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PostPosted: February 28th, 2004, 9:32 am 
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Just an observation. No intent on picking sides here.
When we lake travel and my wife switches from her straight paddle to a bent shaft (surface area being equal = I measured them) her paddling become more effective and I have a lot less correcting to do from the rear to keep the canoe in a straight line. I don't overpower her as much. Once we hit a river she goes back to the regular paddle as she can then contribute to river maneuvers. She finds prying impossible with the bent shaft.
Gerald G.


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PostPosted: February 29th, 2004, 10:36 pm 
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Location: Vancouver, British Columbia Canada
Gerald G wrote:
Just an observation. No intent on picking sides here.
When we lake travel and my wife switches from her straight paddle to a bent shaft (surface area being equal = I measured them) her paddling become more effective and I have a lot less correcting to do from the rear to keep the canoe in a straight line. I don't overpower her as much.
Gerald G.


The more points of view, the better. The value of the discussion is in exploring ideas and determining facts, not for anyone to "win" an argument.

We went paddling today, on a lake with completely calm conditions. My first observation was that on starting the forward strokes, no significant force is put on the paddle until it's pretty well vertical. So probably there's no sense worrying about inefficiencies at the start of the stroke, as I was.

We also tried paddling using a GPS as a speedometer. We tried to maintain a constant effort, paddling normally with bent shaft paddles, and correcting with pitch strokes and a bit of thumb-down J's.

Next I put enough effort into paddling in the stern to go beyond being able to comfortably keep the canoe going straight with pitch strokes and J's. So I switched to thumb-up J's. We were still going faster than with lower effort and thumb-down J's. So whatever might have been lost from the thumb-up J's, was not enough to completely "waste" my additional effort. A very rough test.

Then we switched our nice wooden paddles for aluminum/plastic Mohawks. We switched back and forth a couple of times. While I'd really like to report that the Mohawks were slower, to tell the truth I have to admit the speed (averaging 7kph) seemed the same. The wooden bent shaft paddles FELT much nicer, being lighter and warmer.

Now, the GPS jumps around some when reporting speed, so I'll have to try this again sometime, perhaps with a better GPS.

I don't want to put too much faith in this little test, and I don't want to contradict others' experiences (especially since it goes against a lot of things that make sense), but it would be nice for some other people to try something like this. Another way to do it would be to pace another canoe whose crew is trying to maintain a steady speed as you change paddles etc.

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PostPosted: March 2nd, 2004, 7:45 am 
Indeed I find it very interesting and valuable too, to hear other
persons experiences, because I do realize my view is
limited by the way I do things myself.

But I want to come back at the 'ease of control' statement
about the advantage of the straight shaft. I have difficulty with
that remark, because in my view it depends too much on the context.
One could for instance also state that a whitewater canoe is easier
to control, because it is easier to maneuver than a hard
tracking touring canoe. And that is true -- when paddling in
rapids. BUT that touring canoe will probably be easier to control
in hard winds on open water...

In my touring canoe I have more than enough control to maneuver that
boat with my bent-shaft paddle, also because I don't (have to) use
strokes then that are not easy to do with a bent-shaft paddle. I can
even practice FreeStyle maneuvers pretty well in my touring canoe
with a bent-shaft paddle, although I admit there are some
adaptations and limitations then: if I wanted to compete seriously,
I likely would use the appropriate straight shaft paddle.
When I paddle in whitewater, where I need to do a lot of the so
called stern pries as a correction instead of J-strokes (or
switching paddling sides), I prefer to use a straight paddle right
away. Mostly I have a straight paddle as a spare with me on trips
anyway in my touring canoe, so I don't see the need to compromise
with a bent-shaft paddle with less angle in that situation. And I
don't paddle whitewater that frequent or intensive that I feel the
need to try/use bent-shaft paddles with less angle than 14 degrees
-- yet -- I have heard of slalom paddlers that use bent-shaft
paddles, so I don't rule it out. It could work for me, certainly
in the way that I (like to) paddle on whitewater. But so far rapids
for me are more an obstruction to get through without problems, or
avoid them by portaging, than a purpose to paddle.

Dirk Barends


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PostPosted: March 2nd, 2004, 11:14 pm 
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Dirk,

That seems like the best "take" on this issue I've heard. I agree that experienced paddlers should have no trouble doing the steering movements with a bent shaft paddle as typically needed on flatwater.

We also carry straight paddles as spares, and switch to them as needed, such as the Cariboo River section of the Bowron Lake circuit. I can't recall ever switching to them on non-moving water, even in conditions where maintaining a straight line was difficult.

Would you agree that beginning paddlers on flatwater might want to use straight paddles? I think they have enough things to think about besides what their bent paddles are doing to their efforts to steer.

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PostPosted: March 3rd, 2004, 5:01 am 
>Would you agree that beginning paddlers on flatwater might want to use
>straight paddles? I think they have enough things to think about
>besides what their bent paddles are doing to their efforts to steer.

This question has been asked many times to me, even from people
who sell kayaks with feathered paddles to beginners with no second
thought, which I have my strong doubts about. So I asked them the
question: wouldn't it be easier for beginning kayakers to use
non-feathered paddles? Their answer was -- without any doubt --
that it was no problem to learn to paddle with a feathered paddle.
So with this answer in mind, and with my own experience in teaching
people how to paddle, my idea is that many beginners have no problem
learning how to paddle with a bent-shaft paddle, provided they have
good instruction and guidance in the early stages of their paddling
career. However, I do admit that I have seen several people for whom
a bent-shaft paddle just doesn't work. Not so much for the
'stroking' itself but for the orientation of the bent: they
constantly turn their paddles the wrong way without being aware of
it. For them I found it better to first learn to paddle properly
with a straight shaft paddle.

Personally I think that a lot of the difficulty with the
bent-shaft paddle is more in the peoples mind than in reality. One
striking example of that was during an instructor certification
course in the Netherlands, where I was teaching paddling techniques.
After the lessons a discussion started about the use of bent-shaft
paddles. One of the students (a canoe dealer...) stated that you had
to switch when using a bent-shaft paddle. I asked him then what kind
of paddle I had been using during the exercises that day. It took
him a while to realize that I had been using a bent-shaft paddle all
the time, for all the maneuvers we practiced, and that I hadn't
switched sides (during the lessons) at all. He then declared to be
against using bent-shaft paddles by instructors because it would be
'confusing' to the students... With that kind of attitude, I find it
no wonder that he didn't sell much bent-shaft paddles because his
customers didn't like them...?

Dirk Barends


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PostPosted: July 24th, 2019, 2:10 pm 
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Location: maine, usa
my $.01,
Recreational sit_&_switchers with many years of golf, rather than solo experience, clammor for the 14deg because they're clueless about efficiency and stroke technique(ie Control).

Reviving the ancient.....15yrs+
Hope everyone is doing okay,
Steve (still in Maine, occasionally in NV, CA and CO)


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PostPosted: July 24th, 2019, 6:08 pm 
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Posts: 81
I'll risk a comment. Overall I think the whole high end canoe paddle market has evaporated...there just aren't many choices for really good paddles. Somewhere I read that a smaller angle was better for sit and switch paddling for kneelers. In my limited experience with a six degree Grey Owl of my friends it did feel very nice and much better to me than a 12 degree bent. Zaveral does offer custom angles for an extra $15 so you can get any angle you want and GRB offers a six degree carbon bent and I actually just purchased and received one but have not gotten it wet yet. In my mind the price was quite reasonable for a good carbon fiber paddle.


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PostPosted: July 25th, 2019, 9:49 am 
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Location: Rattlesnake Pond ME
12 degrees is the current thinking.. A good sit and switch technique is very hard to do. And people actually train for it.

https://thescienceofpaddling.net/part-11-about-the-bend


I am betting none of you understands it!! :D Shawn is a great canoe racer but the math is hard...


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PostPosted: July 26th, 2019, 4:41 pm 
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I like the science of paddling series since it tries to provide simple explanations for some basic concepts. The math is not rocket science and you need to study it a bit and also apply it to your own real world experience. It is based on the measured paddle angle during a stroke of one sitting (not kneeling) outrigger paddler and it cautions that it's a big assumption to assume that everyone else is like this one person. After the simplifying assumptions it concludes that a 12 degree is 2.4% more efficient than a straight shaft. OK. But the moment of inertia of a beam is proportional to the FOURTH POWER of it's length so if you increase the length of a paddle by just ten percent (like a 52 inch bent vs a 57 straight) the swing inertia increases 46%! Shorter bent shafts should definitely enable a higher cadence...plus they are lighter because they are shorter so again a benefit for cadence. Anyone that has ever shortened a paddle can tell that even half an inch feels like a big change. Zaveral offers their paddles in 1/8 inch increments. So even without the 2.4% theoretical edge based on one sitting paddler the potential for a higher cadence is BIG. It also just seems logical that one can apply max power somewhere midstroke vs right at the catch so some sort of angle should help make the paddle blade vertical during max stroke power. All that said I don't like a high cadence and the leverage of a longer straight shaft paddle allows me to apply more power in one stroke when trying to make the boat change direction or drive up a drop when every stroke counts. And all that said I've now paddled (kneeling) with my new six degree and the bow of the boat is going swoosh swoosh swoosh since that paddle definitely complements my style and drives the boat really well.


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PostPosted: July 26th, 2019, 4:51 pm 
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Location: Oshawa
I used to have a bent shaft whitewater paddle from H2O. Bought it used for $100 and I believe it was over $300 retail. Sadly lost on the Pontax years ago :(

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