New Paddle: Same or Different?

I’m planning to buy a new Euro paddle or two at the upcoming Canoecopia.

I love my current straight-shaft Werner Camano for sea-kayak touring on the Great Lakes, and am tempted to simply buy another one as a spare. But after taking a forward stroke clinic, I’ve begun trying more of a high-angle stroke, while the Camano is more of a low-angle paddle. So I’m considering something like the Shuna.

One school of thought suggests I get a spare paddle similar to my current one so that when I need it, there is no learning curve, and it fits like a glove.

Another school recommends getting something mildly different, so I can paddle in varying conditions, or experiment with high- vs. low-angle strokes, or a barndoor blade for surf play, or try a crank shaft, etc… I have partners who would probably let me borrow their various paddles for awhile to see what I like, but not before the show.

So what do you all recommend I look at?


P.S.: While I may someday give a GP a real chance, I’m really looking for a spare/extra Euro paddle for now, so please limit your suggestions to those.

I’d say “GP” but you told me not to.

However… I’m a firm believer in paddles as “gears”. Instead of thinking of your other paddle as a spare, think of it as your upwind paddle. Less surface area. Faster cadence. Cyclists have been able to choose cadences for a jillion years. Why should the logic be any different for paddling?

Based on what you wrote, maybe a decent high-angle paddle to go with the Camano makes the most sense.

  1. it gives you an option of something different to try out when paddling, something you have interest in doing

  2. It’s not so radical of a change that it couldn’t serve as a backup in case you break or lose the other one on a trip

  3. You have the two styles that you can then use to demonstrate to others the differences between types

Go for the Shuna, shorter than the
Camano. If you use a 220cm Camano, consider a 210cm Shuna.

Always different
a no-brainer.

Current paddle…
… should become you spare if you shop well!

If both are great - you have two primary paddles.

Who actually buys a backup paddle? :wink:

I have been considering getting a second real paddle (I have a cheapie recreational paddle as my spare right now). What I think I am going to end up with is one aimed at short burst speed (large blade - for use rock gardening, surfing, etc.) and one with a longer, thinner blade for cruising.

A Camano/Shuna may give this pair.


And get a range of length and infinite feathering adjustments. And light weight.


I have Camano and Shuna

– Last Updated: Mar-08-09 12:26 PM EST –

I agree woth yanoer, if you take a 220cm Camano, go with 210cm Shuna for certain. And yes, Peter-CA and original poster, that Camano Shuna pairing would be ideal.

I started with a Camano. Later I added a Shuna.

I would change it up and get a Shuna. The Shuna is a wonderful high angle paddle--Wener;s #1 selling high angle paddle, in fact. At CCpia, Danny Mongno will show you a Shuna and you will love it. Other Werners I have owned--Corryvrecken, Molokai, and a new Ikelos (that I have not gotten wet yet) are very large bladed, certainly not as good for a long paddling day as a Shuna.

I use my straight shaft Camano now only when I am paddling a wide beamed boat, like my Prijon Calabria. But I truly prefer the Shuna. See what you think, original poster.

PS Bent shaft paddles suck--limited hand position, not as intuitive, harder manipulation of paddle for rescues. Stick w st shaft.

Thanks all!
Thanks for all your thoughts, everyone!

CD1, I was going to ask you, as someone who’s owned both, how would you compare the Shuna to the Corryvrecken? But then I saw your review, which answered a lot, so unless you want to add anything …

Both are considered high-angle paddles, but the Shuna has 610 sq. cm of blade, while the Corryvrecken has 710. My current Camano is right in the middle with 650, and I kinda wanted something with a larger blade for surf play.

OTOH, I torqued my shoulder while skiing this winter (lousy off-season sports …), and six weeks later, I’m still having a bit of pain, so maybe a smaller blade is in order to prevent injury.

Appreciate any advice, and will def. talk to Danny M. at the show!

Thanks all!

“PS Bent shaft paddles suck–limited hand position, not as intuitive, harder manipulation of paddle for rescues. Stick w st shaft.”

Wow, I disagree with every point that’s valid and call into question the others. Bent shaft paddles have their purpose and shouldn’t be categorically shunned.


– Last Updated: Mar-08-09 10:13 PM EST –

I know what you mean when you see the measurements, Delphinus, but I can say with certainty that the Corryvrecken is a handful (armful?) when paddling. I think the low angle Camano allows more of a sweeping moment and the muscles used are latissiumus and anterior serratus and less shoulder. When you get to high angle, my observation is that small posterior deltoids, trapezius, rhomboids and such come into play, making these paddles (a) much less forgiving than the low angle blades even at same paddle contact area, and (b) even with ideal stroke posture, still places more effort on the upper back and smaller shoulder muscles, which will reveal itself over time (like a long day paddling). Sort of, I would say, like a flat bench press versus incline bench press with same weight--incline much more difficult.

That is my observation, and I even have another comparison, and that is the even larger Molokai. I wrote a funny but true review of that now-defunct paddle--Werner stopped making it.

I have gone back to the Shuna, and I revise my comments in that review away from the Corryvrecken.

So, anyhow, I think the Shuna is ideal unless you can honestly say you are going on shorter exercise outings or do not miss your anabolic steroid shot for the day.

Nermal, I certainly respect your thoughts on bent versus straight. I have tried both and swear by straight for myself for the reasons above. I love the way I can use it in an extended paddle position--for instance intuitively adjusting hands to compensate for wind and directional control, almost like a Greenland stick. You know, the way Wayne Horodowich and Derke Hutchinson speak of in their DVD. And also, of course, for extended paddle rolling (aka Pawlatta roll), which I often use until I get my bearings for the first couple rolls, but in the soup, would likely use often. I find the hand variability to be a huegly favorable benefit to the non-bent shaft. I also find that, once I no longer have the "death grip" on the paddle, I never have the tendontitis issues or the mechaical advantage gains that are so requisite for bent shaft designs... the straight works great. Plus straights are, to me, less clumsy for paddle rescues and such, when the bends can get in the way of free paddle placement. But I know some like the bents, and that is reasonable and fine.

PS I own several bents, including a great bent shaft Corryvrecken. Anyone want to buy off me at 1/2 off retail, shoot me an email. It's like new, thin orange f/glass and adjustable ferrule.

not so sure high angle harder on shoulde
A major source of shoulder issues is poor form causing an arm to move too far behind (i.e. not enough torso rotation). I find that when I switched to high angle I pretty much had to have my hands further out in front of me to manage the motions and so this made it less likely my arm would slip too far back if I get sloppy. Obviously with perfect form either angle can be safe, but one must allow for not being perfect all the time.

I too like a straight shaft. I think if someone does have wrist or other similar problems then a bent shaft is probably a good plan, but otherwise I do like the larger position options with a straight shaft.

Paddle size
Werner only recommends their Ikelos and Corryvrecken for well-conditioned paddlers. If you are using a high-angle technique and are fit, these might be what you want. These are two steps larger than your current paddle, so that much of a jump would be a jolt for you. Not everyone wants a really big paddle, even among the best paddlers.

To say a bent shaft ‘sucks’, as someone above did, is both preposterous and in bad taste. Many top paddlers like them, many don’t. Many ordinary paddlers like them, many don’t.


First off Wisconsin neighbor, I would
second Kudzu’s thought to try a GP. A well-constructed GP is efficient, conducive to a decent cadence, and, conducive to both high and low-angle strokes.

As you indicated, if you do not want a GP, I think the Ikelos is an excellent paddle for a high-angle stroke. I do not think you need to be a well-conditioned athlete to use it.

I purchased a bent-shaft Ikelos because that was what my dealer had in inventory at the time. I have come to enjoy the bent-shaft; not because it is easier on my body, but because my hands do not roam on the shaft and I am always in balance. This paddle has a great catch and, in my opinion, is worth a look or try.

good luck.