Bent shaft paddle technique

I purchased my first bent shaft. How does the following sound for paddle technique? Any other tips (no pun intended)?

For Bent Shaft Paddles to start the paddle stroke, the paddle is turned vertical on entry to grab water as you reach forward to grab gulps of it. Follow through is shorter from a leaning forward position then sitting straight up again, thus pulling water, so the bent blade enters square to the water and very vertical as you reach forward in your stance and grab water. The twisting action for ruddering is marvelous once you get used to it, as the twisting the paddle while ruddering (trailing paddle in the water at the stern or back of the canoe) makes the boat turn! Flex the paddle, turn the boat, a lot!

Good for a sprint
but if you exagerate the leaning forward you will get tired fast!

And there are two ways to get to the…

the one that you describe, and the one with the “D” motion where your paddle comes out of the water and makes a circular “D” motion instead of up in the air.

On a long distance race, I like to combine both for a change.

Both of them can be practiced while sitting still in the canoe and just stabbing the water.

Once most people learn the proper us of a bent shaft paddle, they never return to straight.



Quit the leaning.
There are plenty of discussions on how to do it, you need to get with someone good and work with them for 20 minutes.

Don’t lean forward with the intent to straighten up on the pull, the boat will bob vertically. Rotate upper body some, stick paddle in, rotate back to normal whilst shoving paddle back and down using mostly shoulders and some arm on the down. Paddle should exit near your waist.

I just had to use the “Whilst”.

Hey a P-net stranger heard from
Congratulations on your recent USCA marathon kayak championship.

Can I get your auograph Sat at the Lumber River Race?




– Last Updated: Sep-13-06 12:57 PM EST –

How does this sound?

Still needs work, but my version of a forward stroke is to wind shoulder of top hand back, while turning shoulder of bottom hand forward. The arm of bottom hand is staight out and top hand is near forehead, back is vertical. Slight hesitation to gently feather paddle into water to not disturb it, then unwind torso, punching forward with top hand, arm of bottom hand is mainly straight and acts as fulcrum. Paddle is near boat and vertical for power stroke.

For myself, I have found that an almost exaggerated planting of the blade causes it to act as a wedge which pulls the canoe forward. The draw back is the second motion which propels the canoe. I find that I get as much forward motion from the plant as from the draw of the paddle.

moving the paddle

– Last Updated: Sep-13-06 6:30 PM EST –

Keeping the bottom arm pretty straight is good. Using the bottom hand as the fulcrum while punching out with the top hand is not good. I don't know if I'll explain this very well, but I'll try. The top hand/paddle grip is actually the fulcrum. The reason is that the paddle blade stays vertical or close to it for longer than it will if you use the bottom hand as the fulcrum. If you want to see what I mean, just pick up the paddle and try both actions. The vertical paddle blade gives you the most forward drive.

BTW, that's from the Canoe Racing video that gets referenced from time to time.

As far as the force from the top hand is concerned, I believe the correct way is to drive _down_ with the top hand and arm. I actually try to paddle so that it feels like I am driving down with the shoulder. If I focus on driving down with the hand an arm, I wind up just arm paddling. Driving down with the shoulder helps me get the torso muscles involved. edit: I just re-read canunut's post. I think he explained it better.

And for the first poster, ditto on what canunut said on not bending forward then straightening back up. I've seen that done, and the result is exactly what he describes - a lot of bobbing up and down, which is very inefficient.

only one who’s thinking goony stroke?

– Last Updated: Sep-13-06 8:19 PM EST –

... or American stroke?

This line from jpc's original post caught my attention: "The twisting action for ruddering is marvelous once you get used to it, as the twisting the paddle while ruddering (trailing paddle in the water at the stern or back of the canoe) makes the boat turn! Flex the paddle, turn the boat, a lot!"

If this is a goony, does it matter?

jpc, is the powerface or the back side of the paddle facing toward the boat or away from the boat when you do your ruddering?

I am still waiting for my canoe!
I have not been in the water yet with the paddle. I pulled the information from

I got a Bending Branches not from ozark.

ok, I’m convinced of it now, thanks

Thanks for the tip,
Maybe fulcrum not the right word, just meant not pulling back with the arm. Not at all familiar with racing stroke, and just learning to solo canoe last 2 years. Have to look into racing technique sometime thanks!

ouch - better link
I’m sure they are nice folks to deal with, but their description of the stroke isn’t very good. A much better description of the bent shaft stroke is on the J&J Canoe website

bent shaft remenber you are pulling the canoe foreward. if you watch the BEST paddlers{tec drops off fast from the best to the rest] the top hand is high kayak like[ i just watched terry kent in the 90 miler as he flew by] and is driven down because as the paddle moves through the water back it must go downto keep power on it

try with a gps to see the difference with all top drive then bottom pull i do both timming is the key plant the paddle, drive down and at the same time pull the low arm down and back

have fun