High angle but its low

So, lets say I have a Low angle paddle (Werner Camano) but I paddle high angle style…what are the draw backs of doing this? (I’m too po’ at the moment to buy a new paddle but like high angle paddling).

Is the paddle going to be less efficient? or not a huge deal?

It is no "huge deal"
Just keep using the high angle stroke.

You’ll end up a faster paddler.

All the low angle stroke will do is slow you down.

When and if you can afford a wing, you’ll be good to go immediately.



Any paddle, not any body
Any paddle, claims of design or heritage aside, can be used in a “high angle” mode. The benefit the boat feels is less yaw every stroke, and thus less of the power impulse will be wasted. Simple physics, from the boat’s standpoint.

The issue comes with biomechanics. Often, “low angle” paddles are sold fairly long. This can result in the top arm being held too high for biomechanical efficiency. The strongest position is with the hand and elbow at the same height as the shoulder. Much higher, and you are no longer efficient. Some racers will have the top hand as high as the eyes, but this is usually used by short distance racers (who are also very strong and well trained). Long distance racers will prefer the hand/elbow/shoulder alignment, and will use shorter paddles (not only to enable this position, but also to lower the “gear”).


works pretty well with a high angle stroke

This Karl guy
knows his stuff. Listen…


I paddle a high angle stroke with an Aquabound 220 and do just fine. As a matter of fact… better than fine.

It ain’t the paddle… it’s the paddler.

Paddlin’ on


How long is the paddle?
How long is the paddle?

How tall are you?

Always wear shark repellant
and so far it has worked 100% of the time. I have yet to see a shark in North Alabama waters.


Probably too long

– Last Updated: Sep-12-08 1:47 PM EST –

I experimented with high angle stroke with a previous paddle, which was a low-angle type. It worked OK at high angle but was so long (215cm) as to make the position awkward and probably bad for the shoulders. My 205cm Shuna works fine with high angle stroke, though I think it'd still be better for 5'2" me if it were 200cm.

Werner's shortest high-angle length is 205cm and their shortest low-angle length is 215 or 220cm.

It is really quite simple …
… question of geometry.

As Eric explained, part of it is to do with potential for flutter. Dipping the entire blade before pulling back should take care of this.

The second observation was that the low-angle paddles are overall longer and thus may require you to keep your hands too high. True, but that’s not all. Low angle paddles have blades that are comparatively longer than the blades of an equally long overall high angle paddle. That also has effect on how you paddle, but I’m not sure what it would be so I won’t comment on it.

Lastly, the curvature of the blade matters. I’ve noticed that blades that are more curved tend to require either an earlier release or a release to the side rather than up. With a low angle stroke, you can tollerate a more curved shape easier - you lift up from the side anyway. With a high-angle stroke it seems one needs to do a different motion to pull to the side and up rather than just up if the blade is curved - else you would pull too much water with your blade, thus reducing efficiency. I’ve seen this with some blades and the difference is very clear if you have a different blade at hand to switch back and forth…

WW paddles
If you like the Werner paddles have you considered using one of their whitewater paddles for touring? You could get one of them in 200cm.

Maybe one of the river running paddles like a Sherpa, it is a little heavier than the Shuna and has larger blades but the differences aren’t that great when combined with the shorter length. The Twist is a play boating paddle with a smaller blade area however I find a non sidecut profile better for general paddling.

Just my 2c

I have a 191cm Sherpa

– Last Updated: Sep-14-08 10:50 PM EST –

...for the WW use.

The thought did occur to me to get, say, a 197cm Sherpa for sea kayaking. But the 191cm Sherpa is *noticeably* heavier than the 205cm Shuna (which is not flyweight). The blades look like they're twice as thick, and they are larger. I don't think I want to use a bigger blade with heavier weight for hours of steady paddling.