This is in response to the paddler who is looking for a straight shaft SUP paddle to paddle his canoe while standing up.
First, excellent idea and before I head into bent shaft rationale you should pick yourself up a good pole as well. Anyone who likes to stand up and paddle a canoe will love poling. It's an ancient skill and is especially great on rivers including the best way to paddle up streams and rivers with heavier current.
The bent shaft was pioneered by flat water canoe racers which eventually included outriggers. They found that the sweet spot of a good stroke bio-mechanically, that is for the sitting human body in a canoe, is actually just aft of your hip. The trouble with a straight shaft blade is that at that point in a typical stroke the paddle has already passed its most efficient point (where the blade is perfectly vertical in the water.) So right when you really can capitalize on efficiency and power the straight shaft blades are already starting to lift water instead of pulling it efficiently back, or more accurately, propelling the canoe efficiently forward. So the "flaties" took a look at that point and said, "What if the paddle were vertical at that point?" And vua la! the bent shaft paddle was born. You give up just a little efficiency in the catch part of the stroke (when the blade first enters the water) but you get the pay off later when it is passing your body. Then when you throw some good paddling technique at it with torso rotation and smooth recovery, you would be smokin' down the fluvial trail. The same is pretty much true in the stand up position but I wouldn't go more than the 7 degrees. You give up a lot when it comes to bracing with a more dramatic bend and you loose quite a bit of the underwater artistry of a straight shaft from my perspective. If you decide to stay with a straight shaft just know that all the good stuff with a straight shaft and blade is in the early part of the stroke. By the time you get back to your body it makes more sense to go for another stroke rather than pull back through the full range. Lean forward for that catch too and you will be loving it. Good luck. Grant Herman
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