# Length of bent shaft paddle?

How is the length of a bent shaft paddle measured - with the tape flat against the blade and shaft up to the handle or straight from the blade to the handle with the tape being the hypothesis of the triangle?

Only
a right triangle has a hypotenuse, it being the side opposite the right angle, and so the longest.

The longest side of a scalene triangle (3 sides of different length) is just called the longest side.

I’m not sure where the hypothesis is, but I have a theory…

What is the difference?
the average bentshaft is an 11-14 degree. We are only talking about a quarter of an inch or so. Get off the computer and go paddling.

Just kidding I have no idea and all my blades have been

shortened so I can’t even measure!

Interesting but…
I’d have thought that the measurements that matter most are shaft length, blade area and degree of bend: not too much to ask a paddle manufacturer to provide.

Ooops. Mitchell don’t give shaft length OR blade area. Grey owl don’t give shaft length. Believe it or not, Bending Branches don’t actually give ANY of those figures for their BB Special… though you could hazard a guess that their Sunburst 14 is a 14 degree bent, and they give blade area, blade length and overall length for that - so you could at least calculate shaft length.

What’s the betting that overall length is handle to floor… meaning that subtracting blade length doesn’t quite (albeit by fractions) give you shaft length?

Alas… if we boycotted every paddle seller who didn’t provide the basics of shaft length and blade area… we’d lose most options

I think
most manufacturers of bent shaft paddles list the overall length as the vertical height the top of the grip is at when the tip of the blade is held on the ground with the shaft plumb.

Of course, it is the shaft length that matters anyway for paddle sizing.

Shaft Length
I agree w/ PBlanc, the only thing that matters is shaft length; you want to just submerge the blade in the water to reduce ventilation, air streaming down the backface.

Shaft length is measured from the top of the grip to the neck, where the blade joins the shaft. If the maker perversely refuses to list same, one can arrive at the number mathematically, by subtracting blade length from overall length.

Getting the proper shaft length
I agree with the comments of pblanc and cewilson.

This raises the issue of what the proper shaft length is for you. Bent shaft lengths are typically shorter than straight shaft lengths because the bent shaft paddle is primarily dedicated to mechanized, high tempo forward stroking.

My own view is that, when the blade is buried, the shaft length should be such that your top hand moves straight out from your shoulder or slightly downward as you forward stroke. This would mean a shaft length that, when seated in YOUR boat, brings the grip up to the area between your shoulder and nose, depending on individual preferences.

You can calculate this shaft length before you buy a paddle by simply sitting in YOUR boat with a tape measure or stick, and measuring the distance from the water surface to the height you want.

I bought my bent paddles from ZRE. ZRE lists the paddle blade size and is used to calculate shaft/grip length. The following link is how I calculated my paddle length. http://www.zre.com/gearcare/paddlesport/paddlesizingguide.html. The folks at ZRE are very helpful and will work with you to calculate to get the correct paddle length.

Over all length
Over all length is what they give you. My 48 inch bent shaft has about the same shaft length as my 54 inch otter tail paddle.

That approach works as long as the
paddle blades are similar. If you are sizing, or “lengthing” a paddle shaft with a blade that is longer and narrower, or shorter and wider, then it will affect what shaft length feels “right.”

Fortunately for bent shaft paddlers, the blade dimensions tend to be similar.

seat height
A paddle that ‘fits’ one boat will be too short or too long in another. Your seat height and kinetics are important factors.