Aleut paddles

Picked off the GP length thread.Neat looking paddles.I see some with only a ridge and some with a groove in the ridge. What is the difference?

No one seems to know…
… as far as I’ve seen - looking over everything I’ve been able to find on them.

Could be a “Spirit Line” of sorts, could just be a regional style, maybe some other use on or off water we have no connection to anymore, maybe one less ounce mattered to someone?

There is actually a lot more variation among these types of paddles that just the single and double ridge paddles you’re seeing (I assume from Wolfgang Brinck’s site?) too. All sorts of variations in the little loom to blade transitions, blade shapes, dimensions, etc.

Also some mixed ideas on use out there. I noticed a post by Mr. Brinck not long ago saying he now likes to use them with ridge forward - after using them ridge aft for many years (from what I’d heard/read, and what he still has on his site). As Paul mentioned on the other thread - it has useful characteristics both ways (and egg shaped loom optimizes these), and is a lot like having two (or more) paddles in one.

Ridge forward is what I see in old photos, and what I prefer for 90% of the time with my own. Ridge aft is OK, I just find that when using it that way it’s less unique and more of a mediocre euro/GP blend (which is good for some stuff). Nice, but a bit dull and not as efficient as when flipped. Flatter side aft, it is really it’s own thing and pretty special. Nice long solid power curve in the stroke, quieter release, and faster for same effort.

You can sort of look at the ridge side as power face as having dihedral and being mostly in drag mode (good for towing, loaded kayak, and awesome when paddle swimming - all times when a straight blade path and some slip can be a good thing). This feels familiar to most EP and many GP users - and could explain why more seem to use them that way. The flatter side takes advantage of lift/single vortex more and offer a feel/performance that uniquely Aleut. Blade finds it’s own optimal path nd adapts on the fly. Both ways offer a lot of built in brace/stability. Both are good for doing long paddles.

The more I use them the less I use the “dihedral” mode, the more I see the ridge being there primarily for strength and weight sayings (plus maybe some backside vortex magic), and the more I look at using it the other way as a bonus (though I do think it’s an intentional bonus - designed into them. Think of heading out to hunt, paddling fast and catching swells to get to the hunting areas - then filling the Baidarka with as much as you can and paddling it back heavily loaded. A dual nature paddle could be pretty handy).

Trick with them in not using them the same as a GP or EP. They work with any stroke style/angle, but if you use it exactly like a GP or EP, it will likely only perform like an odd and less than optimal GP or EP.

Used as an Aleut - they rock! (maybe my QCC700 is just more like a Baidarka than a Greenland SOF?). I find there are subtle but important differences in the stroke. I can describe it, but much easier to show it than write about it. In words, I tend to over emphasize elements and get hung up trying to compare to other paddles/techniques as reference points. Makes more out of it than it is. Paul seem to be able to put it much more simply and clearly than I can.

On water, loom shape gets you half way there (hand position, blade angle/cant, etc.), playing and paying attention to feedback should do the rest (as long as you don’t force other paddle habits on it - as it works well enough other ways that you may never find the unique stuff).

Thanks Grayak.I may try to make one.

Let me know if you do and I can…
… try to find what links and info I’m aware of (might be one or two you haven’t seen - might not). Not much out there, but some good stuff.

Helped me to see a couple different takes on them before deciding what shape I was really after. These ranged from the simplified Yost design to a set of drawings from Italy showing a little more refined shape and cross section details - plus the few drawings of some museum specimens.

First major steps are same/easier than GP (only one side wedge to remove), the smaller stuff can take more time though p particularly the ridge/grooves.

Highly recommended project - and also a good one to be strategic with laminations (so far, I’m only doing them WRC - and really like those).

Aleut Paddle
If you do make one, send it to this guy

His is too large.

You might email
Harvey Golden from qajaqusa for help.

Harvey has done a lot of work surveying arctic boats and paddles. He has made more boats than any person I’ve known.