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photo: huki website


Seat Padding (may still need a slicker surface to allow easier rotation)



Many paddlers tape pads into their ski's buckets. A pad can help create a better angle and therefore more leverage at the catch, as well as provide comfort and/or a more snug fit which can increase boat control. Paddle2Fitness seat pads for efficiency. See also Padding in Equipment Adjustment (padding for fit and comfort)

Setting Foot Brace

You may set your foot braces for different conditions. In big waves, you might want to set your braces long so you can get your weight lower in the ski for added stability. In flatwater, you may like to shorten your braces so you can exert more torque.

Paddle Setup

Hand Position/Setup

Hand Position - Hayley Nixon

This is the traditional method for beginners. Watch the paddle length and grip width setup video below for more information.

  • Tape - tape wraps on paddles tend to be quite personal in style, material and location. Experience will guide you toward what works best for you. But tape can make paddling more comfortable, give better grip and feel, cause less skin abrasion, and can provide a guide (the edge of a wrap, or a built up bump) for your correct hand locations. This is a good one to talk to other paddlers about - see what they do - try it - and see if you like their method or not. If you decide you need a big change in hand position, you may want to move your tape and hand position gradually to give your body time to adjust.

Setting Up Your Hand Grip - Nicholas Cryder

Example Tape Photo - Click to enlarge

Paddle Tape for Hand Position


In general, paddle length depends on torso length when sitting in your boat. At the catch, with the blade fully submerged, you want your upper hand at about forehead height (this assumes your recovery (upper) hand goes that high with your stroke (older paddlers and paddlers with shoulder problems often have flatter strokes) - if not you can rotate your paddle shaft somewhat more vertically just for this test to see where you top hand would be). Get a friend to watch you and help you adjust your length. Or better, watch the video immediately below for a detailed description of how and why for paddle length setup.

Paddle2Fitness Podcast on Paddle Length

Setting Paddle Length and Grip Width


- the angle paddle blades are offset from each other. The number of degrees to which you set your feather is personal. The traditional standard has been 60 degree feather. Oscar Chalupsky has been an advocate of starting paddlers at 0 feather for some time. The advantages of no feathering include making it easier to brace on both sides, and possibly reducing strain on your wrists (some report the opposite to be true). One disadvantage of no feather is wind resistance on the blade going up-wind (folks who mostly do one way downwinders may not care much, but folks who often do laps in robust wind may). Zero feather has been growing in popularity, particularly for paddlers who have improved wrist, forearm, elbow problems after adopting zero feather. And many paddlers who are more interested in enjoying downwinding rather than racing have also adopted 0 feather. Your results may vary, so you will have to figure out which you prefer. It appears that paddlers who have a more vertical stroke (i.e. almost all sprint kayakers are in this group), rotate their paddles naturally somewhat more and may benefit from some feather otherwise they may need to manually rotate their blades with their wrists (see Sam Milne Video on Setting Feather).

More Setup Resources

setup.txt · Last modified: 2023/11/16 19:30 by preavley