Author Topic: Blade Shapes and "Feel".......Why?  (Read 1007 times)

Kwolfe

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Blade Shapes and "Feel".......Why?
« on: June 16, 2020, 05:27:33 AM »
I had been paddling with a Kenalu Maliko for over a year and recently picked up a Trifecta to give a high aspect blade a try as they are said to have a softer catch which would be good for me as I paddle distance flat water.

When first using the Trifecta, I found that I was getting gurgling at every catch.  Now the shaft is a few inches shorter than my Maliko which was not helping the issue, however to add to the issue, I had to bury a longer blade to really plant it.

This leads me to the following question.  Does the blade shape really make a big difference is the entire thing is supposed to be buried at the catch?  I know the surface of the blade makes a difference in feel (dihedrals etc), but 95 sq inches buried under the water should give the same resistance regardless correct?  I know I'm wrong, I just can't noodle through why.  For example, take two totally flat blades (a la Kialoa), one is a tear drop and the other is a square high aspect.  Both are 95 square inches.  Bury them both to the ferule and pull.  Difference?

burchas

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Re: Blade Shapes and "Feel".......Why?
« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2020, 06:43:13 AM »
Blade shape makes huge difference but you're jumping ahead. QuickBlade suggests you should be at least 205 (which mean 6'2+ for average male) for the Trifecta 96.
If that's not you, that would explain the gurgling from the blade. That and the fact the Trifecta is a very technical blade that requires very clean technique.
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Kwolfe

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Re: Blade Shapes and "Feel".......Why?
« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2020, 07:04:38 AM »
I'm 6ft and it's cut at 79".  Not sure why the height would make the difference.  I figured from a blade perspective, i need to pause a half second and ensure that the blade id fully submerged before I really start to pull.  Then it won't gurgle.  But it means that by the time I'm really pulling, I have all 96 sq inches in the water.

burchas

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Re: Blade Shapes and "Feel".......Why?
« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2020, 07:54:57 AM »
I'm 6ft and it's cut at 79".  Not sure why the height would make the difference.  I figured from a blade perspective, i need to pause a half second and ensure that the blade id fully submerged before I really start to pull.  Then it won't gurgle.  But it means that by the time I'm really pulling, I have all 96 sq inches in the water.

Standard guidlines usually reference weight for the average male base on height so if you're a 205lbs @ 6' it better means you have those extra 25lbs as muscles on your upper body if you
want to operate a Trifecta 96 as intended, otherwise you're fighting an oversized blade.

As for the stroke, you are correct about being fully planted, you also have to make sure there is no flutter when you bury the blade. Another indication to an oversized blade is flutter during every stroke. That's your body trying to lighten the load.

The specific length of your paddle doesn't mean much to anyone who doesn't know your physique. You could be a 6' all legs with short arms or a short legged huge torso with orangutang arms ;)
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PonoBill

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Re: Blade Shapes and "Feel".......Why?
« Reply #4 on: June 16, 2020, 09:53:03 AM »
To get the maximum catch from almost any blade you push the blade in with a little remaining forward sweep, like you were pushing a letter into a mail slot. Hesitate for a millisecond or two then continue pushing down as you start to pull, stop pulling at about your toes and pull the blade out like drawing a sword rather than sweeping back.

Pushing the blade into the water with a forward movement scrapes the air off the blade. If you start pulling before the blade is fully submerged you're not only trapping air on the blade face and back, but you're also feeding air down the face--hence gurgles, wobbles, and a shitty catch because the water on the face can zip around the back and fill in the void caused by the bubbles.

Blades like the Trifecta and the KeNalu Konihi are designed to take advantage of a good stroke to offer the best catch for a given blade size. But both blades are fairly horrible if you don't bury the blade and get the air off before you stroke. The Konihi sounds like a toilet flushing if you screw the stroke up. The design elements of both blades are very different but they do the same thing--they control the flow of water across the back of the blade. The Konihi does it with wings, the Trifecta with channels. Same idea--keep the water on the face from rushing around the blade to the backside causing slip. An intrinsic compromise of that design is that if you don't get the air off the blade face with a good plant and catch then the flow control feature traps air and the stroke blows up. 

Your Maliko is a forgiving blade--fairly neutral for any stroke, the Mana is similarly forgiving, it's got much smaller wings than the Konihi which places it's flow control somewhere between the Maliko and the Konihi--correcting blade angle placement error, but it still requires a decent catch and downward pressure or it loses power.

I suggest you work on your catch some, put some visible tape on the ferrule so you can see when you have it buried. I've only tried a Trifecta once, but my recollection is that it rewarded a good stroke with a solid catch and no wobble.

Burchas is right though, about blade size. That's pretty big. I do better with blades 90cm2 or smaller. Again though, the blade size you like has a lot to do with paddling style and cadence. The most extreme case I know of is Devin Blish, who can kick ass on the majority of male downwind paddlers and I doubt she weighs more than 130#. Her favorite blade is the Molokai which is a 105 that catches more like it was 120. I can't use that blade for anything but canoe paddling and I weigh 220# and have been paddling forever. Of course I am a geezer--old, slow and in the way--but I've never been able to get comfortable with the Molokai and Devin uses one to do M2M.

« Last Edit: June 16, 2020, 10:11:43 AM by PonoBill »
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.

Kwolfe

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Re: Blade Shapes and "Feel".......Why?
« Reply #5 on: June 16, 2020, 11:00:22 AM »
I totally agree that I need work on the catch.  I can get it clean but it definitely requires more attention.  Keep in mind I paddle the SUP purely to put some variation in my "on water" workouts.  I love paddling OC1s and surfskis.  Funny but it's way easier to sink an OC1 blade cleanly because you don't have to worry as much about you lower body position.

I'm 6ft, 200lb, 35 inch waste and work out regularly.  I have a Trance 85 that I really to try since I don't have any other smaller blade paddles.  I'm definitely not a high cadence paddler.  My lower back is still getting used to bending over a zillion times in a row despite trying to engage my ham strings.

 

PonoBill

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Re: Blade Shapes and "Feel".......Why?
« Reply #6 on: June 16, 2020, 06:18:06 PM »
Its easier to sink an OC1 paddle because your lower hand is just above the ferrule. a SUP paddle has about three feet of shaft between your hand and the ferrule--it's out waving around a long way from your head--the amount of blade control you have is significantly compromised. That said, getting a good catch on an OC paddle is just as hard as with a SUP paddle.
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.

burchas

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Re: Blade Shapes and "Feel".......Why?
« Reply #7 on: June 16, 2020, 09:41:38 PM »
The Trance 85 is a solid paddle. Definitely a better size to use while you are working the kinks out of your stroke imo.  Less opportunity to develop stress injuries on account of bad form.

I went down quite a few sizes when working on good form. At this size I could actually feel how the paddle slipping through the water which makes it more effective identifying a better catch.

Now that you have a good responsive board in the Whiplash, you should be able to get immediate feedback on the gps as you progress and with the 26 width it would be easier to maintain a vertical shaft when you put down the hammer.
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tarquin

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Re: Blade Shapes and "Feel".......Why?
« Reply #8 on: June 17, 2020, 01:19:22 PM »
Lots of good info here and on other posts and forums at the moment about paddles. Length,blade size,cadence etc. Big help for us normal people to get this feedback before paying big bucks for a paddle. I still use an adjustable paddle as I like being able to change length for conditions and boards. On a 10 k paddle I might change the length 3 times depending on conditions. It only takes a second.I feel the blade I have is too large in general. On those flat days when you get the pace up it's good. But that rarely happens. At 627 grams it might be time to change. It looks like the gong 7" race paddle is a no brainer for me in France.
 I did a bit of kayak and canoe racing at school. It was all about inserting the blade cleanly. Like swimming. Drive it in,pause,then pull. This creates the best laminar flow over the back of the paddle. As has been mentioned.
 We were taught the J stroke in canoeing so you didn't have to change sides as often. Does anybody use this technique. A slight twist and drag on exit to steer you straight. I find it helps at normal speed but dont have the skill to make it work at faster cadence.
 As the entry is so important is there a difference in the thickness and shape of the tip of the blade.
 

deepmud

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Re: Blade Shapes and "Feel".......Why?
« Reply #9 on: June 17, 2020, 04:00:13 PM »
This made me inspired to dig out my larger blades. I got the Ho'oloa 72 on the Zone,used, and it became my goto blade after I discovered I really needed to get stroke rate high to push hard and fight a wind. I needed a smaller blade. I don't exactly understand the "gear down" with smaller blades thing - and I'm made of slow muscle fiber and extra weight - why does that work? I'm a low cadence/high load type - but it worked. My stroke has gotten a lot better since I made the jump. I had a Molokai(?) 105 - purchased with my first handle/blade as a factory second - good deal, and figured a big slow guy (290) would do well with it. I did really like it - but as soon as I had a smaller blade to work with I was much happier. This is 100% flatwater/slow iSup (12'6" Blue Planet or 12'6" Smooth Glide fiberglass).

This year my stroke was much better - lost some weight, got better at planting the blade - my average speeds keep climbing the more I learn. The Smooth Glide is running up over 5 mph with a 4.6/4.8 average over an hour workout. I'm having so much fun on the Starboard Airline I can't stop running at 5.3 or more.

I got a travel paddle a couple years back - the KeNalu version of course :D - and I got a Konihi 95 with it. I've not used it a lot since. I'm going to move the Konihi to the one-piece shaft and see how I do with my new higher speed Starboard. Less Tugboat more Cabin Cruiser? :D. Then maybe the Maliko 105to just compare, tho - I haven't used it in years now. I do love the options of the KeNalu system. My friend Andrew has a Werner in carbon fiber - it's super duper light - but feels fragile to use. My KeNalu is robust, and I and not "all in" if  break a blade.

RE: J-stroke - if feels "wrong" on a paddle board with a fin, at least to me. I've used it when going very quietly and slowly, but at speed I'm pulling the nose over with a long reach off to the side - a "reverse J"?at a fast cruise (as a tugboat :D over 4mph but below 4.6. Hmm. Euro is 6.5 to 7.5 kph)

PonoBill

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Re: Blade Shapes and "Feel".......Why?
« Reply #10 on: June 17, 2020, 04:46:02 PM »
You're right Deep--a J stroke won't do much with a fin or a keel. Fine for canoes--not ruddered OC's though, and not all that great even with a Va'a rudderless OC1. If you want to extend the number of strokes per side you can draw the nose by planting your paddle away from the nose and pulling it at a slight angle toward the board, but it's not easy on your shoulders and it more or less blows up your stroke. the easiest and best way to improve stoke count per side is to set your blade better and get your shaft as vertical as you can by stacking your shoulders. If your blade is buried and your shaft is vertical then half the blade is under the board and the force that turns you away from your stroke side is minimized. That also means your acceleration from each stroke is maximized.

If you let the blade come out away from the board then each stroke looses some force torquing the board away from the stroke. Work on the mechanics of your stroke. Watch the videos from the experts and work on your stroke. My stroke is less disciplined than it once was, but I can paddle for miles on one side without thinking about it. I switch to save my shoulders, not to steer.
« Last Edit: June 17, 2020, 05:13:35 PM by PonoBill »
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.

deepmud

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Re: Blade Shapes and "Feel".......Why?
« Reply #11 on: June 17, 2020, 05:20:01 PM »
but I can paddle for miles on one side without thinking about it. I switch to save my shoulders, not to steer.

Paddling Nirvana :D I'm getting there. Narrow board helps - my Starboard is a blast (did I say I like my new Airline enough yet? :D )  - and Narrow is relative - not 31" but not 26" and unstable lol. I'm not making much "reverse J" stuff as a rule - just practicing reach, watching water curl off the bow as a very satisfying speedometer, pushing resperiration up to limit and trying maximise breath and speed , working on planting the blade, falling on it, until I can't lift my 275 pounds up again for the next stroke and I switch to more verticle, high torque (on my core) stroke. I find that nearly as fast if I do it right, but much easier to maintain for those miles and miles

Just got out the heat gun - after all last season and 180 hours this year - going back to the Konihi 95. I'll update how I do. I do know if I set it right, it feels like I put the blade in wet cement - it just LOCKS. I should look at the flexier shaft. The one I have is Xtuff. I really like the focus on recovery, and plant of the blade. Hours and hours reaching for Nirvana.

Kwolfe

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Re: Blade Shapes and "Feel".......Why?
« Reply #12 on: June 18, 2020, 05:45:16 AM »
The smaller Trance blade size was easier on the muscles however still not sure if I'm sold on the high aspect blades.  Bill, I'm going to have to give the "mail slot" thing a chance but I figure if either blade needs to be fully submerged before it's pulled, how does the high aspect make for a softer catch?

I'm not trying to argue at all, I love the physics behind it and just want to learn more.

Deepmud,
I have been working on strokes per side after watching some Larry Cain videos on Paddle Monster.  I concentrate on really stacking my shoulders.  My catch is aimed a little away from the board to give a brief pull inward before I pull straight back.  Also, try leaning on the opposite rail a bit.  The displacement hull will actually help steer the board a bit.  For example, paddling on the right hand side makes the board want to go left.  Lean on the left rail and the shape of the bow will want to push the board right.  I can get 30 strokes on one side.  Maybe more if I really concentrate.

PonoBill

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Re: Blade Shapes and "Feel".......Why?
« Reply #13 on: June 18, 2020, 07:54:02 AM »
Just got out the heat gun - after all last season and 180 hours this year - going back to the Konihi 95. I'll update how I do. I do know if I set it right, it feels like I put the blade in wet cement - it just LOCKS. I should look at the flexier shaft. The one I have is Xtuff. I really like the focus on recovery, and plant of the blade. Hours and hours reaching for Nirvana.

I've never paddled a blade that catches as well as the Konihi, but it's unforgiving. Any mistake in setting the blade and it feels like half the catch went away. It's also a little tough on my shoulders and doesn't play well with the standard xTuf shaft--too flexy. It works well with the xTuf(S) shaft, which helps with the shoulder problem and it's fastest with the 100 Flex--which blows up my shoulders in a few miles. The 90Flex, which I generally don't like, is actually quite good with the Konihi 95. I switched to the little Konihi blade, which as I remember is 82, which solved the shoulder problem but exacerbated the unforgiving aspect. Set it right and it's in concrete, get a little sloppy and it feels like a swizzle stick.

If I had the discipline and technique of Dave Kalama, who does perfect strokes when he's got a monster wave bearing down on him (I'd look like a windmill) then the 82 would be consistently great and fast (it's the fastest blade I've tested) but as I've demonstrated on numerous downwinders, I'm faster with the Konihi 95 or the big Mana even though I can sprint faster with the 82. I simply lose concentration for too much of the run and immediately slow down.
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.

tarquin

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Re: Blade Shapes and "Feel".......Why?
« Reply #14 on: June 18, 2020, 08:03:02 AM »
Also, try leaning on the opposite rail a bit.  The displacement hull will actually help steer the board a bit.  For example, paddling on the right hand side makes the board want to go left.  Lean on the left rail and the shape of the bow will want to push the board right.
 I have tried this but find it tricky. I end up messing up the stroke. Need to practice more.
 Anyone tried the QB Slim Jim 92. There is a blade going cheap near me.

 


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