straight shaft Oh My!

I have always been a low life pond scum sit and switch type of guy. Basic carbon graphite black

has always been my favorite colour. However I recently finished striping up my latest build

and feel a dirty urge to try to see how she

paddles with as straight shaft.(btw all strip built canoes are she) I have straight shaft beavertail

on loan from my son and hope to get out early on july 4th. If I still sit and use a straight shaft will

I still be expected to have a a paddle longer then pinnochios nose at political rally? Will my friends in lycra still talk to me? Do I have to drop a couple hundred bucks on a dog paddle paddle?

Vector analysis 101
says that you should sit and use the straight for the pizza oven in the bow.

The paddle lifts too much water before exit for the seated paddler.

If you want to avoid the ignominy of clashing wardrobes,c onsider a FoxWorx bent in wood.

I have no idea why you’re asking.
If you’re a sitting paddler of fast, hard-tracking boats, you use a bent shaft. That’s it, no point in discussion.

Charlie, you are too funny
Why don’t you just try it, and see how you like it?

But bring your bent shaft, because I’ll bet money you are gonna hate it, and will want your Zav back, asap.

PS Lycra? Isn’t that what they make girdles out of?

Pagayeur wears lycra
when canoeing sometimes (and only when canoeing). He looks quite nice and ungirdled.

This stripper rocks
Err she has about inch tail rocker and 2 inch bow rocker G2D. I was finding myself switching every third forth stroke. That is why I am considering a straight shaft and using a (shudder) J-Stroke.

Will I have to get flannel shirts and wool pants?

Will I have to trashmy capilene gear?

Shaft length should be same for straight
as for bent when sitting in the same boat. That’s my understanding.

The dark side
I’m experiencing it myself at the moment. Love sit and switch but I just finished up a wood strip Kite (Osprey) and find sit and switch isn’t as much fun with that hull. So I pulled out my 54"(?) straight shaft (still a Zav, mind you) and have been playing with it and getting to know the J stroke.

As long as I can back it off and not try to paddle as hard as I do in my sit and switch boats I actually find it quite enjoyable. If I try to paddle hard it just gets frustrating as it requires a harder J to keep it in line and that scrubs off too much speed.

I’ve been using the straight blade both straight and kneeling and it seems to work fine with both (though better kneeling). I also like my straight blades longer than bent (I think my straight is 54" and my bents are 49"). Lets the blade get farther aft for what feels like to me better J stroking. I haven’t done as much experimenting with straight blade length though.


My perspective…
Taking your questions in order:

“If I still sit and use a straight shaft will I still be expected to have a a paddle longer then pinnochios nose at political rally?” Definite maybe. I think it depends more on whether you’ll be sitting or kneeling instead of the paddle-type. Most J-stroking straight stick types kneel, so they tend to have longer paddles. Personally, I like a little extra reach anyway for controling the boat. Of course, your mileage may vary.

“Will my friends in lycra still talk to me?” It’s a risk you have to take to embark on this journey. I’m sure you’ll meet new friends in plaid. And maybe Tilley’s.

“Do I have to drop a couple hundred bucks on a dog paddle paddle?” Oh no! To take the full plunge into tradition, get a big ole heavy solid ash something-tail from Dri Ki for a good price. Otherwise, I bet you could find a nice modern laminated factory second from one of the reputable makers. I scored a really nice bent from Foxworx a couple months ago and I would totally buy another blem from them when I need another paddle. In fact, there’s a few straight sticks on their ‘specials’ page right now -

Good luck!



Go for it, Charlie
Personally, I get enjoyment of the many varieties of paddling. I enjoy the streight shaft otter tail or guide paddle, particularly in my 1954 Old Town, the bent shaft in the Classic XL, and I even sometimes j-stroke with a bent in the XL if I feel like lily-dipping. Oh yea, and I even get a kick out of a paddleboard with a very long bent.

BTW, you can paddle with me anytime, but then again I don’t wear lycra.

I recall ads from long ago
that touted “Lycra” in the girdles for sale.

But, ooh, a Lycra-ed man, my oh my.

length…depends if you’re going to

– Last Updated: Jul-03-12 12:00 PM EST –

use switch or not. At 5'8"..when's always been tough for me to acquire a comfortable catch and stroke when not sitting near the gunwale and staying on one side...then I think you're ok with the same length as when sitting on a pedestal.
Don't worry about where your catch is, just pay attention to the path ending with the very end of the normal stroke closer to the hull. You start a stroke near the keelline and you're destined to form a bit of a sweep.

Zaveral makes a sweet straight shaft paddle IF you can get it with the blade centered back to front on the shaft. I have a 54" that works nicely for all the paddling I do that doesn’t involve too many rocks.

I’ve seen a Zav straight with the blade offset so that the backface is flush with the leading edge of the shaft.

I don’t care for that as I like to use both faces (palm roll) but it would work fine otherwise.

Chuck Haller is testament
to the fact that plaid & denim is often faster than Lycra and Spandex. But I always thought the reason to own a straight shaft wood paddle was for pushing off bottom rocks and gravel bars so you didn’t have to get out of the boat! I wouldn’t risk a Zav for that…

Zavs are cheap
try a Quimby…all wood. Exquisitely made. Pricey.

Not all wooden paddles are clubs. Some of the finest paddles I have ever seen are all wood. I just got a Northwoods paddle made entirely of curly maple. I won’t be pushing off the bottom with that.

That’s what I do
The Zav is for everything but rocks. The Mitchell is the finest war club around. Chews up the rocks like candy.