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HOME arrow GEAR INSIGHTS arrow Gear Review: Infinity "ottertail" Paddle
Gear Review: Infinity "ottertail" Paddle PDF Print E-mail
By: Alan Sidlo   
Saturday, 18 August 2007

     Part of the genius of infinity's ottertail paddle lies in the relationship between its blade's position to the paddle's shaft. the blade is mounted in front of the shaft which is cut in an angle to set the blade's offset. The shaft forms a supporting spine running almost the whole length of the blade making for more soundness of structure.

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     This same spine is that central support upon which the blade flexes back creating that important dihedral to release water from its face evenly from both sides during the stroke which balances the exit flow, eliminating the tendency for the paddle to flutter from side to side. then as water exits off the sides it forms two vortices which comes around hitting the blade's spine which centers and directs the flow outward preventing the tendency for the paddle to ventilate translating to more efficiency because air isn't added to the mix. In effect, by mounting the blade before the shaft the paddle is loaded "above" its fulcrum, which is the bottom hand holding the middle of the paddle. In other words the shaft is pushing the blade as opposed to pulling it along. The blade hits the water at the catch in a less drastic angle allowing for more effectiveness during the catch. The paddle angle at mid-stroke being ahead of the moment of the shaft is slightly more vertical. attaining its exit angle earlier makes a lot of sense because a standing paddle stroke is less effective once the fulcrum hand is behind the rider. this has a lot to do with the ergonomics of the standing paddle form and the rider having to maintain their balance on a SUP.

 

     The shape of the ottertail's blade also has quite a lot going for it too. Since it comes to a rounded point the paddle enters the water gradually directing the water off to the sides, this forms the sideward vortices upward as the paddle drives deeper creating a cleaner flow and guiding the paddle through a less turbulent path. As opposed to a flat end which has more of a slamming at the catch initially releasing water out the bottom as well as off to the side, excessive shaft flex can exacerbate this effect.

 

Possible improvements to the ottertail:

     More blend on the spine's side transition at the back of the blade a bit of a blended spine on the face of the blade too longer broader blade as well as a proportionally longer shaft.

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