shifting grip

How often do you shift your grip on a conventional euro paddle in windy or rough weather, and how important is this technique? If important do bent shaft paddlers have any trouble shifting?

Don’t know what you mean, though
others may. With my crank shaft kayak paddle, I don’t shift grip position at all, and never needed to. With straight shafts, I might narrow or widen my grip, but I don’t shift to produce asymmetrical paddle leverage. I just manage with arm adjustments. Better responses to follow.

Don’t use a EP much any more
But when I do I shift my hand placement all the time when needed. I have actually expanded my EP paddle capacity. The bent shaft makes no difference to me. It is just as easy to change hand placement on a bent shaft as a straight shaft. They feel somewhat different but the difference is easy to adjust to. So to me it is a non-issue.

I do it all the time
So I don’t get the idea of a bent shaft. When I have a quartering wind I shift the paddle over a couple inches. I couldn’t do this with a bent shaft. In extreme slow speed turns I shift all the way to the end of the paddle to get the most leverage.

I think a bent shaft offers no real advantage except that you have something fancer that you can pay more for.

I’ve also seem paddles with skinny shafts with rubber grips on them. It doesn’t make any sense to have a paddle one can hold in only one place.

I don’t shift to change the feather,
or rotate my hands at all, but I change the distance that my hand is on the shaft from the blade on one side or the other depending on the direction of the wind and waves. - Flat water/no wind they are pretty much in the exact same position all day long.



no problems

– Last Updated: Dec-05-09 8:24 AM EST –

moving the paddle shaft to one side or the other with the bent shaft.

Yes, they should be all the way out to the bends, so it's just a matter of sliding one hand in that's fine.

I like the angle but that's minor compared to overall paddling technique.

A skulling draw is a little more challenging but doesn't pose a problem for me.

(There are plenty of paddlers who prefer the straight shaft, so whatever works for you.)

Once in a while
In constant higher winds, if I have alrezady shifted my weight to be sitting on a constant edge and the boat is still not tracking the way I like, I may shift grip.

That said, I find it kinda screws up the stroke, so I don’t do it at every opportunity.

I do what celia said.

On the subject of crank-shaft - I’ve been considering whether to get my next paddle crunk, so I’m reading people’s opinions with interest. On rare occassions of really intense paddling (like three days of 3- and 4- star training in one weekend), I’ve had wrist pain for a couple weeks afterwards. And more commonly I’m annoyed by how hard it is to feel the blade orientation when I’m wearing gloves (which around here is October through June, basically). One attractive feature of a crank shaft is that it’ll always be set up right, even if I just got plastered by a wave, and don’t know which way is up, and can’t feel anything through thick gloves.

It is possible to shift grips, but as people above said, it sort of ruins ergonomics of the bent shaft

Now, to compensate for lee/weather cocking, something similar can be done varying the paddling style - high angle stroke on one side, lower angle/sweep on the other side.

For bow draws - no problem, since the water hand does the driving

For side/sculling draws - ditto

Reason for the bent shaft is to alleviate misalignment of wrist joint during repetitive motion (and to make your paddle more stable in the water). If your wrists are not properly aligned for a few strokes no major harm should be incurred.

yeah, me too
shifting my hands out is pretty rare.

That said, I use the Werner bent shaft and if you prefer to paddle with your hands closer, I have yet to feel constrained in any way. Ben Lowery got me to move them all the way out to the bends on a 215.

I also find the bends let me know where I’m at on the shaft.

I push my limits and paddle a lot in all kinds of conditions and have had zero wrist issues.

shifting doesn’t work for me
No, it has nothing to do with crank shaft. I use a straight shaft paddle.

I just don’t find shifting hand position work all that well in countering wind.

It doesn’t produce much countering if I don’t shift enough. (less than a “couple inches”),

If I shift a lot, then the paddle is too short on one side. (the long side is no problem, just the short side)

Straight vs crank: I’m one of those who can’t ever find a comfortable position on the crank.

left or right
I originally posted on this thread because a straight shaft friend told me he routinely extends left or right in windy conditions, and that the bent shaft makes this awkward or difficult. I use only bent shafts (AT and Werner Kalliste) and hardly ever shift left or right, only doing so for a low speed 90 deg or more turn, or for an extended paddle roll. So I wondered if other straight or bent shaft paddlers felt it important to quickly extend left or right in conditions, which I do not. Or if bent shaft paddlers who did feel it important to do so felt constrained by their bent shaft.

I never had any wrist problem when I used to use a straight shaft. The two main advantages for me are: 1) Knowing the blade angle in rough conditions. 2) Just feels a more comfortable and natural grip.

Offset grip
I use to offset the grip and a straight shaft if I had a long distance and the boat was weather cocking. I use to use it extended (hold the blade) in very windy conditions when I hand to turn the boat around 180 degrees. I am now mostly a GP user now.

Nigel Foster changed from years of crank shaft over to straight shaft for a lot of the reasons brought up on this thread.

Alternative to get good indexing
WW folks have done this forever from what I’ve seen. To improve indexing on a paddle, you can always put something like a popsickle stick on the up side and secure it with some kind of soft grip. You may even be able to buy some really nice soft foam stuff that’ll hold in water from WW outfitters.

One advantage of this is that you can put it on in winter when the gloves have to get pretty thick, and take it off for warm weather.

This means that you don’t necessarily have to get a new paddle to get better indexing.

I just don’t quite understand crank shaft.

All paddles comes with different length to accomondate different paddlers size (and boat width). It’s essentially an acknowledgement that different sized paddlers will have their grip at a different location of the shaft. So, crank shaft probably only fits a subset of paddler, albeit a fairly large subset, whose hand placement happen to coincide with where the cranks are.

I’m short, with narrow shoulder. So my guess is my hand placement simply isn’t where “most” other paddlers are. I borrowed crank shaft paddlers twice. Both times I ended up with pains in my knuckls! :frowning:

Fortunately, I had no problem with straight shaft. So this is mostly an academic issue for me. Though I’d naturally be curious as to what other small, narrow shouldered paddlers do if they do have trouble with the traditional straight shaft…

no, no Celia!
I’m LOOKING for reasons to justify getting a new paddle! :smiley:

Don’t go ruining it with a simple popsicle stick solution! :slight_smile:

bent vs. straight
Most people that use bent shaft paddles do it I think because they love having new stuff and don’t want to take the time to actually learn how to use what they already have.

I’ve got tons of wrist problems and have sold all my bent shaft paddles, waste of time and huge waste of money. Hold the paddle correctly with an efficient stroke and the pain is gone.

Still easier, and cheaper, to carve yourself a greenland paddle and eliminate the problem all together.

Bill H.

My Lendal
carbon crank shaft paddle cost $100, maybe it was one of the used toys you were getting rid of?

People ask me all the time about the difference between the crank and straight and I tell them it’s minor and suggest the best paddle they can afford.

I get a half price discount on Werners so if I thought it would make a difference I would get one.

It’s not the paddle, it’s the paddler.

Can’t agree
Hi Bill - I have wrist problems from years of carpentry and have fractured both more than once. My AT crank essentially eliminated wrist pain after I started using it - but the Werner I used did not help much. I think the shape of the crank was better (for me), plus the blade size of the AT is a little smaller so generates less stress. I slide my hands all over the paddle for maneuvering, works fine. That being said, my GP is even easier on the wrists.


bent shaft - switching hands
I have a werner ikelos neutral bent shaft and i don’t ususally switch hand positions way off-center while touring, but i can re-position my hands a couple inches left to right and still stay in the correct zone.

Also going to an extended paddle position for rolling and sculling is not a problem at all. I do it frequently when messing around.