The luxury stroke for boats that steer…
The SO Terrik has long been a standard in the squirt world. The original articulated blade shape- this one has an awesome feel for steering mid-stroke. It’s a light strong, fast-releasing blade shape. A lot of people like them for creeking too because they only need a small deep spot to get a stroke in shallow water. This blade is quite trim for minimal resistance when roaming the Realm. If you’re thinking of a good paddle for squirting and rodeo or play (something siliar but bigger), consider The Riot Styk.
Blade Size: 90 sq. in. 7 1/4” by 18 1/2″
Most popular lengths:
- Squirting~ low 180s to 196 cm.
- Rodeo/Cruising/Creeking~ 192-198 cm.
The SO Terrik blade shape evolved over a three year period from about 1980~ 1983 and went through about twenty configurations before its final shape was realized. It was originally derived from the popular “Slasher” blade design which was my first design. I designed the Slasher just after apprenticing Keith Backlund in 1975. The Slasher was designed to minimize blade flutter by balancing the blades area side for side at the angle of attack which it enters the water. It had some problems however- the corners of the tips tended to wear out quickly and the shape served up weak and assymetrical Duffek strokes~ causing the blade to try to roll the shaft in the user’s hands during Duffeks. It also had a large bump on the lower inside which prohibited bringing the blade close in to the boat early in the stroke. I modified the Slasher with a round tip and an unusual “S” shaped cross-section to create the “Strider” design. This was the real starting design for the SO Terrik. I was starting to pursue minimalistic shapes.I felt the Strider was still too much pull and so holes were drilled through the blade in various fashions. This shape concept was called the “Torquer” and was finally a soft enough feel. The holes in the blade perforated the eddy which forms on the back of the blade. This eddy is one of the prime causes of the wobble felt when pulling a blade symmetrically through the water and the holes did a lot to neutralize its effect. This produced a blade with the softest possible feel but there were still two problems. The first is that the eddy could not be completely canceled out and so there was still a hint of flutter. The second problem was that the blade shape made it hard to transfer body english applied through the wrists into effects felt in the performance of the boat. In other words, the shape was too bland to communicate the user’s intentions in a subtle fashion. As a solution to the bland feel and in an attempt to create a blade that would rudder subtly when surfing, I conceived a bump on the lower outer end of the paddle. My thinking was that if the twisting effects could not be erased, maybe they would be easier to deal with if they could be redirected in a single direction with a rolling of the wrist. Giving the “wobble” a sense of direction introduced “flavor” to the paddle, making it easier to transfer body english to the boat through accentuated twists of the wrist. This was the last step to minimize the detrimental effects of wobble on the feel of a stroke.In the beginning the bump was subtle and the blades were relatively large and still had about eight holes cut through them. Some even had a dihedral ridge hand carved down the center of the power face. The earliest versions with bumps on the end were the first to be called “S.O. Terriks” even though there were over a dozen different shapes. The designs evolved to have the outer bump, called the ‘Dipping Edge’, grow larger as the inner bump, derived from the original Slasher, grew much smaller. All the while the lines of the upper blade were smoothed out. As the blade shape grew smaller and sassafras started being used in shafts, the softer feel became available without having to drill holes in the blades. Finally the shape arrived at its present perimeter around 1983. Another alteration to the shape evolved in 1989 when I filled in the bumps on the back of the flat faced blade. This improved the wing characteristics of the blade shape for when it was being used edgewise during sliding strokes. Advanced screw and mystery maneuvers were demanding more and more sliding strokes and there was need for the blade to pull in a slick and stable manner edgewise. These blades had a smoother feel but there was a price of added weight to pay. Eventually the shape evolved to its present “Trik Style” form around 1996. This means the blade is centered on the shaft — like a canoe paddle is (a “bi-facial dihedral”). This keeps the weight low, the flex high, and still maintains excellent wing dynamics. Although many people consider the S.O. Terrik blade shape to be small, the folks who use them say it is just enough blade to get the job done. The blade shape is superior to normal symmetrical and asymmetrical blade shapes by way of being more efficient. Although only subtly better in many ways, the benefits add up to a tool which works very well for what it was intended. Some of the benefits are as follows:1. The smaller blade shape is always able to rip through the water instead of sticking into a certain patch of water. This allows a fuller range of motion per brace or stroke. This gives the user more fluid ability to shape the stroke so it best supports his effort and it allows a fuller range of muscles to apply to the work needed to be done. This combines to create a more fluid, dynamic way of dealing with unusual strokes that can shape the performance of the boat in crucial situations. It also helps guard against shoulder injury by presenting less initial impact than what is found in most blade shapes.2. The smaller perimeter means that the blade is extended less from the strength-giving center ridge running down the center of the blade. This lets the perimeter be stronger as it refers more quickly to its support system — the center of the blade. Having a minimal perimeter also helps transfer the stress of large impacts over the entire structure of the blade which better helps it to bear the load inflicted.3. Having the minimum necessary blade area means there is less wood in the blades. This means the blades are lighter which greatly improves the “swing weight” of the stick.4. The rounded tips have no corners to wear out first, and contribute to a smooth entry and exit for strokes at any angle.5. The dipping edge enables you to rudder with a variable amount of blade which gives varying amounts of controlled resistance.
6. The dipping edge also allows for the superior feel found in these paddles. This is because it lets the user roll his wrist to make the power face pull at a greater variety of angles — even up. This is very important in short squirt boats which can flip end for end in unfathomable angles. The better applied stroke angles mean the work is being done more efficiently, with enhanced feel. The blades are “articulated” to better address the variable needs of cubic steering strokes.
7. The tight perimeter of the blade shape helps the paddle leave the water faster — its “releasability“. This is very important during transition moves, such as cartwheels, when blades can easily be bogged down in the water so much they can’t be set up quickly for the next move. This minimizes the user’s reaction time in very crucial junctures of performance.
8. The 40 degree feather helps minimize the users reaction time also. This is because it takes a few fractions of a second less to twist your wrist the lesser amount. The lesser angle also allows for a better bone alignment in the upper, (pushing) hands wrist. This means more of the work of a stroke is being done through bone on bone junctions instead of flexed ligaments and tendons. This coupled with the small powerface makes a blade that fatigues its user less. This lets the user have more energy for more important things — like playing.
It functions well as an adaptive devise for amphibious humans!