Bent Shaft Touring paddle quest./ poll..

Well. I am seriously thinking about retiring my trusty ole Werner straight shaft paddle and going Bent. While I have always paddled Werner, and LIKE werner I am open to other options so I thought this may be interesting. Lets call this an informal poll… answer all that you like or feel comfortable revealing…

-Paddle type you prefer…

Straight, bent, greenland

-Paddle length you prefer vs type of boat…

(heard a paddler giving someone crummy advice on size the other day and was curious how you decide how long is right for you)


Wood, plastic, alumininininum, fiberglass, carbon fiber


Good / Bad in your opinion ?

-if its not to personal, how many you own.

(me personally have about 4 paddles between WW and Touring)

-What is a fair price for a quality paddle in your opinion…

(Me, somewhere around a truck payment)

-Prefered brand

(me, Werner)

-annual income, waist size, color of hair…Oh wait, wrong questionaire, ignore these :slight_smile:

Now, keep in mind that this in not exactly designed to sway my purchase one or the other, this is just a exercise in curiosity.


Custom paddle
by Ray Kettlewell, made of cherry wood, modified ottertail, 60 inches…

AT Xception - carbon
bent shaft. the best feeling paddle i’ve ever used, bar none. it’s about $400. i own four sea kayak paddles including a Landal carbon bent shaft and a wood ZuZu. one white water paddle and three canoe paddles. who says i’m a gear head.

Superior Carbon GP

– Last Updated: Jun-07-04 6:34 PM EST –

My favorite paddle for touring? Superior Carbon GP. Definitely a truck payment. Warning - it can spoil you for other paddles. Could even change what boat you paddle.

How many paddles do I own? 5 now, recently down from 8. I have 2 Superiors (GP & Storm), a SET Wing, A Waterstick Zen (girlfriend's), and my only non-carbon paddle - a POS plastic Caviness I got free with a boat (that even Coffee doesn't want, 'cause he already has one).

I had and sold a Harmony (don't recall model - heavy alum/nylon thing) that I bought with the IK116 Inflatable (sold), an Aquabound SeaClude (won it - gave to girlfriend - and sold after I got her the Zen to replace it), and a Werner San Juan which I loved and used with my Tarpon 160 (worked so well with that boat I included it in the sale). At 240cm was too long for the SINK.

I have tried several others. EPICs were very nice. Did not like the only bent shaft I tried (AT Exception). Didn't like the ONE hand position - and what help on pull doesn't on push. Minor difference really, but am corrupted enough by GP that any one gear paddle feels a bit limiting, almost crude. tried some good wood GPs - some NOT (they are not created equal).

For bents - if I were shopping - Werner Kaliste with bent shaft looks nice (bonus if you want to remain brand loyal). One of the few paddles more expensive than mine! Lendals worth a look too.

Paddles are as important (maybe more) than the boat. At least as much difference in preferences/opinions. For better info:

What motivates this potential switch?

What boat would this be for?

How tall are you? Reach?


paddle of choice:

Bent shaft carbon Kalliste 220 with a CD Caribou.

My tendons love it…

Also have a Werner carbon Little Dipper and a Werner FG Camano…

a little more info
Paddles are as important (maybe more) than the boat. At least as much difference in preferences/opinions. For better info:

" What motivates this potential switch?"

I paddle bent shaft WW. I switched to bent with WW to relieve some wrist issues I was begining to have. Now, when I switch between touring and WW it feels odd. (not to mention a new piece of gear is always nice…)

“What boat would this be for?”

Perception Corona

" How tall are you?" 6’2" Reach? Long arms?


I agree with you about the paddle being as important or more important than the boat. As far as length, the more I paddle the shorter I prefer my paddle. If I recall correctly, my first touring paddle was a 240. After paddling WW with a 194cm, it seemed WAY to long. After doing a little home modfication it became a 226cm. I prefer a more vertical paddle stroke so I am thinking a 220 will be comfortable. I am basing this off of using my wifes Werner Camano which is 220. The only question in my mind is if the length should be adjusted shorter for a bent shaft.

On GP’s, I actually have one around the house. When i have used it it was actually fun and something that if conditions were right, i would like to try more of. For what its worth, most of my paddling is say 70 % river paddling with 30 % lake ocean paddling.


It depends----

I own 5 paddles and my wife owns 2 but I routinely use 3 of my 5 paddles. My choice depends on sea conditions and the wind.

The paddles that I use are:

  1. Werner FG Kauai 215 cm (about 30 oz)

  2. Toksook by Derek Hutchinson 240 cm (all carbon but about 41 oz).

  3. Superior Greenland Paddle (89 inches and I’ve never weighed it).

    My boat is a CD Gulfstream roughly 17’x 23" and I am 5’9" and about 220 lb.

    I usually use the Werner or the GP and carry the Toksook as a spare. If the wind picks up to over 20 knots, the seas get really rough or the surf gets real nasty, I switch to the Toksook. It is stronger and more supportive than the others.

    If I am looking to just paddle over a lot of miles then I am looking for the light weight and more vertical stroke of the Werner or the GP.

Werner Kauai Bent Shaft
I like the bent shaft carbon fiber Kauai with small diameter shaft. Did a lot to relieve wrist and elbow pain. Love light paddles! Mine’s a 215 - would have gone with 210 if it wasn’t special order. I paddle an Eddlyline Nighthawk 16 with a 22" beam.

My other paddles an Aquabound Seafarer AMT in carbon. It’s a 230 and I had it for my Safari inflatable, 25" beam and high off the water. Sold the Safari, now it’s my spare paddle. Thinking of cutting it down . . .


Paddle History
I started out with a FG Werner Camano 230cm, last year I switched to a Onno Carbon Mid tour 225cm (great paddle…very light), I just recently switched to a Lendal carbon bent shaft with two sets of blades (the archipelago blades for all day touring, and the kinetik blades for surf/rough water). I miss the super light weight of the Onno, but the comfort of the bent shaft Lendal is awesome. Lendal makes a great paddle, the 4 piece Paddlok system is versatile for switching blades and also has solid connection. Cost…about $350 with one set of blades, $500 with two sets. My boat is a Kevlar P&H Capella.

Mitchell Paddles
Makes a great double bent shaft in carbon fiber. Its 8 and 15 degree, and weighs 20 oz. Best paddle in my fleet by far.

Love my Epics
I use a 216 mid-wing in the ski and a 218 Wayfarer in the Scupper Pro. Both are one-piece. If I had it to do over again, I’d probably go for the length-lock in both so I could try moving down around 212-214 in the ski and maybe go up between 220 and 225 for the occasional Cabo excursion (218 with a 30" beam works, but sometimes longer would be nice). I also have a glass Werner Molokai that I don’t particularly like and a Big Spoons knock-off the Werner San Juan that hasn’t been wet in a while (anybody want to buy a couple of paddles?). Next paddle will probably be a Werner whitewater paddle for surf use.

Mitchell bent shaft kayak paddle???

somewhat limited experience

– Last Updated: Jun-08-04 2:06 PM EST –

but her it is. Decent paddles for me start at about where onno's carbon paddle starts,

I like a 215 for my 21.5 inch explorer, and have been known to paddle with a 220 on my 23 inch wide foster shadow. I have the torso of someone who is about 6'2" and my legs are about inch away from qualifing me as a midget, on an anthropolicigal scale of two standard deviations.

I love Greenland paddles and will get more experience with one.

I own an epic active tourer, full carbon, length lock, which is my main stick. almost always set at 215, and 60 right hand control, a lendal archipelago, bought used with boat needs to be made into a shorter two piece, lightning standard standard shaft carbon blades 225 bought new needs to be cut down and two pieced, a two piece recreational paddle from bending branches wooden heavy but barely doable, used for spare, and a couple of mitchell 230 wooden paddles very nice that we bought for the tandem. If I had it to do over again I'd go for an onno or epic carbon heavy duty surf capable fairly big bladed paddle, or a lightning standard all fiberglass, and an epic surf reinforced relaxed tourer spare for my euro kit.

I like shouldered greenland paddles but I have about 6 hours experience with two greenland paddles, a mitchell wooden, and a superior carbon fiber, both courtesy of Sanjay and a bit of experience with other home made paddles from other beneficent friends.

I like the versatility of straight shafts, and have had no experience with bent shafts
How could I keep my hands in the same place on the shaft all the time. Like raising and lowering a seat post, or tweaking the micro adjust on the tilt, I like to tweak my hand position on the paddle in tiny increments to use different muscles a bit or change the leverage, or sometimes more heavily and assymetetrically to compensate for heavy weathercocking, especially in high volume boats. I'm even known to do extended paddle turns with euro paddles from time to time, and shift to a pawlata roll if my screw roll fails and time allows.

Some folks love bent shafts, right on!
I'm sure I could learn.

Stiff paddle shafts are harder on the shoulders or any other body part which is having a hard time.

so far
My main paddle is a Mid-Swift 230. I tried a Werner Kalliste bent shaft 230 this past week-end and liked it a lot. If I hadn’t just laid out $3,000+ for my new boat, I would probably spring for the $400+ for the Kalliste.

I own two back-up paddles, A Seaclude, whose only use for years has been on my rear deck for emergencies, and another four piece whose name has escaped me.

I am 6’ tall paddle a Elaho and (in a few days) an Aquanaut. I found that a 230 works best for me as when I’ve tried 220 the blade does not fully submerge in the reach.

this will be interesting to watch…
Here’s my thoughts…

-Paddle type you prefer…


-Paddle length you prefer vs type of boat…



carbon fiber

-if its not to personal, how many you own.

five (5) 1 Epic Active, 1 Epic Relaxed, 1 Werner Shuna, 1 Werner junker, 1 Greenland Paddle

-What is a fair price for a quality paddle in your opinion…

I’ve paid just over $100 for a Greenland Paddle and considerably more for my Epic Signature paddles with Length Lock

-Prefered brand

Epic!! Best paddle built [grin]

AT Xception
I started with a Werner Camano, but after switching to the AT the Camano is now relegated to spare status. AT “feels” right, has subtle shaft bends, and has THE BEST shaft cross-section on the market.



– Last Updated: Jun-08-04 10:43 AM EST –

Are you going to change due to pain in your shoulders/wrists or only because you want to?


I originally switch my WW paddle due to wrist pain. I seemed to have no issues with a straight shaft touring paddle. Now, when I switch back and forth, I seem to prefer the bent shafts feel. I have recieced twinges of pain with a straight shaft touring paddle but it has never been extreme or even distracting.

I would have to say this is a switch based more on the “want” of a new paddle rather than a “need” based on comfort.

Paddles… Yummy. :slight_smile:

– Last Updated: Jun-09-04 6:08 AM EST –

Can't have enough I am finding these days...

For touring, I generally use homemade Greenland paddles. I have 4 paddles varying from 2.5' blade width and 80" long to 3.5" width and 84" long. I have one storm paddle.

I don't really use Euro paddles when I go out, but I practice with them just so I understand what others are talking about, or I am somewhat on mark when talking with others. I have a 220 Aquabound AMT (my first paddle ever), a 210 Whetstone carbon (cut down from 220), an 205 Onno midtour "signature" (carbon and FG mix), and an all wood 190 Cricket small touring.

For white water, I have a 194/45 (degree) Werner Quest (don't use this much at all -- too long), a 191/45 Seven2 I series (okay for "easy" water -- blades too soft and small), 180/30 (proto) Big Spoons with carbon blade and FG shaft (I love the big honkin blades for fast "must make" moves), a 185/30 TAP (custom ordered) Werner Freestyle (I am still learning this paddle but I think the blades may be smaller than I want). Just ordered a custom signature 185/30 TAP Onno WWSurf and looking forward to trying it. The Onno will have slightly larger blades than the Freestyle and may turn out lighter.

Don't ask about cost, and I actually have not tabulated the cost of all the paddles. But obviously a good, or "right", paddle is important to me, probably more than the boat. I have gone on to custom ordering paddles because existing stock of paddles are way too long for me (and my wife and kids). I can always get used boats, sometimes cheaper than for the paddles.

Never tried bentshaft, although I am intrigued by the Waterstick Zen (I believe) which has a 12 degree feather. The shortest length is however 190. I think I would want no more than 185. (Oh no, another custom order if came down to it.)


re: Bent shaft paddles
I use a Werner bent-shaft carbon Camano, my wife a bent-shaft Little Dipper, also carbon. Length is very dependent on your style and the width of your boat. Mine is too long at 235-cm because I wanted to be able to use if for my Klepper Aerius 1. For my narrower Kajaksport Millenium, a 220-cm length would be ideal. But that is me and your preferences might differ. My wife, 5-feet tall to my 6-feet, has a 210-cm length for her Impex Mystic.

FWIW, a bent-shaft paddle is the way to go IMHO. I have other paddles, all straight-shaft, mostly wood and one fiberglass, but once I got my hands on a carbon bent-shaft there was no looking back.