And, yet.... another paddle question!!

Just when you thought I had gone into hiding!!

Seriously, I’m curious as to the versatility of these silly lookin’ GP sticks.

I want wood in one piece. I’d start with a factory item and then try making some of my own if I can figure out how to make my boat go forward with one of these gizmos.

My question is regarding river use. I paddle a 16.5’ x 21.5" boat which is used primarily on lakes and reservoirs. I do, however, enjoy paddling a medium sized moderate speed river, North Platte, where I run Class I occasionally. For the real white stuff I use a different boat and paddle.

Can a GP be used in mild rivers? Can one ferry mild waters with it when going upstream? How about back ferries to avoid obstacles? Wouldn’t the support of a GP be excellent when catching big eddies on an easy river?

I like to chase thunderstorms here in the Rockies and the GP is supposed to be a great storm paddle, even in it’s standard configuration. Strikes me that it should also be doable on an easy to moderate river.

What say ye traditional extremists? :slight_smile:

BTW, is it socially acceptable to paddle a plastic boat with a wooden GP?

Thanks all.


Why not?

– Last Updated: May-05-04 3:42 AM EST –

Power is same as any touring paddle so upstreams same as euro. GP offers a full bag of tricks - so why wouldn't it be OK?

Plastic boat's OK - but narrow is better to take full advantage of GPs power potential and variety. 21.5 is certainly narrow enough.

I paddle slow tidal river and tidal canals with a GP. No rapids - but lots of wakes. Port Everglades can get well beyond class I in spots with east wind (common) and a couple dozen large fishing boats roaring in and out between the cruise ships! Side walls reflect it all into a nice mess. The smaller inlets are even more fun.

Nothing Really To Lose

– Last Updated: May-05-04 6:36 AM EST –

$25 in cedar (cheaper in spruce if you can find straight grain) and about 6-8 hours of time (enjoyable if you like working with your hands).

Class I should be fine if you got enough depth and room to manuever. You have to realize that the GP has as much blade surface area as most Euro blades, provided you sink the whole blade into the water and not just a portion of it. However, the configuration of long and narrow (GP) vs short and wide (Euro) does have an impact in certain strokes pertaining to quick maneuvers, e.g. side draws, bow draws. With a euro, you can reach out, sink the whole blade and draw. With the GP, you reach out and can sink only a section of the blade. Less surface area to draw with. In the side draw, you have to fight the natural bouyancy of the wood to get enough blade down to do an efficient side draw or drawing scull. But, like I said, if you got enough depth and width in the river, shouldn't be any need for quick maneuvers anyway. Class II and up, I personally would drop my GP in favor of a big honkin ww Euro blade. Class III and up, I would drop the long boat.

You asked about "ferries" and peeling into (and out of) eddies. With depth and room to maneuver (and thus to anticipate the move ahead) with the GP, the moves you are talking about have more to do with edging/leaning the hull relative to current. The stronger the current and more defined the eddy line/fence, the more edging/lean you would have to employ. That's more important than your paddle.

I started paddling a GP in my plastic CD Squall. No big deal as that was what I wanted to do. But, no doubt, some gearhead, Euro blade chauvanist, or ignorant lout will say something. But, whatever you do/choose, someone - a very small minority -- will have an unnecessary comment. Who gives a $hit but them? It's all what you, the paddle holder, think is fun, right?


Have to chime in
Having recently acquired my first sea kayak ever, and given that it is a Greenland style boat, I turned to folks here for advice on what sort of paddle to get. I tried a Wing for several days, used a more conventional Werner “Euro style” paddle, and listened to lots of thoughts from Greyak, Sing, Sanjay, and others. These good folks along with some others over at Qajaqusa convinced me to give a GP a shot. I couldn’t find one to borrow or try locally, so I did a seemingly crazy thing and ordered a Superior GP in carbon (mind you, I’d never even held one of these).

After using it for a couple of weeks now, I am totally convinced I made the right choice. I love that paddle! So far as I can tell, there isn’t much it couldn’t do (other than more extreme whitewater - it wouldn’t work for that). The only word of caution (coming from something of a kayak newbie, so take it with a grain of salt if you like) is that you may not like the GP in a wide boat. My Arctic Hawk is 21.5" I think, and I wouldn’t want the boat to be any wider at all. Matter of fact, 19" or so would be even better.

19" And Narrower…
that means now you’re committed to building. Not a bad thing. Then you’ll really have to figure out whether you want keyhole or ocean cockpit. Hint: Ocean cockpit, if nothing else, takes less material/work to make than keyhole.


Yep, the thought has been on my mind for a while. SOF or plywood is the next question. A kit makes some level of sense for me as time is somewhat scarce, but, on the other hand, I have yet to stumble across a kit that would be exactly what I want. I’m gonna have to give it a shot one of these days though.

S&G Greenland Style
The builder/designer of my Greenland S&G, the Murre, is now finishing his fifth protype. I have his 4th one. At 17.5’x20", it is still a bit high volume for me but actually could serve as an overnight camping boat for me. I have about 4" of freeboard compared to my 2" on the SOF. The SOF at 17’x18" is strictly a go-light, day paddle boat that I can fit in lunch, water and a windbreaker.

Anyway, I just got pics of his nearly finished 5th prototype. I has a tad bit more rocker and a lower deck than my version (6.5" on the back deck vs. my 8"). I think it is going to be a lovely play boat for a medium size paddler and still an overnighter for me. I hope to go up to Maine and paddle it when he gets done. I send you some pics. He is not selling kits, rather a manual/plan for building it. Last he mentioned, he was talking about $50. If you have time, tools and inclination, this would be even cheaper than getting a kit. I can forward you the pics when I get home.

I’ll say it again though, if you’re interested in speed, there are faster, more efficient hulls than the 4 panel greenland style.


Thanks Sing
Hey, yep, I’d love to see some pictures.

I had been focused primarily on going fast in my canoe, but even then was paddling a “standard class” boat in lieu of a USCA or sprint boat. Since I bought the kayak I’ve gotten really intrigued by the relatively low volume Greenland style boats. I’m just enjoying the heck out of being in the boat and I’m looking forward to some good rolling / sculling practice sessions real soon with the warm weather and all.

I’ve already kind of decided that if I get the urge to start really smoking on the water I’ll get an Olympic style kayak or a ski and a nice wing paddle. Might do it on day, might not. I’m having a good time now & I’m training pretty decently. Time will tell.

Don’t chase storms in a boat!!!
I am also a storm watcher. I’ve gone out on assessments with the national weather service. I won’t address your questions on the paddle, having had no experiance with that one, however, as a storm chaser, you should be aware that lightning will just as easily strike a wooden paddle as a metal one. If you’re the highest object on the lake or river it will find it’s outlet through your highest features. And if that feature happens to be your paddle with one end dipping into a nice, gigantic bowl of water you just might find yourself sizzling. Rule #1 in Thunderstorms, especially if you’re in water;

If you can see it, flee it. If you hear it, clear it. Do your storm chasing from a nice, rubber tired vehicle.

Rule # 2 for storms and open water is
assess your overall situation before frantically fleeing to shore or away from the storm. Wind and waves can kill as surely as lightning, and your arrival on shore may not decrease your safety from lightning.

I always think back to a surprise snow-thunderstorm in the Three Sisters Wilderness in OR, when three women terrified by lightning strikes left the dry protection of their tents, trying to get downslope to their Outward Bound base camp. Their clothes and sleeping bags were quickly soaked, and two died of hypothermia. None were struck by lightning.

When lightning is around, consider your overall safety situation before you make things worse.

Excellent advice
My storm experiance is all on land. I try to make a point not to be on the water when they are predicted and with my training, I can pretty well judge when they’ll be rolling in. You bring up some excellent points regarding storm safety in general. There are safe places on land, but in the right situations, often brought about by poor judgement, you can still get killed without even seeing lightning. My immediate concern is to stay off the water and find adequate shelter. But then, we could start another whole string on storm safety. Thanks for the added post on safety.

Another thread - maybe two
Why not start another thread on T-Storm safety? 'tis the season.

A tangential thread - carbon fiber paddles. Conductor or insulator? Carbon can work either way depending on structure.

BTW - If I could never paddle with T-Storms in the area I’d miss over half the year paddling down here! Daily event in warmer months.

I appreciate your concern
and you both have raised excellent points regarding thunderstorm safety.

I am aware of the potential hazards as I’ve been chasing thunderstorms throughout the western states for over 25 years with a camera. Chased 'em in boats, balloons, motorcycles, bicycles, etc.

Thunderstorm imagery is a good seller and I’ve had several publishing contracts over the years with periodicals and calender companies. I’m still adding to my stock (image) portfolio as the demand is always there and these images will enhance my retirement.

While many see this avocation as foolhardy I see it as an adventure that I enter into with my eyes wide open.

Thanks again and take care.


If I ever try to run
C-III waters in this Tempest, you’ll want to be in atendance with a video camera as the action would certainly be hilarious :}

Seriously, Class III is my limit and then only with an appropriate boat.

I’ve been studying some videos of Greg Stamer and the stroke is different from what I anticipated. I can see where shallow waters would be a problem with a GP.

I’ve been conversing with Bynstrom about contruction of GPs and he’s provided some excellent material. Greyak sent me a bunch of links sometime ago which have also been a lot of help.

I’m going to go ahead and try building my own using Holst’s intructions with some of Bynstrom’s mods that look appealing.

I’m going to go off a bit into unexplored territory regarding tip protection. Instead of the usual epoxy/'glass route, I’m going to try some new generation catalyzed urethane materials that are used to repair SMC and other synthetic panels on automobiles. They are tough as nails and offer slight flexibility.

The experiment should be interesting… or not!

One other question regarding straight grain; when looking at the end of the 2x4, does orientation of the board matter? Am I simply looking for grain that runs straight and not curved? I’m not much of a woodworker!

Thanks to everyone for the assistance.


A Step Ahead, Maybe…
A lot of folks start off with Holts’ plan and modify from there. Going with Brian’s means you’ll skip a step most of us took. Brian has some really nice paddles. Mine are more plain in comparison. I tend to get it to the point where it’s comfortable to use and leave it at that.