Submitted by: Anonymous on 11/14/2005
This blade is unique among wings because Lendal have used a two-piece sandwich configuration to allow the power face to have a fairly normal shape while the back face is sculpted into the 'wing' profile. This allows the paddle to be used almost normally for most strokes and braces while still allowing the 'lift' generated by the wing shape to help drive the kayak ahead with each forward stroke.
The other 'big' thing about the wing paddle is the superior catch. This sucker goes into the water with nary a sound and feels like it's almost mired in mud when you begin your pull. It's that solid. Also, as you draw the paddle back in your forward stroke the blade wants to go sideways away from the side of the kayak. Let it go; this is where the 'lift' is generated and although it feels like you're not really 'pulling' the blade back with enough force, you'll rapidly see that you are still cruising at your best speed when you check your position against the other boats out with you.
As you creep past your comrades, etiquette demands that you at least breathe a little heavily so as not to insult their efforts as they heave onto their paddles to try to keep up with you...
I find low and high braces, forward sweep, stern rudders, and low brace turns to be performed as with any other paddle. However any stroke which uses the back of the paddle primarily may be a little squirrelly. Watch out for leaned reverse sweeps, bow rudders and draw strokes. Beware the diving paddle as the back face generates 'lift' in an unexpected direction! It gave me a chance to test my new Kokatat drysuit out in the cold water several times!
With a little adjustment of blade angle, the paddle will do anything you ask, but you must be precise about your technique. It is for this reason that I give the paddle a 10 for anyone who has - or would like to develop - precise paddling technique and a 4 for anyone who doesn't want to think too much about what their paddle is up to. Hence the averaged-out score of 7...
By the way, several friends and I traded paddles and boats and had ourselves a little 'shootout' with the wing verses many other blades and we came to a couple of conclusions: the wing is not for quick acceleration; for surfing and such you'll be better off with a larger, flatter blade (like the Nordkapp). Also the wing will not outperform touring paddles unless you know the 'wing stroke', which involves letting the paddle move out away from the side of the boat as you make your forward stroke. Get one of the forward stroke clinic DVD's for details on this. It'll be worth your time. Lastly, while not particularly a standout in acceleration, the wing allows the boat to cruise at it's maximum speed with considerably less effort than any other blade we tried. If you don't mind taking six strokes to max speed instead of three, you will be able to hold your cruising speed with ease while you watch the others in the group get progressively worn out from their efforts.
Also, the carbon fiber is unbelievably light. Several people who tried my paddle but found the wing hard to control have gone out and bought their favorite blades in the carbon fiber lay-up. The actual weights are specified on the Lendal web site, but the paddle feels about as heavy as my kitchen broom. You actually forget that it weighs anything at all when you're using it on the water and you can concentrate on your technique and direction instead of your shoulder muscles. Hallelujah!
If you are serious about your paddling and spend most of your time on the water going forward, you need to check out this paddle. It's the only easy-to-use wing blade on the market to my knowledge, and it's made by Lendal, which means it's as durable as they come. Give it a try!