7 Degree Bent shafts

7-degree works well
I use a 7-degree in my two solos as well as in the stern of my two tandems. I also carry a straight shaft as a backup and to complement it. I use the 7-degree 80% of the time, since it provides more speed/power than it gives up in corrective ability. It is a good compromise.

kayamedic correct
I agree with Kayamedic’s remarks about the second page. Any experienced straight shaft paddler can achieve just as effiecient a stroke as a bent shaft paddler. It’s just a matter of tweaking technique.

If this were true
marathon races would still be won by people using straight shaft paddles. And all those people i know who paddle with nothing but long straight paddles and have many more years experience than me, would have me bone tired keeping my solo straight with a bent shaft and trying to keep up with them.

The bent shaft paddle does not require the same paddling motion to effect correction at the end of the stroke. Just a mild thumb down finish, angles the blade enough to make the correction without a power robbing J. I use a 14 degree wooden bent shaft and a 12 degree carbon fiber bent shaft in both my tandem and solo canoes. I have many straight paddles and use them for fun, but for moving across the water efficiently, the bent shaft what gets me there with the least effort. Speed is not always my goal, but efficiency is.

respond to the point
I think your response to my previous post is to a much broader interpretation of the subject than adressed. My point was to the article in question on bents vs straights and the claim that straights always lifted water and bents never do and as a result inherently more efficient. That is just patently not the case with the right technique for each. I’ve seen many paddlers with bents lifting water due to poor technique.

In a sport where winning can be determined in hundreths of a second, any perceived advantage will be used. But marathoners’ need for efficiency is very focused on the straight ahead and sit-N-switch only. Competitors in Whitewater slolam, wildwater racing, and freestyle, and most WW and moving water recreational paddlers use straights. Lack of dedicated grip, the ability to do palm rolls, and ease of in-water recoveries are just some of the advantages.

Each paddler must decide for theirself what is most efficient according to their own particular set of skills and needs. I find little difference in straights and bents, when the right technique is applied for the particular paddle. For course if one uses only bents, the harder to learn technique for straights will never be developed and the paddler will spend the rest of his days being convinced that bents are more efficient.

which technique for straight paddles
do you mean? I paddle mostly with bents but with my straights I use the same forward stroke.

And if something is more difficult to do to get the same results, in my view that is less efficient?

Please read more closely. The statement was “more difficult to learn”, not more difficult to do.

With all due respect, I think we’re at the point of nit-picking verbage rather than discussing skills. We could continue to debate the rhetorical question of bents vs straights forever, but why? I say again, each paddler should decide for themself which paddle is most efficient for their particular set of skills and a given set of paddling conditions. I disagree that one should execute the Forward with the same technique with straights and bents. Without writing a treatise on the subject I do not teach that. I still would advise that anyone using only bents also try to master the forward with a straight. There are situations where it is more advantageous and the “complete” paddler should have both in his quiver.

but what is the difference?
I agree that “each paddler should decide for themself which paddle is most efficient for their particular set of skills and a given set of paddling conditions” but I do want to know what is the difference in executing a forward stroke with a bent and a straight, because

I do not experience a significant difference (in the forward stroke) that would make learning to make a straight shaft (or bent, for that matter) that more difficult.


In your case, there may not be much difference in the learning curve for straights vs bents. You may be one of those exceptional natural paddlers. I have found over the years however, that bents are more forgiving of body mechanics for students learning the forward stroke. This is only my anecdotal observation, not necessarily an eternal verity.

thought a lot about it, and I think it
may be possible what you say. But the point is, I never looked at it that way, also because I always have to defend my idea that a bent-shaft paddle can be suitable for a beginning touring paddler. With this idea I could even say that it can be easier for a beginner to paddle with a bent-shaft paddle?

You are suggesting a discussion of the broad topic of bent vs straight shaft paddles. That would take many pages and beyond the scope of this forum. Also as we see here, there are many opinions about this topic and who is to say which is correct.

A lot of this subject goes back to hull type being paddled, paddlers’ ability, goals, water and wind conditions, and especially if the paddler is seated or kneeling, just to mention a few. Many of my touring canoe classes are made up of tandem paddlers, because that’s the traditional hull people think of when purchasing a canoe. Many students are beginners, which means they are sitting rather than kneeling. A seated paddler has more difficulty leaning forward and getting their hands stacked outside the gunwale to achieve a vertical blade and a bent shaft helps in this regard. Beginners also tend to bring the forward stroke more aft and a bent keeps the blade vertical longer. Many solo beginners feel unnatural sticking both arms out past the gunwale. They feel as though the canoe will tip over so tend to want to keep the grip hand inside for balance, so there is some resistance to learning with a straight. So yes, generally I agree with you that for seated beginners, bents can work well. For a solo student who just does not want to kneel, a bent maybe, to start, but I strongly feel that a solo paddler if they are willing to kneel should start learning with a straight right away. For touring, my approach is that kneeling with a straight, with proper technique on the forward, in the long run is better. The application of power and transfer is stronger and the ability to keep the forward stroke closer to the center of rotation, thus reducing induced yaw, is easier with a straight. Additionally as mentioned straights are better for in-water recovery, palm rolls, switching powerface and backface, and duffeck based turns, so fit my style better.

There’s nothing wrong with having both in your canoe, especially on long trips. When the weather is fine and you’re just cruising and feeling a bit lazy, break out the bent and take it easy. Remember the “Complete Paddler”, has both talents in his arsenal. Keep in mind that this applies to touring canoe not necessarily to specialty canoeing like sprint racing, marathon, freestyle, or etc. These remarks are very general and by no means cover the topic completely.

Let’s cut through the emotion.

Bent shafts provide more efficiency and speed, all things being equal. This is inarguable.

Straight shafts are better at other aspects of paddling.

Most paddlers should have each (I do) and use appropriately.

A 7-degree bent is a compromise design, offering some advantages of each, and is a good option in many one-paddle situations.

What emotion ?

First, I present only my objective opinion, not an emotional one.

Second, you’ve got to be kidding. Have you been living in a cave? There is nothing in paddling that is “inarguable” Where there exist 2 or more paddlers there will be a difference of opinion about paddling.

Third, remember, opinions are like anal sphincters, everybody’s got one.


Brush up on basic physics
Then I guess elementary physics is arguable, too.

In terms of physics I do not see what a bent shaft can achieve that a straight cannot. Please explain your point of view based on physics. Thanks


7 degree bent
My buddy has an older Grey Owl 7 degree bent…it’s the same blade style as the Freestyle (straight) and the Marathon (normal bent).

It’s a sweet paddle and we both enjoy it (so there), and we both use straight shafts 99% of the time even though a 10-14 degree bent may be more efficient for cruising.

The 7 degree is a nice compromise between control (like straight) and ease of use (shorter paddle). His is around 54 inches which again is in between the 51-52 we’d use for bent and 58-ish we use for straight. With that big blade you can make a boat fly with his 7.

Sooner or later I will definitely order a 6 or 7 degree bent from Zav - because I know it would get used and enjoyed.