Paddle blade flex, a good thing?

My wife gave me a Bending Branches Infusion paddle with the crankshaft shaft today for my birthday. I like the shaft shape, but the relative flexability of the blade is taking a little getting used to. I’m used to very stiff blades with almost zero flex and the little bit of rebound (reflex)at the end of the stroke with this Infusion feels a little odd.

What are the pros and cons of blade flex from your point of view?

easier on your joints…
and it is a softer feeling while paddling. Stiffer is usually a good thing in terms of a more efficient transfer of energy but people have differenct preferences.

Much easier on the joints!
She must love you!

Cruising paddles normally have more flex in them. Most all the flex energy is returned to you at the end of the stroke. Racing paddles have no flex. The arm and shoulder joints take all the shock.

I have a Nashwaak that must flex over 1-1/2" during the stroke.

Happy Paddl’n!



Think of it as suspension…
Ever ride in a buckboard? :slight_smile:

Thanks for the great replies.
Yes, my wife does love me.

I hadn’t even thought of shock absorbtion, but I don’t think my elbow bothered me as much as usual on today’s trip. So that little flip that I feel at the end of the stroke is some energy being returned, not totally wasted, that’s good news.

I’ve never ridden in a buckboard, but I’ve ridden in the back of pickup trucks. Ha, ha.

I disagree w/ everyone
I do not like blade flex. I would much rather have shaft flex for my joints. I would be leery of flexible blades when I had to do a combat brace.

Give Me Light and Lively Paddle Flex!
Once you get used to having some paddle flex, a non-flexing paddle feels like warclub. At least that’s what I think. The same goes for oars! You should see how much the oars for my guide-boat and packboat flex during power starts and stops, or hard turns. The flex during normal cruising is considerable when compared to standard rowboat oars, but is virtually unnoticible once you are accostumed to it. BUT, when I sit in a plain ol’ rowboat with basic Plain-Jane oars again, that old “warclub” feeling is there, and I absolutely HATE it (I didn’t used to know any better). And what others have said is correct - the energy used for flex isn’t lost - it just means that the power applied for propulsion doesn’t get turned “on” and “off” as abruptly.

I Have Seven2 Iso WW Paddle…

– Last Updated: May-16-05 5:28 AM EST –

the blades are made of a flexible polymer. It has no affect on my bracing or rolling. It's easier on the joints. At the same time the blades are small and combine with the flex to inhibit fast acceleration which I want in some white water play and definitely in catching waves in the surf zone.

On normal touring, I don't think flex will make much of a difference except perhaps go easier on old creaky joints.


I am with you
Blade fles not good I like a bi of shaft fles though.

I have a straight shaft BB Infusion
Dream and it is easier on my wrists and shoulders, but I got an Aqua-Bound Manta Ray for wind and rapids. When I need the extra grab, the stiffness is important. I need to be able to stick it in and have a solid blade. Otherwise, too much water gets by the paddle and it’s not as effective. For my own situation, it’s critical. I’m paddling a 55lb solo canoe with a heavy load, so that also makes a difference.