Advantages of a setting the blades offset?
I have kayaked in Alaska, from Valdez to a glacier; great trip. But this post is not about Alaska, it is the only active Kayaking group I could find.
I have been paddling with my blades offset since I first learned 35 years ago. On long trips I always carry bandaids because I can rub the skin off my right thumb. Yesterday I went for an 8 mile paddle in the Everglades and found I forgot my bandaids! My chances of getting back were slim, so in desparation I make the blades even and tried. It took 5 minutes of frustration, but after that i was fine. There was little rubbing against the thumb; in fact could actually paddle without my thumb, though not quite as well.
So, is there any particular advantage to offset blades? I always thought they were supposed to catch the wind and do horrible things, but it was occasionally windy yesterday and it didn't seem to make much of a difference. On the basis of yesterday, i am thinking of switching.
There is quite a bit more to it with kayak paddles. The offset angles are mostly a matter of personal preference.
Originally Posted by Toller
I'd have to say that your hands get blistered up much like a hiker's foot... in that the hiker does not wear the best of fitted sock/shoes/boots combo, has too few miles trekking about, and not often enough.
Paddling technique will also be a big part of the bad hands picture... do you have an efficient and fluid push/pull stroke? Do you death grip the paddle? Do you have secondary stroke proficiency? I know you said you've been at it for years, yet find an instructor or good guide with the ability to teach and evaluate you on some of this stuff.
On to paddle choices --- Look into shaft material, diameter, shape, length, swing weight, balance, and straight or bent geometry. This alone may solve all your present hand issues.
Blade materials and geometry will also be an important factor. Effects like dihedral for increasing flow while reducing flutter on the power-face. Consider overall size of the blade... maybe you do not need a large power-face so try going slim spooned, skinny on thickness, longer vs. short and fat, lighter on weight, and more flexible. Additionally, asymmetry creates less torque upon entry and exit angles. All this translates to more comfort, beneficial efficiency, with less fatigue on the hands and arms.
Easiest solution would be to have a set of good paddling gloves, jet-ski gloves, or the most simple of thin fleece gloves. Not a bad idea to have an extra set.
I always used offset because I thought inline caught the wind badly, and that was more important than the risk of repetitive wrist injuries. But that doesn't seem to be the case
Originally Posted by Brian Richardson
(based on my extensive testing of using them inline once).
So I guess my question is why people have a preference for offset blades.
This is just my take, and I'd wager a class full of total novices could end up 50/50 one way or the other paddling short term on easy water.
A.) Overall efficiency & smoother transition or Hydrodynamics ya might say... I get the paddle in a better entry and exit angle plus depth with offset.
B.) Wind in your face slowing you down or wind at your sides possibly causing stability issues --- I'll call Aerodynamics... I seam to find a greater comfort, stability, with more quality vs. power in primary strokes.
C.) For me, I like offset w/ right hand control --- better rhythm, wider range of a push/pull relationship, faster on the draw with secondary and recovery strokes. I tend to paddle more naturally with offset.
D.) Food for thought --- most of my guided customers over the years (both single and tandem) paddling inflatables (kayaks as well as canoe/raft hybrids) on fast moving or swift, steeper and more technical whitewater feel better with 0 offset. I will often encourage this because boating strategy/angles, understanding river dynamics, and performing are more key under these conditions than how you wear your paddle.