7 Degree Bent shafts

I enjoy paddling my solo with both sit and switch as well as traditional paddling styles. I carry a straight stick as well as a bent shaft. I find myself switching paddles frequently and sometimes find that a nuisance.

I’ve been reading up on 7 degree bent shafts and wonder if this would be a good compromise paddle. One that would allow good efficiency on the forward stroke as well as a decent J-stroke. Sort of a one paddle to do both without having to switch.

User’s advice? Thanks.

Maybe we kin…
git P-140 - Boy Genius, ta design a paddle dat ye kin’ change from a straight shaft to any angle bent shaft yer want in mid stroke. It kin’ have hydraulic actuators hooked up ta a pump an’ fluid reservoir run from a 12HP Coleman fuel powered gas engine. The control panel kin’ be mounted on de grip wit a whole bunch of dials, lights an’ “gray things” fer special effects. Git on it, P-140! Time a’wastin’…

Seriously - ah’ personally have not used a 7 degree bent shaft, but it would make sense that it would make a good “hybrid” paddle.


FatElmo, I have to read you twice to
comprehend what you’re saying. Is that your goal?

Kayakangler, 7 degrees may be a good compromist. I have an ash shaft 5 degree that probably bends to 7 under effort, and it works very well when paddled from a kneeling position.

Only twice?

Joisey accent and bents
Hey FE, I enjoy your send up of these questions and the Joisey accent. Reading twice just brings twice the laughs.

As far as bents, I have mixed feelings. I’d rather just develop really good technique with a straight. Before all you bent types get all bent out of shape (pun indended), I’m not knocking bents, just stating my personal preference. Maybe the solution is to switch to a 5 degree, then a 3 degree, then to a straight. :wink:

Shoot budd
don’t everbody talk that way in Geogia?

Wow, yer good, G2D

– Last Updated: Aug-03-07 12:04 PM EST –

Most folks need 4-5 times ta git wat ah' be'a jabberin' about. Takes me' dat much jus' ta write dis way.


Yup, ah’ also
prefer straight shaft fer 99% of me’ paddlin’. Very rarely use a bent shaft.


Red Rock Outfitters
in Ely has a good argument in favor on their website. But they also advocate a paddler’s position well aft of center w/suitable ballast to trim the canoe.

Not sure how well a 7deg would work from a center-seat solo, but I will be glad to run an extended test if someone will send me a sample (52" is my normal bent size, 56" for straight).

Would that make 54" my proper length for a 7?


How ya doin?

that’s not a Joisey accent that Elmo writes in.

In real life he speaks quite eloquently.


AAAAhhhhhhhhh! Now yer
gone went an’ done it, Andy.

The Seven Degree Solution
The 7 degree paddles DO work, though not as a total replacement. I’ve been using a 7 degree Sawyer Zephyr (graphite shaft w/glassed, molded cedar blade and cedar laminate grip) for the last three years. It has pretty much replaced a much loved Peter Puddicome 14 degree beauty simply because the Sawyer gives me the “pop” of a bentshaft while still allowing an effective correction stroke. Is it the perfect paddle? Nope. I almost always carry a separate straight shaft stick, currently a Bending Branches Black Widow (a terrific new design) when I’m in the twisties or shallow/rocky sections or a Turtle Ottertail for deep lake work. I use these three in tandems (Jensen and Bob Special) and solos (the Bob paddled “backwards” solo or an Advantage). Solo, it works fine from either position. I’m generally always in the stern in the tandems, but if I was in the bow I would probably trade the 7 degree back for the 14 degree Puddicome, as there isn’t the need for the corrections available from the 7 degree paddle. My paddling style w/the 7 degree is, I admit, more of a combination of correction and some sit and switch thrown in. Not beautiful to watch (the BCU folks would probably have a coronary), but it gets us where we want to go!

I thought the bent shaft
had a purpose…to allow a vertical entry into the water and a vertical exit.

If a paddler doesnt change body mechanics, I cant see this being accomplished by various degrees of bend.

Fear not
Your persona is intact! You add color to a somtimes drab P.net. I’ve met both you and CWDH, and both of you are eloquent, in life and behind the keyboard.


You might find this valuable to read…
…as it does a very good job of covering the subject. He does a fine job of explaining what will be, to some, not a very intuitive idea. It DOES work, but it is (as the column clearly states) a compromise. A good one, but one none-the-less. You’ll also find that the article begins with a note that there will immediately be those (on both sides) who will question the idea. And as we learn in P.net forums everyday, on that he is absolutely, without compromise, correct!


partially true
I find the article in your link to be misleading in that bent shafts are not always better. I agree thay are very good in a tandem racing hull, but in a solo canoes, bents can be very limiting and the mechanical advantage easily duplicated by a straight with only a slight change in technique.

very kind offer ?
How incredibly unselfish of you to make this offer! I’ll mail all my bents to you as soon as I receive a mimimal deposit. All you need do is transfer $5000 to my Caymen Islands bank account . Of course this is only a deposit and your money will be immediately refunded when requested.


oboy is page two of that link
clearly wrong…videotape any practiced freestyle paddler and they never lift water and use a straight shaft…torso rotation and a short forward stroke that ends at the hip is all thats needed. Keeping the forward stroke less than 18 inches and using torso rotation for power is all thats needed. You very seldom see it in touring paddlers. Whitewater paddlers yes, freestyle yes.

The problem with straights for sit and switch (which is what many Midwestern canoes are designed for) is that you have to end the paddle stroke at the knee. That is simply awkward and there is the tendency to carry the stroke back to the hip…too far. Bents allow you to assume a more natural sitting position and get the right angle.

‘decent’ J-stroke?
problem for me with this question is the proposition that a bent-shaft paddle doesn’t allow you to make a decent J-stroke.

I wonder then what would be a ‘decent’ J-stroke? The J-stroke that I use with my bent-shaft paddle works as good as with my straight shaft paddle, especially when preceded with a pitch stroke. If one has problems doing a correction like the J-stroke with a bent-shaft paddle, I would look into this first.

No problems with a J-stroke with a bent other than it tends to gurgle and my straight seems to have more power on that stroke. Perhaps just using the straight stick is the solution and save the bent for speed work. The bent will get me going 1 mph faster than the straight.