Crank Shaft Paddles

Anyone have any feedback on the “crankshaft”. Does its ergonomical shape really make that much difference? I have seen the advertisements claimimg that the crankshaft aligns the wrists during the stroke. Makes sense. Same consept as a “curl bar” in weightlifting.

Just wanted to know…

Search the archive
for “bent shaft paddles”. There is a ton of stuff.

Got mine…
A Werner Kaliste few weeks ago and so far it’s working as advertised. The pain in my wrists and fore arms is greatly reduced… It also has the ajustable ferule so you can play around with the feather. :slight_smile: GH

I use one…
…but I’ll be danged if I can explain how it works differently than a straight one.

crank shaft
I just bought a Werner Little Dipper this weekend and tried it out first. I have tendonitus in both elbows which is why it interested me. Everyone I spoke to said by aligning your wrists it also aligns the elbows. For the short time I was demoing it it helped and I had very little pain. Not only did the Werner rep say it was the way I should go but many kayaking stores and individuals said the same. The adjustable furral is great. If you use a feathered paddle your choice is 60 degrees or straight. With the adjustable you can set it at a 45 degree angle or any way you like. Try one. Bending Branches, lendel or werner… all good…

Ergo shaft
I have and love an AT Exception. Bends are more subtle than either Werner or Cadence (neither of which I have demo’d on the water - “air paddled” only). But my arms and shoulders never felt better. Thumbs up!


re: Bent shaft paddles
My wife Bonnie is a professor of human anatomy and physiology and she said the bio-mechanics of the bent shaft concept make perfect sense for most people. People are different, however, and this is an area where you should try it and make up your own mind. In my experience people who have been paddling for a while with a straight shaft have difficulty getting comfortable with a bent shaft. So it is better to start from the very beginning with a bent shaft paddle if possible.



Lendal Cranks
When my wife and I started getting serious about taking up the sport, we began by test driving boats wherever we could. Every vendor had a different brand of straight shaft paddle and we’d experiment with feathered vs. unfeathered. neither way felt ‘right’.

Then, when we took our first lesson (on a trip to Newfoundland) the only paddles they had were Lendal crank shafts, and they were feathered (only) at ~85 degrees. It was only after the lesson that I realized that I’d never thought about it. Now, I cannot tell you whether it was because of the crank paddle, or that we’d passed over the learning curve.

But, as soon as we got back to the states, and found our first boats, we promptly called that guy in Newfoundland and ordered a couple of those Lendal cranks. I got the Nordcapp; she has an Archipelago.


Feather angle
Considering only the feather angle, bent shaft paddles are most beneficial at small feather angles. Something like 12 degrees is neutral for most people. Thirty to 45 degrees is a common angle now. You lose most of the benefit of a bent shaft with something like 85 degrees, although there may be other benefits of a big feather angle. Ideally you don’t want to have to rotate the paddle with your right wrist (right hand control).

re: Feather…
I have no idea why but my feather varies on different paddles I use…

15* on my bent shaft

45* on the wing

60* straight shaft

??? they just feel good at those settings…


– Last Updated: Apr-29-04 2:41 PM EST –

got one,crank infusion by bending branches with dripless blades, great for shallow water esp; love it;;;;paladin makes a point though, is probably not good for white water , more of a touring ,rec paddle.

Crank Shaft Paddles
Have the Bending Branches Crank…wife and Daughter had straight shaft paddles. Ended up buying another Crank because they kept stealing mine every time we took a break. I do notice more power with less effort with the Crank, especially after using it for 2-3 hours then getting stuck with a standard shaft! The daughter is next in line for another Crank, and the price isin’t too bad at around $125.

bent shaft/cranks shaft paddles
Leon Somme’of Body Boat & Blade (Iceland circumnavigation 2003) told me that he liked the bent shaft paddle esp. when people were in rougher situations than they were used too. Reason why? They tend to grip the paddle too tightly and cause all kinds of problems… tendonitis mainly I believe. I prefer a straight shaft paddle and always try to keep a light grip even if I am getting nervous. But, I suppose if you have trouble keeping a light touch than the bent shaft would be ideal.


While the bend may give you a better angle on the pulling side, it’s worse on the pushing side, where I get my power. At best it’s a wash, but I think it’s a losing proposition. You also carry additional weight and I feel it’s less efficient for braces, maneuvers and rolls. The analogy to the curl bar does not apply because the force vector is in one direction and plane. With a paddle, you change direction, angle, etc. I think what it does best is relieve paddlers of the stress of carry too much cash.

Mine weighs 26 oz…
…and coupled with low angled touring blades it’s meant to relieve tendon and shoulder stress on long paddles. Once you get used to it, it rolls and braces just fine… GH

Disagree with disagree
Some brands have very pronounced bends (Werner, Cadence, Bending Branches to name a few). I agree that your upper hand is in an awkward position with these paddles.

My AT Exception has a much more subdued bend, that does not interfere with the push. I don’t even have to fully release my upper hand from it’s grip. AT’s have a double crank: The second bend rotates the wrists slightly so that the elbows come closer to your torso. Allows yoy to paddle in less of a “chicken wing” attitude.

Pricey? Yes, but at the end of a long day it makes a difference for me.


Huge difference for me
since I purchased a Werner Kauai last year. I used to get pain in my wrists after paddling about 8 miles with a straight shaft. I can now do 15 miles without any wrist pain. I also like the adjustable feather on the Werner paddles. I used to mostly paddle 60 degrees but now I’m mostly using 45, great to have that flexibility to adjust.

Which crankshaft
Having paddled a Lendal and owned a Kalliste and an ATXception 220cm 60 degree feather, this “contest” about which is best isn’t even close. The AT is lighter, more comfortable, very efficient for blending strokes, impossible to make flutter (as compared to the Werners)and doesn’t interfere at all with bracing or rolling. The Lendal is very heavy. The spoon of the Werners may may forward strokes a bit more efficient, but at the cost of flutter and difficlty controlling the paddle when blending strokes, skulling or rolling. The AT is expensive, yes, but it is worth every penny.

Sounds like an individual thing
I find little or no difference, except for an awkward feeling with the upper, driving hand. Try before you buy.

Upper hand…
…sort of like a boxer throwing a cross.