Sore thumbs from bent shaft paddle?

I recently switched from an Epic fiberglass straight shaft paddle to the Werner Cyprus bent shaft. It’s been several months. Almost right after the switch I developed thumb pain and weakness. I don’t think I’m holding the paddle to tightly. In fact using a firmer grip yesterday seem to help a bit. Any suggestions? Is this a bad paddle for me?

Do you open the dry hand during stroke?
If you are opening your dry hand to push as much as pull, and keeping that on the loose side, I am not sure that the thumb should be a problem regardless of bent or straight shaft. If not it could be that the bent shaft is affecting your thumb side more than a straight shaft does regardless of grip.

Dumb question. Are we talking kayak
paddles or canoe paddles? So far, could apply to either. I have both bent shaft and straight shaft canoe and kayak paddles.

OP is talking about kayak paddles
The Werner Cyprus is a kayak paddle. BTW, I have never used a bent kayak paddle, so I can’t help. I do have a straight Cyprus 220cm and I love it.

shaft diameter?
Is the new one bigger than the old one?

I’m with celia…
I strongly suspect that this is a grip problem of some sort. Probably the grip is either too hard or it is putting pressure on a nerve near the thumb. The latter happens to cyclists who lean on their bars and put pressure on the nerve at the base of the thumb. If so, you want to change the grip to keep that from happening. Another less likely possibility is that the angle of the paddle and/or narrowness of the shaft is putting undue pressure directly on a nerve.

I don’t close my thumb over the paddle. As I rotate the torso, the fingers/thumb of the pushing hand is open and the cradle rests between the thumb and index finger. On the pull phase, I “pull” with only the fingers and the thumb isn’t involved at all.

In really high winds, some gripping of the paddle becomes necessary at times, but not during the “push” phase of the stroke, so I don’t think I’ve ever put sufficient force on the thumb to cause this type of injury.


Its gotta be the shape
I have a bent shaft Ikelos. Same shaft type as the Cypress.

The cross sectional shape of the Werner bent shafts is unique. They are not round or oval, they have more of a shape like a kidney bean if you will. I find this shape gives a great feel and grip, however I can totally see how it might put extra pressure on the base of your thumb joint.

The bent shafts are also slightly larger in diameter than the straight shafts, and I think that can add stress to the thumb, even with a loose grip.

I love my Ikelos, but the shaft shape and size might just be wrong for your hand.