Angle Oar for limited arm movement

Has anyone tried the Versa Angle Oar? It was promoted on the May 6 Paddling Gear issue for people with limited mobility or joint problems. Seems like it might be ideal for arthritic hands/wrists/arms experienced by us older paddlers. A tad expensive at $315 but would enable me to be out on the water again I hope. Would enjoy reading others’ opinions and ideas. Maybe there’s a similar product out there?

Are you asking about a kayak paddle wirh offset blades?


Have you ever considered or tried a Greenland paddle? Much easier on the joints, shoulders and body than a Euro.
Check out Lumpy Paddles:
Less $$ than an angle oar.

I’ve never seen one. I have some arthritis and a damaged shoulder. I use a narrow bladed Wind Swift paddle which is very similar to a Greenland style. The narrow blades reduce the impact on your joints.

Besides the fact that there’s no need to lift the recovery hand more than a few inches higher than the power hand, I see one other advantage that other suggested methods won’t help with, and that’s the way the paddler can push with one hand and pull with the other without any need to rely on their core muscles to supply the effect of a fulcrum (I say “effect” because in the case of regular paddling, this function is not as simple as the fulcrum most people think of when they hear the word, but the end result of having one’s upper body do what it must to remain stable in space is much the same). With that Angle Oar, the paddle will pivot at a single point in space regardless of the person’s ability to keep it there, so both arms can assist no matter how little stability of the upper body they can maintain. Now, the downside of that will be that the motion of the blades is far less efficient, swinging in simple arcs of short radius instead of traveling in a straighter line alongside the boat. In any case, I can see the possibility of a person needing more help than light weight and small blades can provide.

As far as (somewhat) similar products, a small boat and standard oars might be good. I’ve seen some very decrepit old guys who get around quite well in a rowboat. Even if limited to using arms alone, rowing makes more efficient use of whatever muscles you are able to use (even if you can use all of them!) than paddling does. There’s that looking-backward thing, of course, which will be a deal-breaker to some, and you can’t get a rowboat that’s both light and stable for a price that many people would call cheap.

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Thanks to all for your ideas. I never considered a narrow blade paddle and will look into them. Guideboatguy’s comment re: less efficient paddling is an important consideration for us since our lake is also used by motorboats and waverunners. My grip problem is limited to one hand and wrist, a result of carpel tunnel & arthritis. Padded yakgrips have helped, but it’s the repetitive wrist strain (for want of a better description) that takes its toll.

I paddled quite a bit within 2 months after wrist surgery for a fractured distal radius on my dominant hand 9 years ago – I had some tendonitis in the hand as well as a result of pressure from the cast and from the ways I was compensating for lack of flexibility . Two things helped a great deal. First is that I use a lightweight wooden Greenland paddle and second was that I wore a therapeutic compression glove on the affected hand – in fact I even added a small oval piece of closed cell foam under the back of the glove to increase pressure on the tendons. You don’t have to grip a GP hard at all as the thrust comes from leveraging the paddle, pushing the opposite hand with a fairly straight wrist – the need to flex the wrist or stress the tendons in the back of the hand is minimized, compared to using a conventional blade paddle…

Do give Bill Bremer of Lumpy Paddles a call. In addition to his paddle carving artistry, he’s also a BCU coach. He’s extremely knowledgeable, his hand-carved paddles are very light weight, and by understanding your issues he’ll know the blade size that will serve you best. Plus, he’s fun to talk with.

His phone number is at the bottom of this page: You can’t go wrong and it will cost only your time.

Hi Seabird,

Just seeing your post now. I’d be happy to point you to a few customers who are using our Versa paddle if you’d like to get firsthand feedback. Also, just a though, you might be able to get away with starting with our Gamut Paddle Holder instead; it uses your own paddle. That’s a nice interim option for paddlers who still have some limited mobility but are not ready for the angled Versa paddle quite yet.

Thanks, Meg McCall (Owner of Angle Oar)