Just when I thought I had it figured out.......

Joined
Jul 25, 2012
Messages
838
Somewhere back in time I was told that the grip of the paddle ought to fit just under your chin when you're standing upright. For me that means a paddle of 60" . I'm always solo and my paddling thwart is about 28-29" aft of center. Nothing fancy but it seems to mostly work.
Well, I was looking at one of those fancy pants black carbon paddles; Bending Branches Black Pearl. It's supposed to be strong and maybe I could leave my extra paddle at home and I've never used a bent shaft (11 degrees) before. Looking at the Black Pearl on the Duluth site and the longest they come in is 54", Holy Smokes! that's half a foot shorter than what I use now.
Am I missing something? Is it different if you paddle a tandem setup? Or is there a different rule with the bent blade?
Anybody know what is going on?
A little more confused than usual, Rob
 
Joined
Dec 7, 2011
Messages
425
Location
Maryland, USA
OM,
I paddle with a 63" ottertail paddle but the blade is 28" long. I like shafts that are 32 to 35" long. It is really the shaft lenth that is important, not the overall length. If the black pearl blade is 20" long Then the 54" paddle has a 34" shaft. The shaft length needs to put the blade in the water. Too short and there is blade that isn't submerged and is doing no work and being noisy.(Like a a lazy relative!) Too long and the negative leverage will kill your shoulders (but too long is better than too short). I measure from a seated position on a hard surface the distance from the seat to my shoulder and add tyhe distance from my canoe seat to the waterline. Different seat heights in different canoes would require different shaft lengths if you are being fussy. Kneeling paddlers use a shorter shaft and canadian style with a heeled canoe uses an even shorter shaft length. The theory still applies: how far above the water is your shoulder in your normal paddling position ( if your technique has your hand at nose or chin or eye level than measure accordingly).
I have never used a bent shaft paddle and have that on my list of things to do. It is apparently the most efficient paddle for a solo, seated paddler.
 
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W

Willis

Guest
I paddle my Prism with a 54" bent shaft and am quite comfortable. I switch to a 56" straight shaft when I need better maneuverability such as twisty narrow streams. The Prism has no rocker. If I had a boat with rocker I would probably be fine with just the bent shaft.
 
Joined
Feb 29, 2012
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1,819
Location
Schenectady, NY
My home made bent shafts are 48", and are just a tad too long for sit 'n switch in my DY. About 2" shorter would be just about right.
Interestingly, when MDB (my darling bride) lowers her standards and paddles tandem with me, we both use the same 48" paddles....she has a long torso and we both have the same seated heights!

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Joined
Jul 25, 2012
Messages
838
Well, dog and I were out playing around paddling yesterday; got to watching how my paddle worked. When I reach the end of the stroke I rotate the grip to where the flat part of the paddle is up and down and then do as much correction as I need and then as I reach for the new stroke, continue the rotation so I'm now with a new power face. I don't know why the 180 degree rotation, it just seems to work smoothly. Maybe so I wear out both sides of the paddle equally? Just kidding.
So anyways, you guys with the bent paddles; how do you do the end of your stroke? If I had a bent paddle and did it as I normally do at the end of the stroke the blade would be applying correction in the wrong direction. I did try to rotate in the opposite direction but my hand doesn't want to turn that way. Curious.
I am feeling very virtuous having saved two hundred plus dollars by not getting one of those carbon paddles. Maybe I ought to reward myself with one of those Duluth packs that look so good in Robin's canoe! Ah...the power of positive rationalization.
Best Wishes, Rob
 
Joined
Jul 25, 2012
Messages
838
p.s. My stars, Stripper Guy that's one nice paddle! I wanted to ask you; is there a book that teaches how to do the fiberglassing over wood as you do it? Every time I've had some project ready up to the glassing part and then it went into the crapper, AARRggggg......... Talk about snake bit!! but dang there are so many neat things a person could make if you could only get it to work. I'd come watch you but we have the width of the nation between us.
Thanks, Rob
 
Joined
Feb 29, 2012
Messages
1,819
Location
Schenectady, NY
Rob,
I've built a couple dozen strip canoes, many paddles, and even a strip sailboat! All of the construction is ridiculously simple, and mistakes are easy to recover from except for the glassing...an error in the glassing is difficult to recover from, not impossible, just time consuming.
With that said, with modern epoxy resins, it's easier than ever. And the cost savings are phenomenal, but nothing compared to the satisfaction of using the stuff you built yourself. Anyway, you're not alone, the glassing is usually the stumble step in most people's plans.
Those paddles, for example, cost me about $30 each to build. They have 8 x 20 blades and weigh 13 ounces. If I were to buy a similar paddle from a commercial source, they would cost around $250-$300!! The strip canoes that I build usually cost around $500, compare that to any carbon, kevlar or glass boat. BTW, I have a 16'8" DY Special that I built, it weighs 31 lb!! That's lighter than any layup that Sawyer ever made.
If you rummage around my Picasa photos, you'll find step by step photos of a canoe that I built and donated to a non profit organization, many people have told me that those photos, and a related forum thread, was better information than any how to book they has seen.

Maybe...

I buy most of my fiberglassing supplies from RAKA in Florida, great prices, great selection, easy to deal with, and very fair shipping costs.
And there are too many online videos to count that shown how to laminate fiberglass over wood.
You could try making your own paddle, you may find you have a hidden talent, or not. If not, you just would need more practice. None of my projects ever end up the way that I initially envision them, but I accept their flaws and call it "character".

If you have any other questions, or just want to talk boats, just contact here or via PM...

Mike T.
 
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