How to Use a Kayak Paddle With a Bent Shaft

How to Use a Kayak Paddle With a Bent Shaft
Bent-shaft kayak paddles were designed to help alleviate stress on a paddler's wrists. The design places the wrists in a more ergonomically correct position, enabling the paddler to spend more time on the water while enduring less wear and tear on the wrist joint. While most paddlers agree that the bent-shaft paddle does decrease soreness in the wrist, especially when paddling for long periods, the transition from using a straight shaft to using a bent shaft can feel awkward at first. Making sure your paddle and hands are in the correct starting position is key to having a comfortable paddling experience.


Difficulty: Easy

Step 1
Place the paddle in the correct position. The power face of the blades should be facing back, toward the stern of the boat. The blade on the control-hand side should be vertical, and the off-hand side should be angled with the top edge angled forward. The degree of the angle will vary from paddle to paddle.
Step 2
Wrap your control hand around the paddle grip on the appropriate side. A bent-shaft paddle is gripped where the shaft angles back toward you, which is on the inside of the bent portion. Do not grip the bend itself, or the outside of the bent portion, as this will actually put more stress on your wrist than using a straight shaft will.
Step 3
Grip the paddle loosely with your off hand in roughly the same position on your off side. When making paddle strokes, keep your off hand looser during an on-side stroke, allowing the paddle shaft to be twisted to the correct position by your control hand.
Step 4
Perform paddle strokes just as you would with a straight-shaft paddle. The control and motion are exactly the same; only the grip positioning is different.

Article Written By Christopher Williams

Christopher Williams has spent over 11 years working in the information technology, health care and outdoor recreation fields. He has over seven years of technical and educational writing experience, and has brought strong skills and passion to the Demand Studios team in articles for eHow and Trails in 2009.

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