Degree For Bent Shaft Paddle?

Whats the best all around degree bend for a bent shaft canoe paddle for sit and switch paddling? I was looking at a 10 or 12 degree bend. Would you really notice the differnce between the two?

12 degree

– Last Updated: Oct-11-10 6:31 PM EST –

The bent was developed to optimize effectiveness when sitting on a canoe seat. As such. the 12 dg bend is what marathon racers have evolved to in the range from 0 to 18 degrees.

If you intend to kneel and use a bent, something near 7dg shortens your stroke and requirement for torso rotation to a far forward catch.

The 7 degree costs a lot of power on draws. prys, pushaways, etc, compared to a straight because you're more than halfway outside of " Winter's Window, the +/- 10dg range where the paddle is ~square to the stroke and effective. The 12dg, outside the "Window" is most effective for forward strokes, ~marginal for maneuvering.

Charlie, I am confuseld mightily!
“The 7 degree costs a lot of power on draws. prys, pushaways, etc, because you’re more than halfway outside of " Winter’s Window, the +/- 10dg range where the paddle is ~square to the stroke and effective”

I thought it would be just the opposite, with a straight shaft being most efficient for the “side of boat” strokes, and the 12 deg being least efficient, and the 7 being somewhere in between.

Of course, my brain is scrambled today from reading a set of instructions from a staff accountant that reads like a Monty Python skit…


All racers now say 12 degree
If we’re talking Minnesota switch paddling from a SITTING position, marathon racers, as CEW has said, have settled on 12 degrees after beginning up around 15.

Outrigger racers were using 10-11 degree sticks about 5 years ago, but I see the Mudbrook paddles are now featured at 12 degrees.

Hence, the entire community of SITTING racers seem to have settled on 12.

If you want to use a bent while kneeling, as I and a lot of other paddlers do, you may want to try less of a bend – something in the 7 to 10 degree range. But it’s not really a big deal to use a 12 degree kneeling; you just have to adjust your entry and exit points slightly.

I am confused too
but I didn’t have a bad day at work.

I would have thought the 12 degree worst, seven somewhat least worse and straights the best for sideways work. Unless you flip it over of course.

I hesitate to interpret CEW
But on the other hand, I have spent a lot of my life interpreting the tax code and the Bible.

So … I think he meant a 7 degree bend “costs a lot of power” compared to a straight shaft paddle.

another view
My belief is that if kneeling in a solo canoe and using a bent one must be willing to sacrifice certain strokes so that more efficiency can be gained on the forward. Certain in-water recoveries and maneuvering strokes are affected or even eliminated for some paddlers. My preference for what it’s worth, is to strive for an efficient forward stroke with a straight shaft so that these sacrifices are not necessary. If choosing this philosophy one should begin paddling with a straight. Neither approach is superior, just an individual choice.


Well, now it makes sense.
Assuming that CEW was lumping 7s and 12s together and comparing them to straights, then, yes, one DOES sacrifice power and control. I’ll drink to that!


I don’t think Charlie was going that far. His approach is correct for bents. He just didn’t open up the wider issue of bent vs. straight. In my discussions with CEW he well recognizes the advantages and limitations of each style.


to be mentioned as contradictory as the bible and as muddled as the tax code, but there you have it. Several significant others have said similar things, perhaps with a more scatelogical bend.t

I’ve re-written the original post for the literal amongst us. The 7dg bend compromises several maneuvering strokes, the 12 dg compromises those strokes even more.