Bent shaft for stenpaddler?

9:03 p.m. on May 4, 2012 (EDT)
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For long flat water miles I have used a bent shaft paddle but for whitewater I always switched to my spare paddle, a straignt shaft paddle. (Both paddles were wood laminate W/ fiberglass over the blade  and a resin blade tip.)

What do you do?

Eric

1:03 a.m. on May 11, 2012 (EDT)
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What about laminating with carbon fiber to save weight and be stronger ?

You send me the paddle and I will laminate it for you.

Carbon is what I do.

2:42 p.m. on May 11, 2012 (EDT)
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Calllahan, I think you misunderstood. All I'm asking is do canoeists generally carry both their bent shaft and straight shaft paddles?

 i.e. straight shaft paddles being better for the many different strokes one may have to do in whitewater.

Eric

1:38 a.m. on May 12, 2012 (EDT)
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Does this translate to Kayaking too?

8:41 p.m. on May 12, 2012 (EDT)
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Copy

12:10 p.m. on May 22, 2012 (EDT)
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300winmag, I personally don't use a bent, but I know others who do. Most of the longer trips I do, involve almost constant moving water. For those, I have a Mitchell T grip paddle, and a very lightweight Grey Owl that I use when the water slows a bit. As you point out, the bent shaft eliminates or makes more difficult, strokes like the J or a brace. If you use a bent shaft, you will be committed to sit a switch. If you are tandem, ideally, both paddlers should have bents.

Occasionally, I trip on routes that have some lake sections. Depending on what the ratio is, I will bring an ottertail. Again, I like the ability to use a variety of strokes not possible with a bent, especially the Canadian stroke, which is a fast efficient stroke.

In direct answer to your question, it depends on what your route will be. If the water is a low grade Class 2 with only a couple of moves, and bent would be fine. However, I always carry two paddles any time I am in the boat. Paddles get lost, broken, etc. and a spare is good insurance.

Not necessary or feasible to wrap an existing paddle with carbon fiber. There are lots of carbon wrapped paddles out there. Shape is the key, then strength, then weight.

Gift, bent shaft paddles are specifically for canoes. However, there are kayak paddles with bends for a more efficient stroke. As with the canoe bent shafts, complex shapes prevent or make more difficult, some strokes.

2:00 p.m. on May 23, 2012 (EDT)
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I have a sea kayak and they use "rotated blades" or "feathered blades" that are rotated  in axis aspect to reduce wind drag. (i.e  if you look down the paddle shaft lengthwise one paddle blade could be rotated as much as 70 degrees to the other .This permits it to "cut" the wind when the other blade is in the water.)
This is the closest kayak paddle equivalent to canoe bent shaft paddles. Usually river kayak paddlers use paddles that are exactly in line with each other because wind is not a large factor on rivers.

 

9:28 p.m. on May 28, 2012 (EDT)
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The feathered kayak blade does reduce wind. A canoe bent shaft is not designed to reduce wind, but rather to have the blade more vertical at the catch part of the stroke, resulting in more power. They are more efficient in terms of forward strokes, than a straight shaft. However, their asymmetrical shape hinders their efficiency for other strokes, such as a J, draws, braces, and strokes with in water recoveries.

5:46 p.m. on May 29, 2012 (EDT)
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Erich,,

Yep, I totallyunderstand the physics for a bent shaft paddle. I was merely making a rough comparison of the two kayak paddle types v.s. the two canoe paddle types. Each has its reason for existance.

Soooo... Back to my original question. do most canoeists switch to a straight shaft paddle in class II or better whitewater? I know I do.

7:41 p.m. on May 29, 2012 (EDT)
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OK, there was a recent article in Canoe Roots where Cliff Jacobsen and Kevain Callan "had it out". Kevin favors a straight for it's versatility in all things, Cliff likes the bent for flat and moderate moving water. A bent just isn't very good at braces and other complex paddle strokes. So, most expedition paddlers favor two paddles, a light straight shaft for the easy stuff and flatwater, and something like a T grip WW paddle for the hard stuff. If you have big lakes a bent might be useful, but that would mean three paddles. A bent is next to useless above easy Class 2, and even a pear grip light paddle is not going to be as effective in Class 3. My Mitchell is nice because it grabs a lot of water when I have must make moves. On an expedition last fall, the first modern descent of the Finlay River in tandem canoes, we had a variety of paddles. My partner, a former Canadian WW Rodeo champ, brought a Mitchell, and a light straight shaft. I had my Mitchell and a Grey Owl Voyageur. Only one paddler among all six had a bent shaft, and he only used it on the lower river when the paddling was no more than Class 1. Otherwise, he paddled with a straight WW paddle, a Werner, I think. He paddled bow the entire time, so J strokes with a bent were not necessary.

If I were doing marathon racing, like the one from WH to Dawson on the Yukon, I'd probably opt for a bent. Otherwise, no.

While bents are more efficient in many ways, so are asymmetrical canoes. Only my WW boats are asymmetrical, my others are all symmetrical. For me, canoeing isn't just about speed, nor absolute efficiency. It's about grace, a connection with the past, the journey, rather than how quickly I can get there.

7:45 p.m. on May 29, 2012 (EDT)
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Unfortunately the paddling forum here doesn't see a lot of action, so hopefully you don't mind my interjecting into your post.

Sad to say my Canoe has never even seen rapids & I'm still using the Aluminum & plastic paddles that came with it. Most shops here barely have one or two kinds of paddles at all much less all the different ones I see in magazines and such.

I've been eyeing the different kind of wooden paddles out there and have decided I am moving up & getting a nice one this year, bent or otherwise. But mostly flat water for me, at least until my son gets a little older.

Interesting to note the bent paddle is harder to use for different maneuvers/strokes. I still can't get my wife to paddle on the right side for a turn without telling her step by step, so I have to use a lot of different strokes to keep us on track.

2:00 a.m. on June 1, 2012 (EDT)
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Jersey, the upcoming article I wrote about paddle strokes will give you and your wife some needed input. Look for it soon.

If you have questions about strokes, feel free to email or post.

Erich

10:23 a.m. on June 2, 2012 (EDT)
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I mainly canoe on lakes (boundary waters canoe area wilderness) and use bent shaft paddles.  I carry one spare which is a straight shaft paddle.  All are wood and made by bending branches. These are the paddles I bought when I bought my canoe and have never switched to anything else.  If I were to buy a new paddle it would likely be a carbon fiber bent shaft paddle.

I do agree that straight shafts are better in moving water, but for what I do the bent shafts work well.

3:23 p.m. on June 3, 2012 (EDT)
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Erich said:

Jersey, the upcoming article I wrote about paddle strokes will give you and your wife some needed input. Look for it soon.

If you have questions about strokes, feel free to email or post.

Erich

 Thanks Erich, I'll look for it.

Been watching a lot of youtube videos and been able to figure out a lot on my own but there is never much discussion about the benefits of the different shape paddles. Need to hit one of those "demo days" things so I can just try a bunch one after the other.

Been thinking I need to put my wife in the rear of the canoe once to let her see what it's like. Maybe also put her in a small solo by herself while I'm nearby giving her directions. She needs to feel the effect of what she does without me compensating for her...

2:58 p.m. on June 6, 2012 (EDT)
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I have close to 20 paddles hanging in my garage.  Most are uniquely their own. Different blade shapes, different woods, different grips. Often it's the subtleties you may not notice at first. This can be because one otter tail has a thinner blade in the middle, or because the wood itself has more flex. The key is to find a paddle that fits your style. I should also mention that I use different lengths depending on the boat and how it is loaded. On long trips with a heavily loaded boat, I need a shorter paddle than when I am out for the day. And it is important to remember, paddle sizing is about the shaft length, not the overall paddle length.

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