Bent vs. Straight Shaft Paddle

Are you confused abut whether to buy a bent-shaft or straight-shaft canoe paddle? This video (below) breaks it down for you…

Do You Need a lot of Technical Control?

If you’re paddling technical water that requires more control and responsiveness—whitewater, for example—you’ll likely need to use both sides of the paddle face. In that case a straight-shaft paddle is a better choice. It’ll serve you well in those tight corners and around obstructions.

Are You Just Getting Started Canoeing?

If you’re just starting out canoeing, or if you’ll be sharing your paddle with beginners or young canoeists, a straight shaft is a bit more versatile than a bent-shaft paddle. You won’t have to think about which way the blade should face.

Will You be on Long Touring and Wilderness Expeditions?

Expedition trips are what the bent-shaft paddle was designed for. That slight degree of bend in the shaft provides for a more efficient paddle stroke as you’ll use less energy with each stroke. Bent-shaft paddles work best on flat water and slow-moving rivers.

Many who use bent-shaft paddles say it’s easier on their bodies, too, especially if they have issues with shoulder pain.

The Best of Both Worlds is…Both!

Chances are that over the course of your canoeing adventures you’ll find yourself in situations where one or the other type of paddle is best. So, why not have both?

Have a straight-shaft paddle available for whitewater and technical paddling. Have a bent-shaft paddle ready to take on your next multi-day trip. Plus it never hurts to have a spare paddle in the canoe… just in case.


If you have more questions, please call our Wisconsin-based Customer Service team at 715-755-3405. We’re happy to help!