Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The search for efficiency

Synchronized paddles

Dean, with the Euro blade, shows good forward stroke form from the recent past. This is what I saw people around me do when I started paddling so I too followed that form.

Saturday past I learned this stroke is passe. The stroke of the present (since, I don't know when) starts at the catch with a more vertical paddle and non-working arm straighter. Its based more on a racing stroke and you can check that out for yourself on YouTube, just search for Adam van Koeverden. Before I jump on board though, I wanted to think this through and reason it out for myself.

The greatest force exerted by the paddle blade is a right angles to the blade. With the non-working hand near the shoulder and the working side extended to the feet the paddle is placed in the water at a low angle. The force is exerted downward until the paddle reaches a more vertical angle where maximum force is generated as the paddle is drawn back.

When the non-working arm is extended away from the body the paddle is more vertical at insertion and maximum forward force is created right away resulting in greater efficiency.

That makes sense but there's more to it than just insertion.


  1. My philosophy is as long as I'm moving forward, I'm doing it right!!!!

    There are always ways to be more efficient though, so maybe there is more to it than slamming my blade in the water and yanking it back towards me with my arms and shoulders.

  2. All well and good for you Euro-shovel-types but what about me and my skinny stick (see other paddler in the picture
    )? It's so hard to learn paddle strokes while sitting in front of a Youtube video!!

    I suspect I'm really going to be left in the dust (wake) now as everybody's stroke come up in efficiency!!

    So much to learn, so little time on the water!!!

  3. I feel the same as you Brian, I sometimes sacrifice technique for just brute force. I don't ever expect to be totally efficient or a speed demon but if I can make the journey less of a workout, then that's probably not a bad idea either.

    Sean, maybe the GP is the way to go. Its been perfected over thousands of years and no one can screw with technique because they have a brainwave. In the case of the Euro blade, inspired by competitive racers looking for 1/1000 of a second improvement.

    Tony :-)