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Gearing...

There is no uncertainty about the superior versatility of the narrow blade in that it provides the paddler with a variable gear. A low gear (with high stroke rate) is achieved by submerging only a part of the narrow blade in the water with each stroke. A ‘normal’ cruising gear results from submerging all of the blade and the ‘high’ gear from creating the maximum lever by using a full sliding stroke where the stroke rate may be as low as 40 per minute. The modern European paddle does not have a blade shape, weight distribution or loom, designed for a sliding stroke, and therefore can only be described as a power efficient paddle having a single gear.

- from: Sea Blades: Fashion or Function? (2001) © Peter Lamont, Isle of Luing, Scotland.

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