Asymetrical steering paddle

I was thinking about making a 0 degree steering paddle with a thick leading edge tapering back. I'm wondering if this might create lift and assist turns like a boats keel does. Any thoughts? Would it do what I'm explaining or is it a waste of time? I know that it wouldn't be good for paddling but instead for someone that mainly pokes.

Submitted by Kaimiloa on Wed, 07/12/2006 - 3:28pm

If it doesn't work for paddling use it for canoe surfing.

#1 Wed, 07/12/2006 - 7:06pm

Todd Bradley played around with that idea some years ago. I have photo some where. It looked like a keel on a sail boat, but with a shaft to one side. You could try emailing him for info at his website

Cheers Rambo

#2 Thu, 07/13/2006 - 12:19am

All it will do is potentially improve the resistance of the blade as it slices through the water. Much like the big bulb at the bow of large tankers which are more efficient than the knife-blade-bow of old design. Tear drop design is what comes to mind. I'm not sure how significant the "savings" would be. Whatever you may gain in flow, you might loose in the "footprint" as when you look at your paddle from the side, it would be thicker because of the assymetry.

In terms of creating lift you would have to create an airfoil (wing) which is a surface with a curved top, a flat underside and the highest point of your curve on top would not be in the middle but toward the leading edge and taper to the back (think teardrop with one side flattened). Any air or liquid, in our case water flowing over this surface will create a vacuum on top of the curved surface, because the air/liquid moves faster on the flat side.
And right there is the problem because say you poke on the right to make the boat go right. So if you poke right it would have the curved side of the paddle directed toward the boat because that's where it would lift to. Mahalo for the lift, however now you need to poke left and you still need the curve toward the boat to "lift" to the right, but now you have the "wing" backwards and nothing ever "flies" backwards. So the wing just became as efficient as a sack of potatoes and the drag pulling on the paddle is wiping out your gains.
I still like the idea but to be effective you would have to make two. A right and a left hand poke-paddle which still might paddle reasonably, but you are carrying a lot of wood.

In terms of creating lift forward. aint gonna happen. The day it does we'll all be sitting with a beer on the lanai and sending our paddles to do our battles.
My2 cents

On second thought: I'm not a steersman but I would look into putting an airfoil perpendicular to a 0 degree paddlers blade(check out With a foil like that you could influence potentially the lift (this time up and down) of the stern of the boat like in a trough for example or force the stern deeper into the trough, and all you would have to do is push the handle forward or backwards to change the angle of attack while maintaining a firm grasp on the paddle. I admit it's wacky because anytime you add anything you pay the price in drag.

#3 Fri, 07/14/2006 - 6:10pm

Thanks for all of the feedback. You never know what can come out of this kind of brainstorming.

My whole idea is based on the windward/forward lift that a keel produces on a sailboat. The sails produce leeward/forward lift and the two work together in propelling the boat forward. I'm no scientist, but I thought that a similarly shaped steering blade (wide leading edge tapering back/no flat face) could possibly produce a similar lift directed forward and inward towards the hull of the canoe. I figured that the inboard face of the blade would have lower pressure than the outboard face and thus produce the desired effect.

Maybe it could cause the opposite effect or be negligible, but I'll give it a try. I'm making a surfing blade first and then try this one.

#4 Fri, 07/14/2006 - 8:14pm

Please register or login to post a comment.

Page loaded in 0.242 seconds.