Aleut paddle questions

Here (from Greyak’s site)

and these:

Check out the discussion on Aleut from a few days back - there’s more there on it…

Thanks;I thought I had seen those somewh

hate to throw a wrench…
the one I have is not showing on those pics.


Is it different and how?

Better, stronger, faster…
Visually, not much to see. Hair wider blades, spine differences, nuch nicer loom shape - none of it really shows in photos.

gotta agree
it is different form the earlier versions and definitely an improvement


Aleut paddle
I just completed a new Aleut paddle at the Skinboat School in WA. It takes some “getting used to”, since it is significantly different from my GL paddle.

The ridged side is the power face. According to Cory Freedman, the guru at the school, The central ridge and the sharp edges on that face tend to fool the water into thinking that it is a wider paddle.

The paddle requires a little modification of you stroke. The paddle is kept low to the combing, with lots of torso rotation. Little effort is required to keep the kayak moving at a comfortable, fast pace. The paddle is about 1’ longer than a typical GL paddle. The loom is long, so I don’t have the familiar comfortable grip that I had with the GL paddle. It will take me awhile to get to be friends with it.

opinions abound
I refuse to get wrapped up in what is a right way to hold, or use a paddle. If you look at Amphibious man, you will see the former Greenland champion holding a paddle which appears too short in the loom and he is doing a small sliding stroke as he paddles a normal GP. Maligiaq uses it differently. As stated before (I believe by Greg Stamer) there are as many ways to use a GP as there are Greenland style paddlers.

the same applies for an Aleutian paddle. Personally, I find the Aleutian paddle to be far more versatile than a GP. I don’t know anything about the theory that the ridged side fools you into thinking that the paddle is wider. perhaps next time I go out I will switch to the ridged side and see if this is the case. Nothing would surprise me as I haven’t been able to talk to an Aleutian paddling a sof in conditions to ask why he made that paddle that way and what is “his” correct way to use it.

for me, if I want to eat up the miles fast I use the very slightly concave side or “flat” side on some Aleutian paddles I have seen, and if i want to go slower, with a bit more control I switch over. As I said a very versatile paddle and I woudl hate to see anyone limit the possibilities that this paddle offers.


Skinboat style Aleut differs from yours
Look at pictures on-line. Ridge is sharper and possibly lower (more like dihedral ridge on say a Werner). From what I’ve read about these this evolved from folks using that side as power side and then tweaking the ridge to get the most out of using it that way (and take advantage of various power tools those orginally creating the current design had and liked using).

With yours, the flatter face is definitely best for cruising AND strength. Ridge side OK, and has uses too.

Interesting how the description of use and dimensional differences from GP still pretty much matches on these different Aleuts - as those things are true for either side over a range of small variations.

I still feel the correct answer is “both” sides, depending on what you’re doing - AND what Aleut you have.

In any case, many will go by initial feel impression (liking the more familiar euro-like feel of the ridge side and leave it there) vs actual performance (and more time to get to know the flatter side and it’s slightly more winglike feel). Many also never measure with GPS, paddle at group paces where it all works OK, etc.

Since I paddle my kayak unloaded (not full of sea otters, etc.) and like to move along - and don’t tow very often - that has me on the flatter side mostly so I can take advantage of the better bite, cleaner release, and finesse that having the narrower edge of the loom foreward offers. With more load (situations where you’re paddling hard and getting nowhere fast - like towing) - the ridge side dumps some load and can save your body, and the fatter side of loom forward gives a solid grip.

If I had a Skinboat School style Aleut - who knows? I might use ridge side mostly. Loom feel really matters in all this, and can’t get that in pictures.