Which is better/more popular?

New paddler here, I’m fittin to buy my first set of paddles, which are more popular, “T” grips or “Palm” grips? any thoughts would be appreciated!

typically …
T-grips are found on WW paddles where they improve your ability to hang onto the paddle in challenging conditions

Palm grips are typically found on everything else because they tend to be more comfortable

Grip; type makes a big difference

– Last Updated: Feb-01-11 5:57 PM EST –

I like a T-grip ONLY for whitewater. The "T" lets you hold on with more "finger wrapping", for lack of a better term, and you won't lose your grip so easily if the blade gets snagged by a rock or ends up half-stuck under the boat due to a sudden crosscurrent. A previous poster used the term "fine control" for what you get with a T-grip, but I think that depends how you define that term. With a palm grip, you do complex strokes requiring various blade angles much more easily than with a T-grip, and by my way of thinking, that's "fine control". With the palm grip you can alter blade angle quite effortlessly at all times, even doing things like spinning the shaft half a turn per stroke without lifting the blade from the water. Try that with a T-grip and it CAN be done, but it feels clutzy - which I think is the reason that the couple of dedicated T-grip users I know use the goon stroke at all times rather than a J-stroke for typical stroke correction. I find a J-stroke to be a lot more awkward with the "T", and I'm glad I learned the basics with a palm grip before ever doing them with a "T". I think the palm grip is better for learning, IF you want to learn to paddle with some finess eventually. To just "paddle and make the boat go", it may not make much difference, but the palm grip is still more comfortable.

I should add that cheap paddles are better with T-grips than palm grips. If you want a comfortable palm grip, you'll need to avoid the paddles sold at big-box stores. The palm grips on cheap paddles are too small and too roughly shaped.

I’m kind of new myself
and I learned from the good folks here on pnet to get a decent paddle. The plastic/aluminum paddles I got with my used canoe are fine for a few hours at a time but they get heavy as the day goes on. I also had a few paddles(feather brand) we took out of our fishing boats that are about as effective as a 2x4. I purchased a couple of bending branches paddles and couldn’t believe the difference in weight and comfort. IMO it’s worth the money to get a decent paddle.

Oh yeah, I prefer the palm grips for comfort.

Ok, so that brings me to the next question, wood or synthetic (plastic)?

Give me a ZRE with a palm grip and I am
a happy paddler

jack L

you’ll have to provide info
What do you paddle?

What conditions?

What are your goals?

You do plan to buy more than one, right?

I will be paddling slow rivers or streams, probably nothing beyond class II, maybe the ocassional class III run. Slow water most of the time though…

palm grips hurt my palm
serious, here, I get a blister. I prefer t-grips. I like the awareness of paddle angle being projected clearly to the handle. Just my opinion, but based on 12 years of paddling, and several 120 plus outings a year seasons.

Personal preference, based on reasonable price (my son paddles, we each carry spares, that’s 4 paddles, C1’s take shorter paddles as well, fatter boats I prefer longer shafts…10-12 paddles hanging around) anyways I’ve ended up being a fan of the AB Edge Carbons. You may not like it, it’s a rock basher ww paddle, need high cadence compared to some. About $90 last I bought some. You may not like the curved blade.

Best of both worlds …
in a palm grip - Mitchell Surreal? This is a great paddle - wish I owned one. I got to use one for two days last year. Carbon fiber laminated over cedar core blades with a cedar and ash shaft. Very thin blades knife through the water. Surreal …



Forget popular
use what is most comfortable for YOU.

I use all sorts of grips in all sorts of conditions and don’t have a preference between T and Palm.

Poorly made paddles are no fun.

I like Bending Branches wooden paddles for their low cost and decent feel in the water. I’m sure folks have other similar recomendations.

I like Mitchel for whitewater and I like Zaveral for making time. I consider both more expensive paddles and would recomend you wait until you’ve got a better understanding of what you like before purchasing either of those.

Start with these paddles…
The Cannon paddles are really fine for a lot of work:


Order a 54 inch straight shaft with a T grip and a 52 inch bent shaft with a palm grip and you’ll have two rock bashes that will last a long time and you can lend them to friends. Then you can start cutting down the bent shaft an inch at a time to see if you want to order a smaller shaft on a ZRE paddle.

If you paddle less than 3 hours at a time you’ll never need anything more than the Cannon paddles.

Grey Owl
Grey Owl makes some very nice inexpensive lightweight paddles with a very good feel. The Scout is a great starter straight shaft and the Sprite is a very nice starter bent shaft. Neither is expedition durable, but they’re plenty tough for ordinary use.

The Scout comes it at around $40 and the Sprite at around $70.

As others have suggested, don’t go high end until you’ve spent some time with inexpensive paddles. Going high-end first the odds are about 90% that you are going to get the wrong thing or the right thing in the wrong size.

I wouldn’t get too caught up in the grip question. There’s much more to it than that. But you need to start somewhere first.