Bent or Straight Shaft?

Remember back in school when your teacher would ask some inane question then tell you that there was no right or wrong answer, yet you were left feeling that you somehow had in fact, gotten the answer so very wrong? Remember thinking "then why did you ask it?" The debate over the which is better to use: a bent or straight kayak paddle shaft, is much like that question. Though it may feel that you are missing out on something, there exists no wrong answer. The choice is completely, and utterly, up to you. 

Though some kayak enthusiasts will try to convince you, the beginner, that their preference is better (of course it is, otherwise, why would they choose it), it really comes down to what works for you in the end: regardless of the type of kayaking you prefer; regardless of the length of your paddle or the length of your kayak; regardless of the amount of experience that you have. 

That being said, you may want to consider the differences and why the bent shaft paddle came into being. Because many new and beginning paddlers experience pain and stiffness in the wrists and elbows, paddle manufacturers began to build an angle into the shaft to help alleviate the overuse and resulting pain of those areas. However, proponents of the straight shaft will testify that the pain is caused when the new paddler fails to fully rotate the torso throughout the stroke and by correcting this mistake in kayaking form, the pain is alleviated. These same proponents also claim that in windy situations, a straight shaft is easier to adjust handholds without the awkwardness that they experience with a bent shaft. 

Many many aspects of the debate can be brought up here but only by doing proper research before your buy paddling gear, can you really get a true feel for what may work for you - for now anyway. 

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