Paddle Shafts

-- Last Updated: Dec-30-05 2:13 PM EST --

Hi All,

What are your opinions on bent shaft vs. straight shaft paddles for sea kayaking? I'm just buying gear and paddles are next on the list.

Thanks in advance.


Canoe or kayak?

– Last Updated: Dec-30-05 2:09 PM EST –

If it be a canoo paddle yer be hankin' fer some opinoons on, ah's kin give ye some o' doose, but ah's reckins' ah's better leave it ta de 'yakers ta answer ye if it be 'yak paddles...

Fat Elmo
Ol' Timey Canoeist

If you have wrist/elbow related problems, you may benefit from a bent shaft. If you do a lot of straight ahead touring, a bent shaft might help. If you have trouble indexing paddles for rolls, a bent shaft is nice.

On the other hand, if price is a factor, definitely straight shaft. If you’re healthy and have good paddling form, straight shaft is great. If you change hand positions on the shaft and slide the paddle to compensate for wind/waves, a straight shaft is better. If you do a lot of back strokes (whitewater playboating), a straight shaft is more optimal.

Personally, I like straight shafts as I don’t like my hands being fixed to one part of the paddle. Also, I tend to vary my paddling angle quite a bit (low and high) which I feel is more difficult with a bent shaft. That’s for my Euro paddles of course. I mostly tour with a Greenland paddle so bent vs. straight isn’t even an option.