size of your blade.

I think the more experienced paddlers in the community are ahead of the brands here. Many brands are only making small blades with weak shafts, expecting that sub-80 blades will only be used by light women and kids. But this is not the case. I have about 25 paddles for SUP but use the 71 vdrive most often. I'd buy a 61 if they made one but they don't.. The 71 never slips for me. Recently I got a 80 SIC Maliko. Quite a decsnt paddle for surf or downwind, but it would be much better as 72-75 sq inches. Please brands: see the writing on the wall and start making smaller blade sizes in combination with slim but strong shafts. (Another bugbear of mine is shafts that have too big a diameter: paddles like the RRD Race Pro show the huge advantage for blade control of narrower shafts.)

LoudounSUP

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Re: Funny thing with paddle length...
« Reply #40 on: August 05, 2020, 03:35:18 AM »
Thinking more about my paddle length and its relationship with paddling straight. Perhaps one of my issues/barriers is my parallel stance? I've played around with a staggered stance and cannot find a comfortable position. However, after watching a tutorial from Connor Baxter, perhaps I should press the issue? In the video below starting at the 4:00 minute mark, Connor discusses how a staggered stance promotes straight paddling. Is this something I should pursue at all costs early in my SUP development?

Video (skip to 4:00): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f3uPH0Hr0wQ
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PonoBill

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Re: Funny thing with paddle length...
« Reply #41 on: August 05, 2020, 08:20:45 AM »
I've had many surgeries on my shoulders, ranging back to my early twenties when I encountered a ditch someone had cut across a dirt oval while I was riding a friend's Norton Atlas. Later, playing rollerblade hockey added more injuries and surgeries.

When I was involved with KeNalu paddles I got very interested in shaft flex for obvious reasons. The original xTuf shaft was good for my touchy shoulders, especially at the catch. But I was also interested in getting as good a stroke as I could, and I didn't feel the xTuf was helpful. When we came out with the xTuf(S) shaft it was a huge breakthrough for me. A shaft that cushioned the catch and then locked up for the stroke. At the time the Wiki was the smallest blade we made (84) and with the Elite (full carbon) shaft and a mediocre catch, it felt much too small for me. The xTuf(s) didn't just cushion the catch, it also added a tiny hesitation at the catch that helped the blade settle and plant. With a steadily improving stroke and the hesitation of the shaft, the wiki was plenty big. I could be wrong, but I think that shaft is still the only one with those particular characteristics. Other manufacturers offer varying flex levels but combining biased unidirectional carbon fiber with a fiberglass core to provide initial flex with ultimate stiffness is something I haven't seen elsewhere.

I still switch to xTuf(S) when my shoulders ache. I'm halfway convinced it not only eliminates the shock of a catch but actually is therapeutic. I offered that opinion to my shoulder doc, and he looked at me like I was nuts. It's a cynical world.

If you want a good stroke you need to bury the paddle at least to the ferrule and push down as you stroke. Whatever length shaft it takes to do that is what you need. Your stance, of course, will affect that length. Connor in a staggered stance is considerably lower than he would be in a paralell stance.

There is no one single element that creates a great stroke, you need every element, and that's a lot of moving parts. Over the years I've watched every elite paddler change their stroke almost yearly as they refine what works. I've taken paddling lessons from Dave Kalama on three widely separated occasions, and he's emphasized different elements each time. Same with Johnny Puakea. If Dave and Johnny are still learning and refining then I think we can safely assume this isn't a simple thing.
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LoudounSUP

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Re: Funny thing with paddle length...
« Reply #42 on: August 05, 2020, 06:21:41 PM »
Thanks Bill for all your thoughts on the topic. During this journey, I noticed my blade was washing out at the end of my stroke - clearly a sign that I wasn't burying my blade deep enough. I am progressing but need to figure out this whole stance/paddle length thing so I can paddle straight. Its frustrating to need to switch - I'd rather switch only when I want to.
SUP in Nordic Virginia
2019 SIC RS Air Glide 14x28

PonoBill

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Re: Funny thing with paddle length...
« Reply #43 on: August 05, 2020, 07:30:43 PM »
If you bury the blade and stack your shoulders so the shaft is as vertical as possible you will minimize turning as you stroke. Reaching well, burying the blade and pushing down as you pull allows the blade to be under the edge of the board. It also delivers the highest amount of thrust--if your blade is off to the side then some of the thrust is wasted pushing against the side of the board, and turning it. The ideal stroke would be down the center of the board--not feasible, but that would deliver all the force to just pushing you forward. Any distance from the centerline creates a vector angle that decreases the power sending you forward and increases turning.

The stance is a small part of a good stroke. You'd learn a lot about paddling from outrigger canoe paddling--especially OC6--where you are seated all the time. No, you can't stroke very hard with your feet parallel, you need to brace a bit.

I don't know what you mean by washing out at the end of your stroke. Pulling your blade past your feet is generally ineffective. My preference is to shorten the time while my blade is in the air as much as possible, so I don't let the paddle drift back when the power of the stroke ends just before my feet. I pull the blade out like pulling a sword from a scabbard, feather it to decrease wind resistance and snap it forward for the next stroke. I try to push the blade into the water at the end of my reach like sticking an envelope into a mail slot--sliding it in as smoothly as I can to reduce the amount of air that stays on the blade, hesitate for a barely discernable moment, then press down as hard as I pull.

Larry Cain has some excellent videos on drills to practice these moves. It's almost impossible to learn good paddling without drills. Repeating flaws in your stroke as part of just paddling will only make you good at doing it wrong.

Understand that I am not particularly fast now, I'm 73, the inevitable loss of muscle and geezer balance doesn't lend itself to optimal speed. But I learned paddling from some of the best people early on, and because of that head start I won my age group in a lot of races even though I was heavier and not nearly as well-conditioned as many of the people I competed with. My advice could well be out of date, but I don't really think so.
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.

 


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