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PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2008 6:46 am 
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I wonder if it makes sense to use a smaller blade paddle for a smaller paddler in a tandem kayak.

Fist let us analyze the forward stroke which is the 90 percent of all paddling in folders.


I suppose that we both use same area blades. As the movement must be coordinated, the forward movement of the vessel provided by the stroke of the stronger paddler, will make the movement of the weaker paddler easier in the watter.

So the contribution of the two paddlers in a coordinated stroke, will be according to each paddlers strength, no matter the area of the blade.

On the other had a smaller blade area for a weaker paddler would create less strain at the same cadence that the stronger paddler may maintain with a larger area paddle.

It can also be very helpful if the weaker paddler is paddling the vessel alone for some time...( e.g. the other paddler taking care of navigation)

A situation that may occur is that the smaller area blade paddler will increase the cadence at a pace the greater area blade paddler will not be comfortable following.

In tandem bikes we handle the difference in strength of the riders by using longer of shorter pedal shafts. ( the weaker rider gets a shorter one).
Of course in tandem bikes it is very unusual for one rider to pedal alone...

Any ideas or experiments on this?

Are my thoughts correct or I miss a point....??


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PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2008 9:16 am 
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vangelis wrote:
I wonder if it makes sense to use a smaller blade paddle for a smaller paddler in a tandem kayak. [snip] Are my thoughts correct or I miss a point....??
I agree fully. When Becky and I were picking out paddles for us, at first my paddle was not long enough. The result was my natural cadence was too fast; to slow me down to her natural cadence, I had to go up 20 cm in length.

With the correct length paddles, we were able to get maximal effort from both of us at the same cadence.

This was with a close coupled double, requiring the paddlers to stroke in unison. If the cockpits are separated far enough, cadences can differ.

On a tandem cycle, the situation is similar to a close-coupled double.

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PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2008 11:01 am 
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Quote:
This was with a close coupled double, requiring the paddlers to stroke in unison. If the cockpits are separated far enough, cadences can differ.


I've never paddled a double, so I've always been curious. Does it make any difference to efficiency/speed if the cadences differ, assuming the seats are sufficiently far apart to allow it? Or is that one of those "don't mention the war" questions?

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PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2008 11:10 am 
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nohoval_turrets wrote:
Does it make any difference to efficiency/speed if the cadences differ, assuming the seats are sufficiently far apart to allow it? Or is that one of those "don't mention the war" questions?
I don't know. I suppose someone wth expertise in racing would know. Having paddled both ways, and quite a bit in our G II where you have to coordinate strokes, it seemed like we got a better rythm in the G II. Good question.

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PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2008 2:13 pm 
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I do not have much paddling experience but when paddling our aerius 545 (Which I think is considered to provide a spacious cockpit ), when the paddling went out of phase we were clapping our paddles. It happened more than once and it is my fault as I had the rear seat :oops:

So I consider coordinated paddling a MUST !

We tried to paddle each one alone and I noticed that my wife alone could barely move the vessel when paddling. When I paddled alone I could arrange my stroke more easily but obviously the contribution of the front paddler was missing...

My above question is not only about length but also about blade surface...

So cadence MUST be the same and comfortable for both paddlers. length of shaft is a consideration but more variables come into play here...
( height of paddler, height of coaming , width of vessel etc) I consider that for my wife's dimensions a shaft of 147cm +2*blade length is the minimum possible to be able to paddle at low angle... So if I have to add 20 cm to this I end up with a 260cm paddle. At this length flutter might be a problem especially if you get a foam core paddle. I will most probabbly not exceed 250 cm length.

Another way to differentiate between stronger and weaker paddler is the surface of the blade, not the overall lenghth of the paddle.

Will this help, or it will create problems?..That is my concern and I do not have the ability to try out as I have to buy the paddles to test it :roll:

Any thoughts and experience on this will be much appreciated..


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PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2008 2:42 pm 
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Vangelis,

Have you considered Greenland style paddles? It sounds crazy, but I have tested these paddles in the Folbot GII and they work remarkably well.

Since I do not know the width dimensions of the Klepper, the Greenland style paddling could possibly work for you. I experimented with two Greenland paddles and they were great even for the beamy GII. My partner used a 94" in the front, and I used a 96" in the back of the boat.

Vasilis in Xylokastro makes custom paddles, so you should contact him and see if you can test some of his Greenland style paddles (no affiliation).


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PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2008 6:00 pm 
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Thanks Sasha,
I will keep it in mind if I am planning to be near Xilokastro.

For the time been I am not prpared to do a lot of changes. I will probably test a greenland paddle sometime in the future.


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PostPosted: Thu May 29, 2008 8:35 pm 
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Vangelis,

We do not use the Greenland paddles exclusively, I just made the suggestion as an alternative plan. In the beginning, we had problems with the paddling rhythm . I agree that you need to paddle in a synchronous way and the same cadence. My partner's height is 1.50m, so she had issues with the lenth of her paddle and coaming clearance. We elevated the Folbot seats by adding closed cell foam seats. We got the Spirit Line Seats through Pygmy Boats http://www.pygmyboats.com/mall/HullGear.asp That solved the problem of my partner's short height and coaming clearing issues.

I do not know the Klepper 545 dimmensions, so I am not sure if this will work for you. Our main paddles are Euro style but with a smaller blade area. We use the T-1 Touring paddle of the Pacific Designs http://www.pacificpaddles.com
My partner uses a 2.40m paddle in front and I use one, that is 2.50m in the back of the GII.

A coordinated paddle cadence is a necessary condition if you do not use a rudder. If you employ a rudder, you can get away without a synchronous stroke. Tandems are not called "divorce boats" for no reason :-)

Another plan is to go to the Cannibals Kayak House http://www.cannibals.gr at Elliniko. They will probably keep some paddles in stock where you can test some of the them.

I am a happy customer of the above businesses and I am not affiliated in anyway.


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PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2008 1:26 pm 
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Thanks again Niko for your info and advise.

I do have a contact with the shop you mentioned.
For the time being, Since a lot of things are depending on experience, we try to get more experience in paddling before we start to estimate different types of paddles and finaly end up with a choice of paddles to order.

My question is triggered by the paddles a friendy couple have for their tandem. On a recent journey we had together, they offered to change paddles so that we try their different blade paddles.

We will most probably try it in a comming journey with these friends but for the time we have to have much more experience and our very basic paddles are just OK for this...

I am just trying to learn some more tips for the future :D
Thank you everybody for your help.

P.S. I use the 3cm raising addition under my seat and Rena uses the 6cm raising addition. We think this is enough. We do not want to be higher as this will decrease our stability.


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PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2008 5:42 pm 
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I agree that you need to test as many paddles as possible. The Klepper and Folbot stock paddles will do great for spares but you will need a lighter and more forgiving paddle for your body.

If you have not heard from your friends, Vasilis in Xylokastro is hosting the 2nd annual meeting with the Sea Kayak club of Greece. I do not know if Yvonne and Pavlos from Kefalonia will be there or Rod from Milos island. I heard that last year's event was fun and a lot of paddlers showed up. It is a nice event in order to socialize with fellow paddlers, learn new techniques, and test gear. :-)

For more information http://www.artvali.gr/images/2nd_seakayak_meeting_poster.jpg

Wish I could make it, but I will not be able to.


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