Hello, Paddler!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Contemplating becoming a switch hitter, Euro to greenland paddle

I have been looking at 2 piece greenlands to carry as a spare paddle. Most of my paddles are bent shaft with high angle (larger volume) blades and can be a pain to have on the deck of the kayak in rough water attempting to remove them. My current paddles range from 190 to 210cm depending on what kayak I am using.
I have never used a greenland paddle for any extended period of time, and probably will need to re-evaluate my stroke, with that in mind I have a few questions.

What effect does the ferrule in the center section of a 2 piece paddle have on a correct form for using a greenland paddle?
Are greenland paddles ever feathered (offset)?
Should I be looking at similar lengths of the paddle as a euro paddle?
I am a high angle paddler, does this change the profile of the blade of a greenland paddle?

Today is day 1 of this idea, and I am just starting to look at paddle options and doing my research.
Thanks for any advice

«1

Comments

  • There was a pretty good discussion a few months ago that some good information buried within it: https://forums.paddling.com/discussion/2938085/wing-vs-euro-vs-stick/p1 Some of the contributors to that discussion are quite knowledgeable.

    With what I know: A good ferrule should not have an effect unless a part of the ferrule gets in the way when sliding the paddle for an extended stroke. Greenland are not feathered. that is a feature. You can us a high angle stroke with a GP - probably closer to a wing stroke (see the discussion above). Length is a whole 'nother can of discussion. The classic West Greenland paddle sizing (for a Greenlandic body and low narrow qajaq) is wingspan plus a cubit. Mine are pretty close to that for a pretty average euro/american body & a deep wide kayak (Pygmy Arctic Tern) and are 213 cm.

  • Length is largely a personal preference. As others have said you'll be all over that paddle with your hands.

  • Not sure I have ever seen a feathered GP. Uncommon, if available at all.

    The ferrule on a 2 piece shouldn't be a problem. Perhaps on a storm paddle (a shorter version of the GP), where you slide the paddle back and forth t offset for its shorter length a ferrule may come into play. But on a regular GP paddle, you probably won;t touch that part of the paddle.

  • I suggest you evaluate a one piece first. Will be easier and less expensive to find. Determine length, blade width, loom size and style all of which will transfer over to sectional paddle. And you might even decide to ditch the Euro in favor of traditional.

  • I found a 2 piece on amazon for $160, a CISI carbon 210/220cm 680 gram adjustable length. I question the adjustable ferrule, it is external in nature just like the external ferrule found on some Werner paddles. My main concern with this paddle is the ferrule in the center would interfere with using the GP as they were intended for a wider sweep. My low angle catch and sweep is a pretty prominent tool when I paddle.

  • edited December 2018

    Can’t say enough good things about Gearlab GPs but they’re an investment especially if you don’t know your desired length. I use 205cm euros but a 220cm GP, high angle stroke w both. I used the rule of thumb stated above to find my 220cm length preference. An advantage of the adjustable length would be experimenting with your preference, maybe worth the inconvenience of bulk in the center of your loom.

  • edited December 2018

    I just looked at that CISI paddle and I wouldn't even consider it, as the blade design is seriously lacking. First off, the blades are too short. The edges appear to be blunt and the junk wrapped around the root of the blade looks like it would be a problem. This paddle is obviously meant to be paddled by holding the loom, rather than the traditional root-of-the-blade grip used by Greenlanders. I'm also very leery of a carbon fiber paddle for only $160. Judging by the poor overall design, I'd you're getting what you pay for. This is not really a Greenland paddle.

    Additionally, I don't recommend shoulderless paddles for beginning Greenland paddlers, as the shoulder really help you learn proper canted-paddle technique. Once you have the mechanics of the stroke down, you can use any type of GP.

    Another important consideration is that if you buy a carbon fiber paddle, you're stuck with it as-is. You can't easily make modifications to suit your personal preference. I suggest that you look for a good wooden paddle designed by someone who is actually a Greenland-style paddler. Get a paddle with pronounced shoulders to start; you can always reshape it once you have enough experience to determine what works best for you. If you have any woodworking skills or interest in woodworking, consider making your own paddles. That way, you can experiment to your heart's content for far less than the cost of a carbon fiber paddle. Full disclosure, I have a vested interest in promoting the making of wood GPs, so I'll not elaborate any further on the subject.

    Your paddle technique will change considerably with a GP. You plant the paddle farther back (mid-shin vs. near your ankles with a Euro paddle), you apply force gradually throughout the stroke (as opposed to pulling hard as soon as the blade had planted) and the stroke continues well past your hips. You do not use a "control hand" with a GP, so feathering is not necessary. Except in really rough conditions your grip is very relaxed, with the fingers of the lower hand hooking the paddle and pulling, and the base of the fingers on your upper hand pushing on the shoulder of the blade, canting it forward, while the end of the loom is loosely cradled between your thumb and forefinger. This canting is key to getting a powerful stroke, as it promotes water flow over the blade which produces lift. While it's certainly possible to learn this technique on your own, it's better to have someone demonstrate it, if possible.

    Lastly, go to www.qajaqusa.org and look at the material they have available on Greenland paddles and technique. The site is a treasure trove of knowledge about Greenland paddling. You may also be able to find GP practitioners in your area that can help you and perhaps lend you paddles to try.

    BTW, you don't need a 2-piece GP as a spare. I and most Greenland-style paddlers I know carry what referred to in the US as a "storm paddle" on their foredecks. It's a GP with a fist-width loom that's used with a sliding stroke. It's easy to secure on-deck where it's always in easy reach and I've needed to use mine on a couple of occasions where my primary paddle was torn from my grasp. Storm paddles are also great in close confines, such as when paddling in sea caves.

  • Besides the finding your optimal loom length and adjusting for more or less purchase with the blade depending on wave and water conditions, an adjustable loom paddle allows reaching around a small rider.

  • The definition of a switch hitter is one who can use a baseball bat with either a left or right hand swing. Now for a single bladed canoe paddle I would understand, but for a double-bladed kayak paddle I must object on the grounds of metaphorical accuracy. :p

    Not that my objection is worth the energy used to transmit it across the continent.

  • @Sparky961 said:

    Not that my objection is worth the energy used to transmit it across the continent.

    It passed an ocean too, before it arrived here.

  • @Allan Olesen said:

    @Sparky961 said:

    Not that my objection is worth the energy used to transmit it across the continent.

    It passed an ocean too, before it arrived here.

    Ack... definitely in debt now.

  • I'll second the concerns about those cheapo Chinese "carbon fiber" GP's. I would not waste money on one as materials, design and quality are usually sub-par. There are paddle makers (like this guy on Etsy) who will sell you a nice wooden one for less than the sketchy carbon ones.
    https://www.etsy.com/listing/518871454/greenland-kayak-paddle-semi-shouldered?gpla=1&gao=1&utm_campaign=shopping_us_TraditionalMarine_sfc_osa&utm_medium=cpc&utm_source=google&utm_custom1=0&utm_content=14621919&gclid=CjwKCAiA9qHhBRB2EiwA7poaeBu4UoBtrYc-TU3oyZ9zd0ZwzPzAehPnnzcTnUQxUoMyrx0o7qAn4xoCiz4QAvD_BwE

    You really don't need a two piece to carry a GP as a spare if you've got a long enough boat. Both my cedar and carbon GP's are 84" (213 cm) and fit under the deck bungies on my 16' and 18' kayaks. My 72" storm paddle fits on the decks of the 13.5' and 15' boats and I often carry it as a spare.

    Also second the suggestion to get a shouldered wooden one in a longer length -- you can pare it down if it feels too long and even carve away the shoulders. I like an unshouldered paddle myself, but that's just a personal thing and there are advantages of shoulders especially to the novice. There have been a couple of instances when I did wish I had the shoulders, but not enough so to want to own one any more. I did have a shouldered Northern Lights 3 piece carbon paddle but never did warm up to it and sold it to somebody who appreciates it more (so I could afford the Gearlab).

    I like my 2-piece Gearlab GP very much and the center connection is virtually undetectible in use. But one reason I like it is that it feels just like my favorite paddle with is a 5-lamination cedar and fir wood one. It is a good point that you should settle on a preferred length and blade shape before investing in a carbon fiber.

  • @Sparky961 said:
    The definition of a switch hitter is one who can use a baseball bat with either a left or right hand swing. Now for a single bladed canoe paddle I would understand, but for a double-bladed kayak paddle I must object on the grounds of metaphorical accuracy. :p

    Not that my objection is worth the energy used to transmit it across the continent.

    My wife spit out her soda with laughter at that comment.

    My current "go to" paddle is a 210cm bent shaft Corryvrecken, after a day sitting at the computer, reading as much information as I could; I still cannot decide. I am leaning toward a shouldered storm one piece cedar.
    My most paddled boat is a WS Zephyr 155, followed by a Pyrahna Speeder. Most of my paddling is done on rivers, light WW (probably class 3 and under) followed by light surf and confused or reflected water. I have not broken a paddle for several years, either because I am a better paddler, or I am an old guy now, and keep doing stupid stuff to a minimum. I do not have any shoulder or joint issues.
    What would be a collective opinion on a logical progression to a gp,

  • even at my age {66} I know that the new use of the term {Switch Hitter} has nothing to do with either baseball or with paddling any kind of watercraft. {is this really what you wanted, as a title, to open up a discussion?}

  • edited December 2018

    Seriously....after reading your kayak choices and your chosen paddling dynamics, I would say that your choices seem to be in line with the paddle you are presently using. It's the venue where a Euro blade is meant to be used. Otherwise , if you still insist, you need to try a Greenland paddle, the turbulent waters etc would suggest that you seek a shouldered paddle possibly with a diamond shaped shoulder rather than more rounded . The maneuvers that are necessary in this type of venue, would also suggest a paddle only a few cm {at most} longer than what you already use. The river thing means a little extra width from the normal width for cruising, {your widest hand ability to hold, a bit beyond comfortable} I would also probably opt for having parallel sides for 6 to 10 inches to the tip. {more purchase for the river work in shallow water} No taper in the tip area. Because this isn't for easy cruising and you are not changing venues too, I would suggest making the loom the same length as you are presently using measured the way a GP loom is measured , with only the thumb and the index fingers on the loom and the other fingers wrapped on the shoulder/blade root.

    Best Wishes
    Roy

    PS lenticular shaped blade section and very sharp edges extending around the tip. oval loom. And if you can get Sitka spruce, it weighs a little more than red cedar, but for you purpose , it would be better.

  • @roym said:
    even at my age {66} I know that the new use of the term {Switch Hitter} has nothing to do with either baseball or with paddling any kind of watercraft. {is this really what you wanted, as a title, to open up a discussion?}

    Ohhhh..... kay. I guess I was too limited in my previous search for definitions. Urban Dictionary to the rescue.

  • edited December 2018

    @Sparky961 said:

    @roym said:
    even at my age {66} I know that the new use of the term {Switch Hitter} has nothing to do with either baseball or with paddling any kind of watercraft. {is this really what you wanted, as a title, to open up a discussion?}

    Ohhhh..... kay. I guess I was too limited in my previous search for definitions. Urban Dictionary to the rescue.

    My son is a great switch hitter. He is top ranked MMA fighter in New England who can fight out of orthodox or southpaw stances, depending on which will confuse his opponent more.

    To me "switch hitting" means being able to alternate techniques and stances adroitly. I don't read more into it than that, unless someone is explicitly indicating otherwise.

    sing

  • edited December 2018

    @trvlrerik said:
    My current "go to" paddle is a 210cm bent shaft Corryvrecken, after a day sitting at the computer, reading as much information as I could; I still cannot decide. I am leaning toward a shouldered storm one piece cedar.
    My most paddled boat is a WS Zephyr 155, followed by a Pyrahna Speeder. Most of my paddling is done on rivers, light WW (probably class 3 and under) followed by light surf and confused or reflected water. I have not broken a paddle for several years, either because I am a better paddler, or I am an old guy now, and keep doing stupid stuff to a minimum. I do not have any shoulder or joint issues.
    What would be a collective opinion on a logical progression to a gp,

    While I know several paddlers who use a Euro and carry a storm paddle as a spare, I wouldn't recommend going immediately to a storm paddle because the sliding stroke required is a fairly advanced technique. You would be better off to year to use a full-size GP first, then add a storm once you've mastered GP technique.

    That said, I'll also caution you that GPs are not great in shallow water, since it can be difficult to get the blades fully submerged. This is more critical than with a Euro, since the blade area of a GP is distributed along a much greater length. GPs are really designed as open water paddles and If I was paddling primarily in shallow rivers, I would either modify the design significantly (wider blades) or use a Euro paddle.

    Regarding the Etsy link that Willowleaf posted, while I can't endorse these paddles without having seen one, the specs on his shouldered paddle (86" with a 22" loom) are right in the ballpark for the average American male. I can't tell much about the blade or loom cross-sections from the pictures on Etsy or his website, but the paddle should at least be a good starting point.

  • edited December 2018

    Re: that Etsy paddle, I gave it a shot, semi-shouldered. The workmanship was excellent but the loom's join to the shoulders was strangely uncomfortable. If you're looking down the blade it's more of a + shape because the loom is so oval. I used it for half a season, figured out my desired length, and switched to a more streamlined (and expensive) design.

  • Do most GP looms have an oval or rounded shaft ? In my consideration of different paddles I realised how heavily I rely on my bent shaft paddles for indexing, and that for the last several years I have been feathering my paddles.
    How difficult has it been for others unlearning muscle memory?

    What I thought was a simple solution for spare paddle storage; has become not such a simple process.

  • For a carved paddle, oval seems to be standard. When using a shouldered paddle with the loom sized to you, you will have you hands at the end of the look & around the base of the blade. This gives a natural index. Personally, I found the unfeathered GP a natural fit and better for me than a feathered Euro.

    <> We may be helping you overthink this, especially if it is for a spare.

  • I have purchased three Werner Arctic Wind paddles since 1989, all were 8 ft (244 cm) long or longer and requiring me to cut them down to 230 cm - but I kept them feathered since all my other paddles were feathered. The last one I purchased was graphite - very light. Used them as my touring paddle in my Nordkapp until a couple years ago when I replaced it with a non-feathered GearLab Akiak. I still use both and don't have any problems switching back and forth from unfeathered to feathered. Werner stopped making the Arctic Wind long ago but I found it to be a nice feathered paddle.

  • edited January 3

    @trvlrerik said:
    Do most GP looms have an oval or rounded shaft ? In my consideration of different paddles I realised how heavily I rely on my bent shaft paddles for indexing, and that for the last several years I have been feathering my paddles.
    How difficult has it been for others unlearning muscle memory?

    I switch without much thought between:

    • Unfeathered Greenland paddle (Lars Gram carbon)
    • Feathered, bent shaft euro paddle (Werner Ikelos carbon)
    • Unfeathered, bent shaft euro paddle (the same Ikelos)

    The first few strokes after adding or removing feather to the euro paddle will feel strange, but after that, it feels natural.

    I do not feel the bent shaft or feathering to be missing when I switch to the GP - in this case, the necessary switch in technique takes more attention than the switch between paddle shafts.

    I also sometimes use a straight shaft euro paddle. That is to me a larger difference than the difference between the above mentioned paddles. I can't really get used to that, even though it is a really nice paddle.

  • I sold my bent shaft Euro and like a straight shaft.
    Whatever paddles your boat.

  • Side bar here on GP's: paddling instructor Paulo Oullet has good videos on form. This one is just a preview of one of his courses for sale, but I'm posting the link because it has some nice clear clips of paddling techniques with a GP (he's using a carbon Gearlab Akiak like mine.)

    https://www.dancingwiththesea.com/fitness-paddling-s3/

  • @trvlrerik said:
    Do most GP looms have an oval or rounded shaft ? In my consideration of different paddles I realised how heavily I rely on my bent shaft paddles for indexing, and that for the last several years I have been feathering my paddles.

    For me... it's not the loom of the GP that does the indexing. It's the shoulder.

  • edited January 7

    if you do any one handed rolls {Angel roll} or one handed sculling, then your hand is in the center of the loom and the indexing is done with the loom. If you never do these maneuvers or never wish to , then the indexing is either done using the shoulder or the blade.

    Having a round loom would limit the paddle's use and rule out some maneuvers.or make them more difficult. {the maneuvers can still be done, but it adds a challenge that isn't necessary.}

  • If a person ever does harpoon practice, the paddle is used as a balance and held in front by the center of the loom. Any capsize in this position is followed by an Angel roll. Also when doing a Balance Brace, and to be able to index and skull if necessary with one hand. When doing a bow rudder, dropping the non working blade into the armpit on the working blade side. It's a nicety to also have a loom that allows indexing and control. I would never consider a Greenland paddle with a round loom for my use and would never recommend one for others either.

  • I also prefer a little more rectangular shape for the loom instead of oval because of the added control for maneuvers such as I stated. Especially since you only hold the loom for these more technical maneuvers

    The shoulder is also a place I shape depending on the intended use for a particular paddle.. For extreme technical use I like a diamond shape for the shoulder, but find that for distance the diamond shape can create hot spots, so on a distance paddle much prefer a more rounded shoulder where the palm of the hand rests with the last two fingers in contact with an edge for indexing. .{YMMV}

  • RexRex
    edited January 7

    @roym
    Good to know. You inspired me to go look closely at my GPs. One has a round loom and all the rest are more rectangular; indexed.

  • There are a lot of great reasons for using a GP. Fitting better as a spare on the deck is not one of them. I think you should explore the other benefits and you will find that having a two piece paddle is not a high priority. There is a learning curve with a GP, you will not be happy using one with your current stroke believe me. It could take a whole season to learn to effectively use a GP. One of the great advantages of a wood GP is that it is made to fit YOU and can be easily modified and it’s flex and buoyancy. You won’t get that same feel with a two piece GP. So if you just want a compact deck paddle the Greenland may not be for you.

  • Btw. The Greenland Paddle blade is usually shaped as a narrow flattened dihedron tapering to an oval wing at the tips. This shape has almost no aerodynamic drag and therefore we do not index the blades. Proper paddling technique with a GP is with a straight wrist which is another advantage reducing carpal tunnel injuries and wrist pain.

  • I have often noticed that many of the paddles I have looked at have replaceable tips. I have never seriously damaged a paddle on its tips. If I know I am going to be in a "high contact" area with rocks or WW I do not think I would be using a GP, and pull out one of my war paddles (Werner Tybee poly blades)
    The tips on some of the GP paddles vary from oval to nearly squared off; does the shape of the tip make a huge difference in lift in rolling or a wide sweep? or is it a preference thing when handling the end of the paddle?

  • replaceable tips would allow you to change the color of the tip. I doubt that the tip will ever wear enough while the paddle is still serviceable otherwise , to ever need replacing. If you are depending on the tip shape for rolling, you need to practice more. The tip shape does make a difference in the catch and the way the paddle loads during the stroke.

  • when I refer to tip shape , I am talking , not about square or rounded. I am talking about the actual taper of the tip or the flare of the tip.

  • A flared tip will load at the entry and be better for sprinting. A tapered tip will catch smoother and the load will build farther back {after the big muscles have come to a better/less extended position} and be easier on the joints and impart less shock and be less fatiguing for distance paddling.

  • I should also qualify my statement about for rolling, if you are depending on paddle shapes, you need to practice more. Rolling is more about body mechanics than paddle shape {or should be} There are paddles that will enhance beginning rolling and so if you are going to own a paddle you need to chose some things over others depending on your focus. I have chosen {for my personal paddles} paddle shapes that enhance the forward stroke. And the efficiency of the forward stroke, but I realize some people focus and paddling venue is different. Many paddlers don't have miles to go in the smaller lakes and thus might opt for a more rolling focus and a paddle shape that takes that into account.

  • @roym said:
    A flared tip will load at the entry and be better for sprinting. A tapered tip will catch smoother and the load will build farther back {after the big muscles have come to a better/less extended position} and be easier on the joints and impart less shock and be less fatiguing for distance paddling.

    I am struck by a language barrier here, I think. I have absolutely no idea what "flared" and "tapered" means in this context. Could you point to some images of typical flared and tapered tips.

  • I've seen photos of Inuit GPs with bone tips that are wider than the rest of the blade. This adds surface area and should increase the initial "bite" of the blade. I'm pretty sure that this is what Roy means.

  • this should be worth a thousand words. Bryan is correct
    http://www.traditionalkayaks.com/Kayakreplicas/Paddles.html

  • @roym said:
    this should be worth a thousand words. Bryan is correct
    http://www.traditionalkayaks.com/Kayakreplicas/Paddles.html

    Errh... I see a lot of paddles in these photos. But if I don't know which ones you would call tapered, and which ones you would call flared, I am not really getting any wiser.

    I could guess that no. 8 in the first photo is tapered, and no. 18 is flared. But none of these represent anything I see in typical, commercial paddle designs.

  • Here is a picture, You tell me. Does the paddle blade flare towards the end {get larger} or does the paddle blade taper towards the tip? {get smaller and thinner} {photo by Greg Stamer}

  • as a note. If you are talking Greenland Paddles or if you are talking commercial carbon offerings from the few companies producing carbon paddles. These two things are different. All of the commercial Carbon Greenland style paddles , to my knowledge, follow only one style or a variation of that one style. That style tends towards a sprinting style for a Greenland Paddle and not the quiet hunting style with a truly efficient long distance stroke as its prime function.

  • edited January 13

    As the hunting style in Greenland changed, so did the paddle shape. The need to sneak up on a sleeping seal with a harpoon gave way to rifles and a need to get to a seal that had been shot from a distance and attach a float before it sank. As motor boats and rifles became more prevalent the need for close quarters stealth gave way. Today , in Greenland the focus has continued with the advent of the Greenland games where stealth is non existent and speed for racing } and rolling proficiency is what the paddle shapes are focused on. So that is what the Carbon Greenland Paddle producers have used as a guideline. It however doesn't mean that there is only one style of shape that is called a Greenland Paddle. {the paddle pictured above is that of Maligiaq Padilla's grandfather's , a seal hunter} {photo by Greg Stamer}

  • I'm not sure if you can tell , but here is a picture of 3 different tips done in carbon.
    {I made these to test shapes of different style Greenland paddles} The first has a taper from the shoulder of the paddle to the widest point right at the tip. The second has a taper to a point several inches from the tip and then continues at that width all the way to the tip. The third has a taper from the paddles shoulder to a spot several inches from the tip and then closer to the tip it becomes narrower {tapers} for a finer entry.

  • Is the white pole on the right of the photo for scale? It looks like it is about 3' 6", I am looking at tapered designs for the "quiet" with tapered shoulders. I am going to try out some different length looms and profiles of the looms.
    My quick purchase has made me realise, once again , how little I know, slowing down to make a little more informed decision.

  • Reed now has their own, GP. Wondering about the hollow core, and the internal rib. I had early paddle from NLP, and played with an early Gearlab. They where both, hollow. You could hear the paddles, with each stroke. When the seams; of the NLP, where compromised, the paddle would take on water and slosh. Neither the NLP or GL , where very buoyant . I remember there was GP a discussion, a few years ago; on PNET, on foam vs hollow cores. Not sure what Gearlab , does now..

    https://www.chillcheater.com/kayaks-and-paddles/2-piece-carbon-fibre-greenland-paddle

  • @trvlrerik said:
    Is the white pole on the right of the photo for scale? It looks like it is about 3' 6", I am looking at tapered designs for the "quiet" with tapered shoulders. I am going to try out some different length looms and profiles of the looms.
    My quick purchase has made me realise, once again , how little I know, slowing down to make a little more informed decision.

    A yardstick?

  • @Medawgone said:
    Reed now has their own, GP. Wondering about the hollow core, and the internal rib.

    I have looked at that one, and I am 95% sure that it is a rebranded Lars Gram greenland paddle, which I also own. I have never had water inside it.

    Regarding the buoyancy, it may very well be less than a wooden paddle. It is thinner near the tip than any wooden paddle I have seen, and this will of course reduce the volume, which again will cause less buoyancy at the same weight.

  • @roym said:
    I'm not sure if you can tell , but here is a picture of 3 different tips done in carbon.
    {I made these to test shapes of different style Greenland paddles} The first has a taper from the shoulder of the paddle to the widest point right at the tip. The second has a taper to a point several inches from the tip and then continues at that width all the way to the tip. The third has a taper from the paddles shoulder to a spot several inches from the tip and then closer to the tip it becomes narrower {tapers} for a finer entry.

    OK. So the one at the right is what you would call a tapered tip, I suppose. I have never seen that shape any any commercial paddle, neither carbon nor wood.

    Is the one to the left then what you would call flared, or would the flaring have to be more extreme for that?

Sign In or Register to comment.
Message Boards Close

Hello, Paddler!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!