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Old 06-15-2010   #1
Lakewood, Colorado
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 504
New paddle

This is my 5th season boating and I've used a Werner Rio the whole time. I get a lot of shit for it, but that thing has just refused to break. Recently, I've noticed there is a LOT of flex in the plastic blades and I realized I was probably using a lot more effort than I needed to. Other than that, I have no issues with the paddle.

So, I bought a new Werner Sidekick bent shaft and almost swam at Bleacher hole; it took me three tries to roll. This is a play blade and I think the Rio is more of a river blade, and I'm not used to the bent shaft. The paddle feels way different and not at all comfortable. Granted, I've only paddled it a couple times but I thought it would click a little faster.

Any recommendations from anyone that switched from straight to bent? What about a play vs. river runner blade? I mostly paddle class III-IV (Ark, CC, etc) and I really don't care for playboating (partly because I'm awful at it but also because it doesn't really interest me). Any other Werner paddles I should have looked at? Anyone want to trade?

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Old 06-15-2010   #2
Glenwood Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2009
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 57
paddle swithc

i recently switched from a straight shaft to a bent shaft (more of a forced switch than anything else, lost the straight shaft...another story) but I've had a helluva time getting used to it running the river. I do fine on the wave, and actually prefer the bent shaft when playboating, but when im out paddling anything else i can't seem to get things right. i really only notice it when i am faced with a must make move, and i just can't seem to get ergonomics or something right and get by by the skin of my teeth....

that said, i feel your pain, but can offer no solutions. im definitely getting a straight shaft paddle again, good luck.

"Only the boring get bored...."
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Old 06-15-2010   #3
sparky's Avatar
Ft. Collins, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 48
I think you need to try it our more. I have switched entirely over to bent shaft. for the rolling I think it is easier in a combat roll (you always can find where the blade is without the hand shift) but I would look at the length. if you are use to a longer paddle it will be different with a short paddle, and visa verse. I love the bent shaft paddle but it took me a while to get use to it!
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Old 06-16-2010   #4
Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 32
Check the offset of the blades some of the play paddles are down to a 15degree offset i just bought a new werner paddle before hand i tried out a friends that was at 30degree i have lerned and paddled a 45 i didn't think it would make that much of a difference but it did couldn't hit my roll very well scared me thought it was the straight to bent shaft maybe then got a chance to try out same paddle in a 45 and felt just fine
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Old 06-16-2010   #5
lmyers's Avatar
Buena Vista, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 4,207
Most paddles these days are made in the 13-20 degree offset range...personally I love it, but it you are used to a more dramatic offset it could cause problems.
I don't like bent shaft paddles either, I would recommend the straight shaft Player or Powerhouse (depending on your size).
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Old 06-16-2010   #6
pbowman's Avatar
Moab, Utah
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 245
IMO, i think the bent shaft hand/wrist position affects how the paddle blade sits on and slices into the water during the roll. when i first got my bent shaft, i had to be very conscious of "slowing down" with the motorcycle throttle motion of rolling my wrist to perch the blade correctly (flat) at the water surface. i think the other comments are also valid about the offset on your new paddle. if your old werner was a 45, and your new is only a 15 or 20 (or possibly a 0), this would also affect how the blade sits on the water surface at the start of your roll and how it slices into the water during the roll. if you can get used to it though, i have found the comfort of the bent shaft is excellent.

i also paddle with the sidekick, and i think it is the best all around design for the combination of river running and playing. i paddled a straight shaft sidekick for about 5-6 seasons (nearly wearing through the double thickness glass at the tips), and have had my bent shaft sidekick about 4 years now. after messing with friends paddles and having to paddle a couple times with my old spare, IMO it is the best blade for me. it would seem appropriate for your size too, as the smaller player blade would seem to be too small.

btw, the raft paddles you sold me a couple years ago are still going strong. one got dropped in lower taos box in early spring 2009, but it was returned to me about 4 months later after being found by a random non-boater and given to a taos outfitter. later.

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