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HOME arrow GEAR INSIGHTS arrow What's with that angled blade?
What's with that angled blade? PDF Print E-mail
By: Stand Up Paddle Surfing Magazine   
Monday, 29 December 2008
    You just ordered your brand new carbon fiber paddle shiny and new. Overly ripe with anticipation, you can't wait to tear into that big long cardboard box and reveal the long black gem inside. It finally arrives. After busting through the box tape, you pull it out, stand it up next to you and gaze up at the handle . . . ah, the perfect height. Then, as you look down, your eyes glaze over as you find yourself staring at a “broken blade”. You grumble out loud, “They put that thing on crooked.” Hold on there Buddy, it’s supposed to be crooked. Most stand up paddles on the market today feature an angled blade. What’s it all about? Read on . . .


    The angled blade found on the vast majority of the stand up paddles on the market today has its roots in outrigger canoe paddle design. The blades are normally angled somewhere between 10-12 degrees. Although it seems counterintuitive, when you hold your new paddle, the blade should be angled forward and away from you. On most paddles, this puts the paddle company logo facing forward.

   There are three main reasons why the blade is angled forward. First, the angle of the blade allows the stroke to begin further away from your body while maintaining a solid grip on the paddle shaft. This makes for a longer, more powerful stroke. Secondly, at the beginning of the stroke, the angled blade pushes down on the water before pulling straight back. This downward push relieves some of the pressure off the nose of the board, releasing it from the surface tension of the water and setting the board for better forward glide. Finally, at the conclusion of the stroke, which should end at your heels, the angle allows the blade to come clean from water without lifting water as you recover your stroke, which would in turn push the tail of the board down and stifle your glide.

   Will all stand up paddles forever have an angled blade? Nope. In fact several companies such as Infinity in Dana Point, California, have stand up paddles with straighter blades that many agree are the most efficient paddles available. However, for now it is the angled outrigger blade design that has been embraced by the vast majority of the industry.

feed1 Comments
Megan Kress
May 06, 2009

The bent shaft paddle originated with a guy named Gene Jensen who was a legend in marathon canoe racing and canoe design.

Check out a story on him here:

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