Bent paddle in the stern

I am thinking of buying my first bent paddle does anyone have trouble streeing with these? I am looking at the Wiskeyjack paddles any advise on the best one for flat water?

Don’t know about “Whiskey Jack” ones
but I use a ZRE bent shaft and I paddle stern.

Just did 16 miles yesterday.

You can do every stroke that you do with a straight shaft.

You will do a better sweep stroke with a bent then you ever did with a straight, and a faster rudder, (if needed).

I would never go back to a straight.

I use it racing as well as lilly dipping



a caution
sometimes backfaces of bents are not reinforced for pries.

Bents are best paddled from sitting position which optimizes the chances of getting a vertical stroke.

Bents are not as versatile as straights, as some strokes…notaby jams must be inverted. So no you cannot do everything a symmetrically dihedral blade can do. But most paddlers dont care about those more exotic strokes.

I snapped a ZRE doing a stern pry on the Missinaibi…way out of reach of that 800 number.

It takes time to get used to the odd feeling of a J stroke in the stern due to the asymmetrical grip. Bents are best used for hit and switch…a very fast way to go somewhere. New paddlers use a raw disorganized form of it anyway but it requires practice to become coordinated. Its well worthwhile to learn.

I like ZRE too
but it takes a while to get used to correction strokes with a bent. At least for me.

get bent!
I have raced on tight tiny winding black water rivers, to huge rivers and open water in the Florida keys. I have used a Zav in water so rough that the bow and stern were in the water and the middle had air under it.

So in all sincerity I say Get Bent!


Denver NC

whiskyjack paddles are pretty nice
I should say though that you might want to get a cheaper paddle to try it out. I hated my first bent paddle, and got rid of it after one 8 mile paddle.

It was a BB 14 degree paddle, at 52 inches. I got a ZRE at 12 degrees and 48.25 inches, and I would marry that paddle if it were legal, I love it that much.

Another reason for cheap . . .
I found it took a couple of years’ dabbling until I found the best length for me and my boat.

I have a Whiskey Chaser that I’m selling because it is longer than I now prefer.

On the other hand, better to buy and sell a good paddle than buy and discard a junky one.

the object of the bent is to have a
perpendicular plant and a perpendicular exit.

As everyones body mechanics are a little different some will attain that goal with a 14 degree bent and others with some other angle.

The bent is a good reminder to practice your forward stroke with good biomechanics. Its a tool, and you can use it well or badly.

the objective of a bent-shaft paddle is
to make the forward stroke better.

How that is accomplished is debatable,

and how much better is unsure and probably

also depends on how you paddle.

Wether the advantage is significant (enough) also depends,

also considered the possible trade-offs.

All in all I think that for most dedicated paddlers

a bent-shaft paddle is an advantage for touring paddling,

even when they do not use the so called sit and switch technique

to go straight, that is only a real advantage when paddling with

a high stroke rate that makes correction strokes to go straight

too difficult.

My limited experience
My experience has been with strong bow paddlers,deep flat water and straight tracking boats.For that I like a straight long bladed vouager or ottertail type paddle. I can pry the stern around better with the long blade.I tried a bent for this work once and didn’t like it.


Bent in a kayak?
Anyone else doing it? I’m thinking of a Zaveral but I need a paddle that handles rocks well in the rivers. Also I’m thinking of going upp from 48 to 50 inches. Any advice. Anyone got a paddle I should try in Central NC?

I use a bent. The technique differences on the various strokes are minor and you quickly adapt. I had no problems with the switch.

varying degrees…
I’ve never paddled a Wiskey Jack but I have straight paddles and ones with 7 and 14 degree bends. It is easier to do the steering strokes with a straight paddle but a 14 degree paddle works just fine. The 7 degree is a nice compromise and my personal favorite paddling tandem.