Straight or Bent Shaft ?????

Just curious which you prefer and why.

I use both
My perspective is usually as the sternman in a tandem canoe. I prefer a bent shaft on flatwater when conditions allow you to motor along. No question that bent shafts move you faster. But in wind and waves, I prefer a straight shaft that gives me me more effective control strokes in the stern. In class I/II moving water I prefer a straight shaft for precision maneuvering strokes.

Mine is straight…

– Last Updated: Feb-18-04 8:56 AM EST –

but i prefer a moving water set up...

Nothing against bent, but I prefer straight. I think it is because that is what I learned with and used for a long time before bent even came on the market.

I’ve used a bent shaft a few times during boat demos, etc. They’re Ok, I just like the straight better.

Same sentiments as DuluthMoose…only using paddles about 15" shorted then what they specify in profile (DuluthMoose - your straigt shaft is a mighty long paddle - assuming all in-water recoveries w/ a 72" blade?)

Get Bent
Used to be a straight beavertail man, but spent some time learning to use a bent shaft. Now it is my choice of paddles. It does feel awkward at first, especially in moving water, but you can’t beat it for long distance travel. Of course, I primarily paddle tandem, where its benifits shine…but even solo I’ve come to love the bent shaft.

There is no doubt that bent shaft paddles are more efficient than straight shaft paddles for power strokes. I find I use a bent shaft for: solo flatwater, tandem bow in casual paddling, tandem stern in sit and switch style. I use a straight in the stern for casual paddling when we are switching, all moving water with any maneuvering necessary. I also use a straight in very shallow situations where I might use it as a pole and push off the bottom, bents are easy to break doing that to them.

Any time in a canoe there are two paddles for each paddler, a straight and a bent.

People that developed good stroke mechanics with a straight shaft have no problem converting to a bent shaft. People with poor paddling mechanics never get it.

My long paddles
Actually on my recovery stroke I always bring the paddle back out of the water. I stand 6’2", have a long torso, long arms, and I like my canoe seat height between 9 to 10" off the bottom. I like to get leverage working for me with my long arms and a wide space between the grip and throat of a paddle. The usually 54" paddle would turn me into a hunchback.

I carry a bent shaft & a straight shaft all the time now; unless I’m in my kayak or whitewater canoe.


bent shaft
I’ve paddled with a bent shaft for over 20 years.I like the power and efficiency and have used and abused them with no problems. I like a shorter paddle than a lot of people and go for a nice quick stroke(easier on the muscles and moves the canoe along faster).

More and More Comfortable…
…with bent shafts, even starting to use them on the river. Like KenE, I resisted them for years, thinking they “Felt funny” in your hands. But the more I use the bent, the more I like the efficiency ot them. When paddling canoes, I always have one of each now. WW

I use both and for the same reason they are made that way.

Straight when the need to pry, draw and rudder…which is typical of class 2 and abouve

bent- when the need not to pry , draw and rudder. when the bow and stern are working as a team to stear. Also helps in speed such as for racing. or a workout etc