A straight paddle improves comfort and control for kneeling paddlers. The blade should fit the paddler’s strength and intended cadence. The shaft should be nicely oval, filling the hand comfortably, and the top grip fit will aid control.
A bent paddle optimizes performance for sitting paddlers by moving the effective stroke aft, alongside the seated paddler’s thigh, with a twelve-degree bend. As the stroke is closer to the paddlers body and effective torso rotation is reduced by sitting, the bent blade should be smaller than a straight blade, but oval shaft and top grip should, again, fall comfortably to hand.
Selecting a single-blade paddle of proper paddle length to fit your body, paddling style and canoe is easy. We fit shaft length, from the grip to the throat, where the shaft joins the blade. Blade length doesn’t matter.
With a firm grasp on the top grip, support the paddle upside down, allowing the grip hand to drop, until fully extended downward. The blade should be above the head; the shaft directly in front of the paddler’s nose.
The position of the paddle throat, where blade and shaft meet, is the key to paddle fit. Straight paddles should fit the paddle throat to the hairline or an inch higher, as kneeling paddlers need the reach to start the forward stroke in front of the knee and to reach cross strokes.
Bent paddle shafts should fit the paddle throat to the bridge of the paddler’s nose. Sitting paddlers stroke from knee to hip and rarely use cross strokes. Shorter shafts place the blade underwater.