The Complete Guide to Our Canoe Paddle Grips

Bending Branches’ canoe paddles are made with a variety of grip designs. Each design  functions in a slightly different way. Here’s your complete guide to understanding canoe paddle grips…

Symmetric Freestyle/Palm Grip

This is the universal grip that can be used in either direction. Called either a freestyle grip or palm grip, it’s very comfortable on your hands, and good for long days of flatwater paddling.

freestyle palm grip

freestyle palm grip 2

This grip can be used with the paddle face in either direction. Because of that, it’s ideal for beginning canoeists, but also suits those with years of experience.

The Loon, Arrow, Beavertail and Java ST all have this symmetric freestyle or palm grip.  It’s basic, functional and easy to use.

Some paddlers prefer to leave the blade in the water at the end of the stroke, then just turn it and push it edge forward through the water to begin the next stroke; some call this the palm roll.

This grip allows you to do that in a way that allows you to push off the opposing face on the next stroke, basically twisting the paddle 180 degrees each cycle.   

Asymmetric/Classic Palm Grip

The asymmetric palm grip is usually used with bent-shaft paddles that are only used in one orientation—the same face of the blade is always forward. It looks the same from the front, but you’ll see this difference in the side view:

asymmetric palm grip

The undercut on the front face of this grip leaves room for your finger tips and helps put your hand and wrist into a neutral position. Supremely comfortable!

The BB Special, Cruiser Plus 11, Java 11 and Black Pearl II feature the asymmetric palm grip. The Viper has its own version of the asymmetric palm grip that leans forward more to help keep your wrist in a neutral position.

T-grip

Nothing seems to provide the same level of control as a T-grip. Pushing your thumb against the outside end of the grip when maneuvering with the paddle allows you to apply leverage to rotate and pry.

t-grip

t-grip side view

Whitewater paddlers tend to prefer this grip. A well-made T-grip will also be comfortable to hold for many hours on the water.

Our Expedition Plus features our Ultimate T-grip, while our kids’ paddle, the Twig, features a kid-sized T-grip.

Combination Palm/T-Grip

Some paddles combine the features of the T-grip and the palm grip. This gives you a very comfortable grip with excellent control. This combination grip can be either symmetric or asymmetric, depending on whether it’s paired with a straight or bent-shaft paddle.

BB combo grip

combo asymmetric grip

combo straight grip

The Sunburst 11 and Sunburst ST. feature a T-grip/palm grip blend. Our stand-up paddleboard paddles, the Amp and Balance, are also made with this high-performance grip.

Do you have more questions about paddle grips? Contact our Wisconsin-based Customer Service team with your paddle questions today:

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