For years I was never motivated to buy in on a bent shaft paddle. I had no ergonomic issues, no wrist issues, and had no motivation for shelling out the $$ difference between a straight shaft and a bent shaft….. until I went and paddled with an AT 2 paddle.
I had no idea why the paddle felt so good. But it did. And I bought one. Only with some good product education have I learned why it was/is that the AT feels so good:
Uni-body shaft and blade construction. Fancy sounding!! What it means to the lay person is that with the AT2 line and the Eddy design, the blade and the shaft are one solid piece. This gets rid of the glue and extra material. It makes it a stronger paddle and also reduces the swing weight.
Swing Rate. I paddled with a wooden paddle for years and when I switched, I really missed the swing rate. To get a good sense of the swing rate of an AT, hold it near center to your side and let it swing from vertical postion dropping away. The At feels lighter and more fluid in its swing rate , something I thought I had to give up switching from a heavier wooden paddle to a lighter carbon paddle.
AT is the only paddle that bends on two axis–both the X and Y axis. This is more in tune with the natural ergonomics of the hand therefore increasing efficiency and reducing stress and injury. AT calls it the dual axis bend. Where you really feel this is in doing draw strokes; they seem more natural.
In addition, the bend of the shaft is shaped to fit the contour of your hand so that the diameter of the shaft is slightly smaller towards your thumb and wider as it flares out towards your pinkie. The contouring also helps tremendouly with indexing. It is super easy to tell when you do not have the correct grip of the paddle. Even better is that you maintain full contact between the paddle shaft and the palm of your hand. This is key in forward strokes in particular where you would lose contact with the upper hand as it came through the stroke. With the contouring, you maintain contact through the entire stroke therefore keeping pressure on the shaft from the upper hand increasing efficiency.
An important piece of advice that we were given is that when fitting a paddle, it is important to not go with the size that you are used to/have been using/think you need; take the time to find the paddle length that fits. Do this by checking palm contact with the shaft in with the hand in between the bends. There is a little room to fudge here depending on your personal grip style–either wide or narrow. Check out the details of fitting a paddle in our previous article about hand placement.