Sunday, July 20, 2008

Jack of All Trades

Just today, I completed a 1 Star Course for canoe polo players and competitive canoeists from Ngee Ann Poly. These 2 days really proved me right regarding my theory that coaches should be trained in multiple disciplines.
Instead of simply teaching the participants the skills, knowledge in the various paddling disiciplines enables a coach to relate to them helping them understand the techniques and why they are being taught that way.
For example, the J-Draw and Classical Draw. You would not recommend a classical draw to a polo player, it is simply not aggressive enough.
Also, multi-disicipline knowledge will allow the coach to give examples of situations where the paddlers can apply their skills. Like in the case of the low brace, where canoe polo players can brace themselves after being tackled.

That being said, Im glad I joined the SIM canoeing team to broaden my knowledge.

On another note, Aaron told me that there are T1s and some wing paddles left behind in the boat shed at Water-Venture Kallang. Woohoo! will probably be taking one out to try on Wednesday.

Also tried Sam's all carbon Epic paddle today. There was a distinct blade flutter when I tried to pump the paddle, this is definately not a forgiving blade design due to the mild dihedral. Not a paddle for sudden bursts of speed.
Cant afford, or rather cant justify paying $900 for a full carbon Epic paddle, maybe I'll get a Werner Ikelos for $700 with a moderate dihedral. Not sure if I should settle for the $700 fiberglass carbon composite Epic.
Another gripe is the foam core makes the blade very buoyant and feels like it wants to pop out of the water at the end of the stroke. Very weird feeling.

8 comments:

Enric said...

hi kenneth,
i have been using my epic for about 4 years now. my good friend owns an ikelos and a waterstick (trihedral blade). we are very close so we swap and share our paddles very often. apart from these paddles, i used to own a brasca4 wing and ived used many a time used cp paddles and other ww paddles by werner and galasport. my OBJECTIVE take on these paddle selections are...

1) the epic has the most superior sea blade among all that ive used. the entry and exit of the blade is hugely superior to any paddle ive tried. the idea of the foam core is the increase the efficiency of the finishing stroke by reducing the amt of weight you have to pull out of the water. nothing ive tried comes close to the quality of the epic blade. period.

2) however, i have to say that i prefer the ikelos's shaft build as compared to the epic's. the finish and feel somehows feels SO much nicer and comfortable to hold compared to my epic. i always tell him the perfect paddle will be one with my blade and his shaft. =)

3) the ikelos does not come with a dihedral blade! it is a very simple spooned blade. it is very powerful, holds water well.

4) Also, take note of the various options you have with regards to shaft configuration and blade construction. also if youre not getting a variable length paddle, also be very VERY sure about your length!

5) anyway, my comments are purely of my own opinion. paddles are very personal items. what i like or dislike may not be so for you. so do your homework before jumping into the investment. =D

Kenneth Chan said...

thanks for the info mate... very helful.
realised that the feather angle on the epic i borrowed was at 30 degrees, something im not really used to. probably why it felt so funny

Jun Bin said...

Hi Kenneth,

Got really inspired by Enric's comment and decided to leave you a comment too.

I am one of the first Epic user in Singapore and it is still one of my favourite sea paddle even though I have paddled quite a number of paddles from different manufacturer.

Perhaps, I can tell you some unique technical features about Epic, which make it one of the most superior paddle I ever used. The asymmetrical dihedral foam core blade, provides a "lifting" effect when user excute a high angle paddling style. It is a paddle that work well when used for long distance paddling, as the effect can be more evidently felt.

Epic paddle shaft offers a range of options in the selection of material. The manufacturing process of Epic's shaft is slight different from ikelos. Ikelos shaft is slightly less rigid and flex more, however for Epic's, it's so rigid that it hardly flex. The reason of this features is to increase energy transmission efficency during transition of strokes. Hence, it will take sometime for some user to get comfortable with Epic's Shaft, due to it's stiffness.

Epic's unique "lock-length" feature, allow adjustment in feathering as well as it's length up to 10cm in range. Which make Epic my personal favourite expedition travel paddle.

Another fantastic paddle you can look at is Lendal, a UK made paddle. They make one of the most fantastic crank shaft paddle I ever tired as I have used one when Simon Osbone (Dennis Nigel sales associate) when he came by Singapore. We exchanged our paddle and went for some distant together to test them out.

I agreed with Enric that paddle is a very personal equipment. They are our "extension" of our limbs when we are in the water. Sometime it may require us to adjust and shape our paddling style to match the paddle we that we are using. Given time, the next question you may ask and ponder about is aesthetic or science?

Do continue to explore and enjoy paddling, allow paddling to be part of your lifestyle and allow these experiences to give tone, texture and create the colour pantone of your life.

Kenneth Chan said...

Thanks Jun Bin. Really appreciate your review.
I have looked at the Kinetik series of Lendal paddles, but did not consider them because I am not sure of a reputable dealer to order them from.

There's kayakasia for the Epic and im waiting for a quote from NRS for the quote on the Werner.

With regards to shaft stiffness, I would have thought some flex in the shaft would be ideal for long distance paddling to reduce strain.

Jun Bin said...

Hi Kenneth,

There was a good dealer for lendal actually, however he past away sometime ago. It was quite an unfortunate event.

Epic was design by Marathon racer and once again it will depends on the user. Truely, paddle with some flex maybe more comfortable.

Kayakasia boss will be in town from Wednesday onwards, you may want to have a word with him. I can help you to reach him when he is in town. We are expedition buddies as we been to many country and exotic places in our foldable boats already. Should you need help technically on equipment, you may get my number from Sam. Oh, by the way, he is also the dealer of NRS and Astral vest.

Wolfie said...

Hi Kenneth, I believe you recently left a comment on my blog? Got to know of you through Enric, nice to meet you :)

The Epic is real smooth in the water, and I like it for being adjustable in length (if you get that option).

But i have grown to like my Ikelos better hehe. Its blade is the most powerful I have used thus far, catching a lot more water with each stroke. The Epic slips into the water effortlessly without a splash, but for the Ikelos you will need a little training to achieve a smooth entry with a high angle stroke.

I like my bent shaft, and with the pronounced ovalised grips on both sides, I use it at 15 degrees offset so that both hands can hold the shaft comfortably. It's also lighter than Enric/JB's reinforced carbon.

If you want the Ikelos, do think very very carefully about what you want to use it for. It's just nice if I use it with my K1, but I find it a little longish at 215cm if I paddle in river/training boats. The Epic blades are already considered large for touring, and make sure you really can appreciate paddling 40+km a day with an even bigger blade like the Ikelos if you want that. Not unsuitable, but just not ideal for all situations.

I am an active polo player btw, so I appreciate a 200cm paddle with powerful blades when I use short boats. That is why I haven't really used my 220cm Waterstick since I got the Ikelos.

Kenneth Chan said...

Hi wolfie, yup, it was I who left the comment. Happened to come across your blog when doing some research on feathercraft kayaks.

Thanks for the info. Will take the blade size into consideration.

Recently been reading up on ONNO paddles as well, they seem to be getting great reviews.
The guy customises the length for you and it also has a length adjustment feature like the Epic paddles.
Their lock system is worth checking out.
www.onnopaddles.com

Kenneth Chan said...

Was re-organising my filing cabinet and saw my 1 Star Cert. Jun Ping, you were my instructor!