looking to buy my first bent kayak paddl

…any suggestions? I can get a very good price on Werners so that is my main product line… I like a more high angle approach…tanks for any input…

what have you used?
The top of the line Werners for high angle paddling are the Cyprus and the Ikelos. Foam core carbon fiber, about 25 ounces. A totally smooth back face makes sculling and ruddering strokes beautifully silent and powerful.

The Ikelos has a larger blade than the Cyprus. You’ll have to try them to see what size works for you.

The Shuna and Coryvrecken (sp?) are the next step down. About the same weight, fiberglass blades with the same shaft. The blades have a slight ridge on the back. Very nice though.

Are you looking for a bent shaft paddle because of a previous injury or pain?

I used to prefer bent shaft paddles
Now I don’t. I have greenland paddles and Lendal paddles with both bent and straight shafts. I use no feather with the Lendal paddles. I can shift back and forth with all of them but if I am using a Euro paddle I prefer the straight shaft. I like the option of moving my hands around. Maybe that is a consistency thing but I don’t think so. I have a bent shaft AT WW paddle that I am thinking of replacing.

I used to prefer straight shaft paddles
Now I don’t. I have a bent shaft AT and a bent shaft Werner. Both are excellent. I paddle unfeathered and have no trouble shifting my hands with either. Forward stroke is more relaxed as the bend fits naturally in the hand. Rolling and bracing are better because I know exactly the orientation of the blades.

Different strokes for different folks!
Enjoy your bent shafts.

Try some
I have 210 Ikelos, 210, I think, Cyprus, you are welcome to try them. Mark has 205 Ikelos, he is much harder person to pin down, but worth a try nevertheless.

I would consider Corryvrecken/Shuna, I like Shuna’s bite more than Cyprus, can’t make any comments regarding Corryvrecken. The non-foam core blades can be had in FG.

Used to paddle bent
Now prefer a straight shaft. Have tried both the Lendal and Werner, but with my long wing span (I’m 6,3 with longish arms) the bends and grip don’t seem wide enough. Do miss the easier indexing of a bent shaft, but otherwise am happy with the straight shaft.


– Last Updated: Apr-14-10 6:53 AM EST –

The Werner foam core paddles are absolutely A++ top paddles. I've been paddling a bent shaft Ikelos (205cm) for 4 years and my buddy paddles a straight shaft version. Just two days ago we switched for a mile or so and I can say I didn't like the straight shaft and he didn't like the bent. That is almost certainly due to what we are "used to" but I think there is a benefit to the bent shaft, YMMV. Another issue that comes up with these paddles is their stiffness and blade size (Ikelos). If I am paddling hard in a surf session I definitely feel strain in my joints the next day. It is not so bad on long touring paddles but if I go more than 10-12 miles I will sometimes be a little sore the next day. The big blade (Ikelos) and super rigid paddle is not forgiving to the aging joints but then again that super stiffness is really efficient at moving the boat, that is what you're paying for. My next paddle will be the smaller Cyprus in a bent shaft. But that is only because I am getting a little older and I already have the Ikelos. Another issue is length. You don't say how tall you are or how wide your boat is but I personally think they could make a shorter paddle than the 205. I am 5'8" and paddle a 21 inch boat. I would get a 203 if they would cut one for me. I have spoken to several Ikelos users who wish they had smaller paddles.
I highly recommend the bent shaft Werners. Good luck.

agree on length
I too am surprised they don’t offer one shorter size of the high angle paddles. I’m 6’ and do well with the 205 size. If I were shorter, I think I’d want a slightly shorter paddle.

Gotta try it
Paddles are like shoes, what fits great for me may be horrible for you. You just gotta try it and find out what you like. Talk to the sales rep’s and get a paddle they think will work for what you want to do.

Or buy used and resell until you find the right paddle.


I recently bought a used Werner, bent FG Paddle for playboating that was $100 used (over $300 new). It’s beat up some, but the things are almost impossible to destroy, so I’ll probably use it until I get a hold of something I like better. After 2 to 3 years of hard us, I can probably still get $80+ out of it.


Rick, if you want to try one
I have a 230 cm AT Exception. Much milder crank than the Werners. If it looks like a Pymo trip comes together I will bring it. Or I could send it to you to try - I am paddling my QCC with a GP now, but I do not want to sell the AT.



– Last Updated: Apr-14-10 10:42 PM EST –

I have an AT T4 Carbon that I really enjoy. The AT bent shafts have a really nice feel. The T4 blades are very compact (long/narrow). These are fantastic paddles for the money and the construction is very durable.
Wanting another bent shaft paddle to suit my high-angle mood... I just bought a Werner Ikelos on sale at REI. I was nervous about the big blades as I have always tended toward smaller blades. I love it. Feels very fast and the bends are as nice a feel as the AT. Very very light. I dropped 5cm in length for the Ikelos and the reduced momment-arm keeps the big-blades from being too much. I'm 6'-0" and the 210 Ikelos feels perfect, but I couldn't imagine going any shorter.

I considered the new AT Columbia high-angle paddle, but the weight of it kept me away. Probably another great AT paddle, just a bit heavy.

I've tried a few Lendal paddles over the years and even owned a Kinetik for a short while... I know a lot of people like them, I just couldn't warm-up to them.

I have a couple Shuna’s now… a fiberglass and a carbon. Straight shafts… I am more into high angle strokes so I like 220 length but it seems you like even shorter paddle lenghts…Hmmm. makes me think maybe I might rethink the length…


– Last Updated: Apr-14-10 8:38 PM EST –

I probably will have a new paddle by the time we get to Pymo...... (inside joke here) I seem to have a whole lot of pocket money this past half year and have an inkling to get to know a bent paddle while on Lake Erie this spring......got me a Palm dry suit( after returning a Stolquist) that came in really handy when I dumped my Wildfire waiting to start a race a few weeks ago...took second for the 3rd year in a row in my solo class...lost by 34 seconds without really trying again...Some day I'm gonna get competitive...By the way, would that GP be that beautiful paddle from NT? I lusted after that one that weekend and am glad to know it's not leaning against your wall. I'm thinking I'm gonna get away from canoeing and paddle my yaks this year...I haven't used my Avocet in a year and a half....just been paddling my Aquanaut and the canoes.....It's rough having so many toys......

Thanks for all your inputs…
I sort of need to go with a Werner cause of a pro deal price. Otherwise, I’d go with Patrick’s paddles from Onno…

No injury, just a progression in gear…

as I said
you are welcome to try my Ikelos.

220 is a definite overkill if you prefer high angle style. You are a bit shorter than I am, and 210 is pretty much perfect for me.

can’t go wrong…
w. the Werner performance paddles. Mine is a Cyprus 210, straight shaft. Love it.

Never went for bent shaft bec. I have no joint issues in wrist or elbow - yet.

A rep for Werner once was presenting paddle choice infor to a group of us at a symposium. He said that some people w. wrist/elbow/forearm issues can benefit from a bent shaft. He was being careful not to be giving a quasi-medical opinion.

He was quite refreshingly honest that bent shafts add weight and the additional labor to manufacture them adds cost. Obviously to some those are minor considerations or no consideration at all.

However, it made for a balanced, non-hype contrast of the two styles. In the final analysis it is personal preference that drives the choice.

Cut and paste from the old website
Written 8 years ago and I still have the mold / plug sitting here.

Thoughts on Ergo or Bent Shafts ( bs )

O.k., I paddle alot and consider myself fairly sensitive to changes in equipment. I do not paddle multi day tours where the cumulative effects both positive and negative have more of a chance to build up. Many of my knowledgeable customers and I have put lots of miles on my prototypes and I know what I am going to build. The people who want the bent shaft who already have one of my other paddles want this new one strictly for long distance touring. They do not want to use the b.s.paddle for fast /long day paddles.

I talk to a lot of industry people and always ask for their opinion on the bent shaft, these are people who have been paddling a long time and can use any paddle they want. “What for?” is usually the answer. I think the paddling for a long time part has a lot to do with that answer, but many think Bent Shaft paddles only live up to their initials ( b.s.)… THEM… Not us.

I think the bent shaft paddle would shine on a long point a to b type trip or crossing where a joint problem may even be threatening. This is mere speculation on my part, I am buying into the hype that this paddle will minimize flare-ups. One thing I do know is I have been working with my hands my entire life with no problems other than elbows that rattle more than the spray can I might be shaking while my total keyboard time (as of today) is less than 48 hours in 38 years. I can honestly say that I truly sympathize for carpal tunnel sufferers…I really can feel some stiffness, right now! If this can come on so fast, I cannot imagine being forced to debilitate oneself just to pay rent. Or cross a blown out channel.

If the bent shaft paddle will prevent or lessen the chance of your being off the water, I’m all for it. If you like skillful finesse type paddling and you do not have any problems now or pending I would not fix what is not broken. The bent shaft paddle may take the ‘crispness’ off some of your best skills (for a while?) but you will be happy with it going straight. Like many things in life you may not love what you once did.

I do have plans to come out with a bent shaft paddle (bs) , but have been talking about it for almost 3 years now. Over 3 years ago I set out to sort of reinvent the wheel so to speak. I made up six different prototypes shafts some of them with two different configuations on them ranging from just under 3 degrees to 15, some with blade forward of shaft center axis , etc. and lent them out to the paddling community here in S.D. with comments and feedback welcome. A seventh paddle was also handed out as a sort of placebo and although folks also thought that one was different, it was identical to another one in the group which I thought was going to “win”.

After a almost a month, surprisingly, I got them all back. During this time I some how developed what I guess was some kind of tendonitis in both of my elbows… probably due to overwork and paddling. Paradoxically, those were the two things I could still do while without much pain while I was actually unable to lift a can of soda to drink from. Perfect time to really see how the ergo shafts work I thought. On to say, while I really liked the ergo shafts, I was not totally sold on them for everyday paddleing nor as the magic silver bullet they have long been touted to be in terms of instant relief for folks… I do feel they have a perfect spot for some people but most mixed styles paddlers would be better off with a standard straight shaft. I am not really down on them either. IMO for some paddling styles or at least certain parts of some paddling styles I think the ergo shaft is counter productive and may even make things worse for some people.

I - M - O On the catch phase they feel great for everyone as they do let a couple more fingers ( ring and pinky) get into the act. As the paddle comes aft my personal opinion is the shaft really makes things worse as ones (lower) wrist is now expected to go through a sort of contortion when the blade is ready to exit = not good. The higher the paddling style you use, the worse it gets. Same goes for the push hand as one gets less contact up here.

Again I - M - O I do feel that if a person has tried all other options (see below) and is still having trouble. By trouble I mean wrist and or lower arm pain, swelling, weird twinges, reoccuring type stuff or just not feeling right. I feel then that one might find relief by trying the following (within the paddle realm) not exactly in order.

  1. Switch to unfeathered. Especially if you paddle with a super low paddling style.
  2. At least try a super light, smooth (ONNO:) paddle.
  3. Try paddling strokes with more torso, less arm.
  4. Try above at a lower angle too.
  5. Try a smaller blade as the higher loads of your current ( bigger?) paddle might be causing something… or…
  6. Try a really big paddle which you can just set in water and pull on smoothly with a slower cadence because your current ( smaller?) paddle is having you turn a faster cadence than your joints are happy doing a 1,000,000 times.
  7. Try a properly sized bent shaft paddle

    One thing that really gets me is how the majors sell the one size fits all shafts. If you have to have one of these paddles make sure you measure your hand spacing on a paddle you like and then MAKE SURE your hands fall in the middle of the ergo section on the off the shelf bs paddle you buy… if not order a custom one. Tell them you want “X” hand spacing first and foremost then let them size the paddle from the middle out for your personal specs. THEN trim the outboard ends to size for overall length.

    On to say, i really tried to keep the “flat” or ergo area as large as possible in order to be able to slide ones hands around as much as possible while still keeping on the flat or intended grip area. Found lots of reasons why I could not go as big as I wanted… the need for subtle curves for strength instead of overbuilding the shaft ( heavy) with sharper radiai( sp?) for one, being able to accomodate a 31" C-C grip area but still having a 210 length being another…Our ‘flat’ area is still larger than any other manufacturer and this is real handy for sliding the paddle over for bracing, windshifts etc.

    I have a bent shaft plug 90% done sitting here staring at me everyday ready to finish and build molds from. When I get to it is another story. Since I do not have a ton of people asking for it ( which would not matter because if I really liked it I would finish it right away if only to build one ever for myself) and I am super swamped more and more deeper into the winter season ( where I hope for a break to finish projects) with regular paddles and boats, I am not really sure when I will complete it. I hope to get it done this winter though as I do think it will come around in the publics eye though.