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PostPosted: November 6th, 2007, 4:52 am 
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I wonder if a White-Water-Paddle should be longer than one which is used for flat water? I just started WhiteWater-Canoeing in an open solo canoe and bought a slightly longer paddle for the rough parts. Now I detect doubts - should I have chosen a shorter one?

Axel

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PostPosted: November 6th, 2007, 8:54 am 
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I think it comes down to a matter of preference. I have some friends who carry shorter paddles for WW, and other's who carry longer. I prefer the longest stick manageable on whitewater, as long as it doesn't affect my ability to paddle on the offside. More leverage. When I'm outreached at the start of my stroke, with the blade in the water and the shaft vertical my grip hand is at eye or forehead level. I find that the more experienced I become, the longer I like my paddle to be. For me, that means a 61" overall length (with a relatively short 19" blade). I'm 6'3" and have a 9" - 9.5" saddle to give some reference

If you're looking for a guide, check out the one on the Echo paddles website.


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PostPosted: November 6th, 2007, 10:26 am 
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There are dozens of ways of determining the correct length of a paddle. The fact that these methods all come up with different numbers illustrates that they are marketing ploys rather than based body mechanics. Obviously for every stroke there is a perfect paddle... unfortunately very few of us have a perfect stroke to take advantage of that perfect length paddle. So I'll let you look through Paddle Manufacturer's websites for paddle sizing.

However, in short I agree with the general perception that a longer paddle is appropriate in whitewater than what you would likely use for traveling in flatwater. However, if you paddle with a traditional style paddle, you might find that the paddle is pretty similar in length, just that the distribuion of length is more in the blade and less in the shaft. An American Freestyle paddle is similar in dimension, but generally different in blade shape, and handle design to a whitewater stick. But that's not real surprising given the similarity in the strokes, and sequence similarity between whitewater and flatwater freestyle.

PK


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PostPosted: November 6th, 2007, 10:59 am 
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There are many factors that come into play that will help you decide, here are the three main factors. First, what kind of solo boat is this, is it a long boat with lots of glid , lets say 12' and longer? Or is it rather short, lets say in around 10'? How tall are you? How high is your saddle?

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PostPosted: November 6th, 2007, 12:27 pm 
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speaking from the land of mistakes......... I'm sissta numero uno

try an supress the urge to cut your paddle for about a year till you're sure it's the paddle and not you

you are hitting your boat crossing over due to poor technique...the blade comes out at the knee and the blade is parallel to the bag as you rotate across; arms and wrists rotate towards you as you pull your onside hip back and thrust your offside hip forward to plant the power phase and then rotete the torso and opposing hip bach as you thrust the onside arm forward during stoke....I find being short torsoed I have to keep the blade flat across or I will bang the apposing gunnel , losse fluidity and bobble o myoffside

you're splashing the water on the forward stroke becasue you are not leading with your rotation forward and just reaching with your arms

and your hand is above your head on the catch of the forward when you sink that blade because, the blade really isn't sunk...it's just lillydipping the surface

vertical paddle is a function of torso rotation and the shaft hand arm being inside the paddlers box

once you'r sure these things are correct, then look at length.

you'll need a different paddle for tripping than solo boating...unless you paddle a tank with a high pedestal for your solo.

two cents from the land of too short sticks

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PostPosted: November 6th, 2007, 12:31 pm 
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100% with Alan, the saddle height and boad design make a big difference. It is nice to have the paddle blade fit in tight to the chine of the boat. This keeps the power close to the boat and reduces the need to rudder or steer to make up for a swept forward stroke. Also the blade is kept more vertical if looking from the side giving the maximum effective blade area. As long as the full of the blade is in the water that is all that is needed, anything more just reduces the maximum trust the arms can generate but increasing the length the oposite side of the leaver as well as drawing more attention from underwarer rocks and curents. Also the power produced from pushing the top hand is greatly reduced the higer up it is. Maximup physiological efficiency would be if the top (grip) hand was kept at sholder level like doing a bench press.

At 5'8 I was using a 56 inch blade, then dropped to 54, now am thinking cutting that down an inch. Shorter more explosive strokes done faster, quicker getting over to the cross side and back.


Last edited by dreamstream on November 6th, 2007, 12:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: November 6th, 2007, 12:33 pm 
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Gail R wrote:
speaking from the land of mistakes......... I'm sissta numero uno

try an supress the urge to cut your paddle for about a year till you're sure it's the paddle and not you



Confucious say: Paddle your paddle many time, before you cut your paddle once!!! :doh:

Sorry couldn't resist...

PK


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 Post subject: No simple answers
PostPosted: November 7th, 2007, 10:37 pm 
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I think a long paddle is in order for whitewater paddling, if you are paddling a boat that is 14 feet or longer and of a more traditional design. (longer keel line, less rocker) These sorts of boats take more 'umph" from the paddle when not in complete agreement with the forces of the water; and respond less to leans for their turning.

The old-school reason was that to turn a boat most effectively you needed to be able to get your paddle away from you--the pivot point in your boat---so that your turning strokes (consider the simple forward sweep) would have a greater radius, more leverage at either end of the stroke and therefore exert more turning effect on the boat. One old timer said something like "in these old boats, you are the bow and the stern paddler" which though an obvious figure of speech, had some ring of truth for me in the older designs.

More modern designs have produced several generations of shorter solo boats with more rounded chines and greater rocker. These boats are turned primarily with a lean---like riding a bicycle--and perhaps just a simple forward sweep with a small radius. In many of these boats all you have to do is "think turn" and the boat will do it. For this reason it is my impression that you actually need a shorter paddle in a more modern boat, (the longer paddle gets in the way---sinks to far into the water) and if you are rolling that boat the shorter paddle is a much more effective tool for that particular maneuver. If the paddle sinks to far into the water your paddle face is diving too far below the surface and what is contacting the water is your sunk blade and a couple of inches of paddle shaft. A paddle shaft does little to enhance blade power when in contact with the water.

Since I am in a solo boat that still retains some of the characteristics of the traditionally designed boats--my boat is 14 feet long and not greatly rockered, I prefer a longer paddle. For instance when I initiate a big turn away from my paddling side---depending on where I am in current, (if i am heading straight downstream, I will start with a forward pry---as far toward the bow as I can muster, then I turn that stroke into a forward sweep, kicking in my lean away from my paddle and finish with a modified forward sweep or forward stroke depending on what I need the boat to do. If I am peeling out of an eddy heading upstream, and expose my paddling side to upstream current, I will reach across the boat with a cross forward (even old fashioned cross bow draw then turn it into a cross forward. In the middle of that stroke sometimes you need a slight cross brace and a paddle too long is problematice for that stroke---this can be important.

A long paddle always causes some consternation in shallow rapid work because it will strike rocks in the river bed when you hunkerdown and lock yourself down in a low position on your saddle. I still think this is a fine trade-off for all the extra reach I get with a longer paddle for solo work.

Even if you are in a traditional shallow-arch old-fashioned boat, you have to take into account the length of your torso, the length of your arms, your position in the boat, (high kneel on seat, or low locked down on low saddle, do you like to stand on occasion, and do you like to sit up in less hairy rapids---you need a longer paddle on in these circumstances. But if you like to sit low, have long arms and have a long torso you'd naturally choose a shorter paddle to offset those structural facts in your physique.

Perhaps a way to figure it out is to get in a set of moderate slalom gates and see how effectively you can do the maneuvers. A paddle that is too short or two long will be evident to someone who has mastered a slalom course. Either the course can teach you over time (the best way) or get someone who paddles a boat in your class who has mastered the course, and who has a similar physique as you, to give you some feedback as you take each turn apart turn by turn by stroke by stroke. But in the end, you'll figure out your own your preferences. Such a simple question as 'how long should my paddle be, can be one of those little wrinkles in you paddling that can lead you into a world of discovery and better technique. good luck...isn't it fun to ponder such a question?? Best wishes, Tink


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PostPosted: November 8th, 2007, 3:13 am 
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I could see a longer paddle for sterning a tandem, but for solo, I think it's better to be nimble and efficient than to maximize your leverage.

For playboating in a solo boat, I'm liking slightly shorter paddles (2"?) for quicker, shorter strokes and more off-side strokes. I've gradually been more interested in shortening my solo ww paddles.

PY.

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PostPosted: November 8th, 2007, 7:55 am 
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To give an idea on what works for me, I'm 5'-8-1/2", for most solo boats I use a 56", than I'll drop down to 54" or 55" in even short smaller sub 9' boats. There was a time I used 58" sticks, but I've come to relize its not so much about reach but more to do about stroke rate and using the 2x4 mothod. On the flat sections thats a different story.

Another thing.... the method or style of boating is changing, while in the white water we are moving totally away from stern corrections. My oldest daughter Aliesha who is 13 no longer uses any stern corrections strokes in either her OC1 or her C1,, simply put stern correction strokes are negative stokes. Thats not to say there isn't a place for a stern correction. ( but thats a different thread ) What you will see her use are stern sweeps or offside onside pivots. At 5' tall she's using a 50" in her C1 and a 52" in her cutdown Zoom.

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PostPosted: November 8th, 2007, 9:02 am 
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Alan Greve wrote:
Another thing.... the method or style of boating is changing, while in the white water we are moving totally away from stern corrections. My oldest daughter Aliesha who is 13 no longer uses any stern corrections strokes in either her OC1 or her C1,, simply put stern correction strokes are negative stokes.


This is obviously very specific to paddling very short or highly rockered boats for slalom or play. Obviously that's where the concern for using negative strokes comes in. But as you well know... bow corrections which work great in a Zoom fail miserably in a 14 foot tripping solo with moderate rocker. You just don't have the strength to break the bow wake with a bow correction. This also why Cliff Jacobsen has written several articles that whitewater schools are not teaching how to paddle in a tripping circumstance well. As you well know, Al, it's two totally different methods of paddling what might be the exact same whitewater, that involve different goals, methodologies, boats and paddles.

Being a student of both somewhat opposite schools of thought, I can see both points. I'm in general a pretty agressive approaching whitewater... but that all changes as you well know when tripping in whitewater. That transition both in technique and in mental thought process needs to be made when your purpose for paddling whitewater changes. I know myself I've taken a couple big spills through the years because I tried to use playboating methods in a loaded tripping boat.

PK


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PostPosted: November 8th, 2007, 10:08 am 
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Your perfectly correct PK and given Axel hasn't really said what kind of boat or the entended use we should talk about all the different methods and styles. I'm going to guess he's refering to more of a tripping boat than play. That said, way to often we see more experienced people using a more tripping style approch to playboating because that has what they've know, they then apply these same methods on harder moves in playboats and wonder why it not coming together for them. My thinking is learn with out the stern correction if the boat dictates, because its so easy to ajust or apply stern corrections when you move back into a longer wider boat as in tripping.

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PostPosted: November 8th, 2007, 10:28 am 
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Al,

I suspect that nearly all canoeists learn to paddle with a stern correction intially. Then unlearn that if they want to playboat/slalom, and can"fall back" into the stern correction when tripping. But I wonder, how paddlers that intially learn without the stern correction adjust to needing a stern correction?

As in nearly all things in life, it's not really practical to get too altruistic. As such applying the right principle in the right place is the best stroke for the time... not some abolute textbook perfect stroke. OK, I'll let the thread migrate back to the original topic.

PK


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PostPosted: November 8th, 2007, 11:33 am 
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True but I did qualify that statment " if the boat decates".

I think its easy for a paddler, I'll use my daughter as an example," to fall back," they,ve already developed those stern corrections in a tamdem, by using both J stroke and stern pry, even in a solo. But in those boats that this 2x4 method can be applied I think it will develope the paddlers overall skills if we can minimize those stern corrections. And thats not to say that there isn't a modified J being used on some of their power strokes, even the slightess angle thrown in at the end of the stoke can give boat correction. Thuss taking as back to the lenght of the paddle, the lack of stern corrections with a higher stroke rate will allow for a shorter blade.

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PostPosted: November 8th, 2007, 12:25 pm 
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Hello again - I wasn't following the discussion for a day or two.

Thank you for this many answers.

To be honest I am a bloody beginner but I have two boats to my use: a XL11(don't know the brand) and an Ocoee (Dagger) - I still feel more comfortable in the XL11 but have experienced the more initial readiness for reaction of the Ocoee (sorry for my screwed english - I'm German) - thus I tend to keep the Ocoee in the end.

I purchased both boats cheaply (due to their desolate condition but managed to repair them together with a little help from a friend). Here are some pictures:
http://paddelblog.blogspot.com/2007/10/ ... bauen.html (XL11)
http://paddelblog.blogspot.com/2007/11/ ... asser.html (both)

Axel

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