Another newbie wants a kayak. 😊

Agreed. My life changed dramatically when I switched from the (whatever) paddle I had laying around to a full carbon Werner Camano. I’m taller, richer, more handsome, my wife laughs at all my jokes, the dog pees on command.

But seriously, the paddle is the most active part of your kayaking contact, other than your butt on the seat. Do treat yourself to a nice paddle, and by nice, I mean $400. :slight_smile:

You won’t regret it.


I hadn’t thought about things this way.

So far, just finding a used kayak under 30 inches wide that is around 12-14 feet long is proving to be difficult. But I’ll not sweat details other than that. If I can just find something that halfway fits me so I’m not paddling a bathtub around, I think that will be most of my battle. I’ll take your words to heart and invest in a good paddle.

I agree. I did the same thing and made paddles that fit in my suitcase right along side my socks, underwear and drysuit. I too enjoy a Greenland Paddle and find the most pleasure out of using my own. The last time I went to Iceland I borrowed a Valley Nordkapp to paddle and used my own 4 piece Greenland Paddle. Spend time and money getting a good paddle and it will go with you from kayak to kayak. When testing kayaks always use your own paddle and always the same paddle. A poor paddle can throw off your perception of a kayak. If you test using the paddle a place happens to have laying around as a lender, the experience, good or bad, might be the reflection of the paddle as much as that of the kayak.

@roym what hardware did you use on your 4-piece GL paddle?

I use the Lendal padlock system. I made this one for one of my daughters.


Hi Ceci - Since we’re heading into the off season, I want to invite you to visit the National Center for Cold Water Safety’s web site so you can get an appreciation for best practices when paddling on cold water: In addition to the info on cold water, the site has a lot of info about paddling in general. You can get a good sense of the hazards involved by reading the 20 case histories that we attach to Golden Rules. Kayaking is a deceptively easy sport to get into, but it has a very hard and unforgiving edge when things go wrong. Hope you find a more responsive kayak and welcome to the tribe!

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I can’t begin to count the number of paddlers I’ve encountered over the past decade with “top of the line” carbon fiber paddles who couldn’t do a decent forward stroke to save their lives. I’d much rather have a good used kayak and a cheap paddle than a lackluster boat and a fancy paddle. I use a wooden, West Greenland design “stick” that I carved in a worshop. Total cost $150 and it’s a fine paddle. Been sea kayaking since 1984 and learned on a 90 degree feather euro. Switched about eight years ago and never looked back.


If you are paddling GPs there is one diff between double blade cheap and foam core paddles that you would not be thinking about. The heavier cheap paddles become painful to actually use all day.

I had to use my spare one day because of a glitch with my foam core that happened just before we took off. That experience drive me to make a decision about a second foam core paddle I had been eyeing.

Hi Celia - What do you mean by painful? Is it your hands or your forearms or your shoulders? The reason I ask is that when you mention soreness in relation to weight, it reminds me of all the conversations I’ve had with paddlers who use a high-angle stroke for touring. They swear by lighter weight carbon. I don’t find any difference in the way my arms feel when using a cheap euro blade vs my stick, but I learned a low-angle style of paddling when I began sea kayaking. If you’re lifting your arms (as in the elbows come up) with every stroke, it takes a lot more energy. That’s just my experience. I paddled a 90 degree feather euro for decades but then one day, about 13 miles into a 33 mile island circumnav on Chesapeake Bay my control hand wrist said “no more”, and I had to bail out. I figured it was a sign that maybe I’d outgrown the 90 degree feather. So I switched to the stick and have had no problems since then. I think I could have just gone to an unfeathered blade, but I like the feel of wood and the tradition matters to me. Also, I paddle a Nordkapp HM which doesn’t like to turn, and the stick gives me better leverage for extended paddle sweeps.

I’m curious as to why you would have used a 90 degree feather for sea kayaking. I have never known anyone to use such extreme feather for anything but serious whitewater. It seems that would have put a great deal of stress on your wrists and shoulders. I’ve known some touring kayakers who used a 30 degree feather but never a full 90. Just wondering what your motivation was in selecting that sort of paddle. Not surprised that you found the GP to be a relief.

By the way, you are new here so I’ll let you know that Celia is very competent sea kayaker with decades of open water (and white water) experience who regularly uses high-end boats and gear in challenging coastal waters. I’m sure your suggestions are well meaning but she’s well aware of the different paddling techniques and has honed her skills through training and trial and error.

I completely agree with her about cheapo paddles being “painful”. I have never owned a junk paddle myself. But as I am a GP user 95% of the time (mostly wood, carbon when I travel and need a break-down paddle), one of my motivations to carry a spare paddle ALL the time (even on moderate local day outings) is that other paddlers I go out with regularly want to try out whichever GP I am using and they used to “trade” me their Walmart paddles for the duration of the borrow. I discovered that even 15 minutes with those 3 or 4 pound discount store plastic and metal “battle-axes” was 15 minutes too long – very uncomfortable and hard on the joints. Now I carry a GP storm or one of my Euros on the bow deck so I have something decent for backup when I am being generous.

In fact one of my mantras is the opposite of yours when I make recommendations to folks new to the sport: I would rather paddle a crappy kayak with a high end paddle than a high end kayak with a crappy paddle. After all, you and the paddle are the “engine” of the boat!

Hi Willowleaf - I may be somewhat new to this forum, but I’ve been sea kayaking since 1984. When I began, euros were either unfeathered or 90. The lattter was our “gift” from olympic flatwater racing. I learned on a 90 and just stuck with it out of habit because I had my braces, roll etc. dialed into that groove. I think it’s a bad choice for sea kayaking - my recommendation being an unfeathered blade - but back in the day, we just adapted to beam winds with an even lower angle stroke.

I certainly meant no disrespect to Celia, I was just curious. I’d ask the same question if we were all sitting around a pub after a great paddle together. Your point about kayaks vs paddles is well taken; it’s just not my point of view. No big deal. We have different opinions on that and I’m always interested in hearing what other paddlers think about stuff. Forums are nice places for that kind of exchange - a whole lot better than FB in my view. Since we’re heading into the off season in the Northern Hemisphere, I invite you to visit my organization’s web site:

I see you he castine kayak is 1399. Will that budget you can get a real good used composite sea kayak, great new PFD and paddle. Tippy feeling is easy to fix. Put 10- 15 lb. of sand in a sand bag. Then put it in a black garbage bag. Few wraps of duct tape and place it behind you seat I rear compartment. You’ll think a 22" kayak is 28 or 30". As you get use to it dump some sand out maybe 30% and go again. You will get use to it in short order. Getting something like a Current Designs Solstice GTS for 800-900 and you’ll never out grow it. You’ll have a great fast true sea kayak.

You look you’ll find a great sea kayak for a steel. I found 5 all but one for 900 or less. I bought a 2008 Solstice GT in 2010 for 1800.00. it really was like brand new and with the gear included with it new he spent 4200 at the he time.

Kayak above I paid 900 for. People ask dumb numbers but come down fast when you tell them here’s the cash.

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Worth 800-900 max great boat early 2000 model year. Maybe 1200 max with the gear listed if you can use or need it. Depends on paddle also.


I’m familiar with your organization and have shared links to it in exchanges with novice paddlers – good resources.

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The one on ebay is about 2X what it should sell for…and what is a Solstice GTS High Volume? GTS is the smallest of the three Solstice models…

There’s another purple GTS for sale in Maine, similar vintage, reasonable price. I saw it on either CL or FB MarketPlace.

Note, I paid either $700 or $900 for my '99 about four years ago and thought I got a fair deal. :slight_smile:

Wonderful boat…as soon as I find a newer GTS (flush body color hatch covers, versus the black protruding ones) for under $1K I’ll buy it and sell the Impex Montauk…

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I meant l was allover tired at the end of the day with the cheap and heavier paddle. Felt it thru my upper body. Despite some complaints from coaches my rotation is present, otherwise l would be beating up my joints a lot more than l do.

I abandoned the control hand and feather early on in my paddling, partly because l hit several coaches who said the traditional control hand point of view was bunk and partly because l found feather was less kind to my wrists than no feather. Rotating better was nicer to my joints.
One of those coaches was a highly regarded racer by the way. He actually did often paddle with some feather, not as extreme as 90 degrees. That is way way old school. But he said as did others that the control hand was whichever one was primary in directing the paddle. So it changed from one hand to the other as you paddle.

That said my whitewater paddle has a 12 degree feather. It has been totally comfortable from the first moment l got it. Also the only bent shaft l have ever used that seemed to bend right for me.

But weight diffs are a lot less noticeable with a GP. I attribute it to the allover balance of it. I have had some training with extremely goid GP folks by the way, and both of them advocated a higher angle stroke with the GP for the best power. So there is no more a universal approach there than with Euros.

Thank you so much, Willowleaf. We’d never get the word out without the help of people like you.

Hi Celia - Thanks so much for your comments. I find that the nomenclature can sometimes be confusing; easier to work out in a pub than a forum. And concepts definitely change and evolve over time - generally in the direction of improvement but not always.

My 90 was definitely very old school, but that’s what I was taught in 1984. I didn’t have any opinion about it back then. I was a canoe guy with 10+ years under my keel, but knew absolutely zip about sea kayaking.

These days, the dial-an-angle technology allows paddlers to set whatever they want. I still prefer unfeathered for euros because that angle sheds a beam wind - no small feature in avoiding capsizes in gusty weather.

My use of the term “control hand” is similarly very old school. Depending on the paddle construction, a 90 was either left or right hand control. Mine was right. I haven’t given it much thought, but with certain strokes like draws and sculling, I find that the control hand is the one closest to the blade. That’s what I teach anyway - which isn’t very often these days.

When say a “low angle” Greenland forward stroke, I mean the one that Greg Stamer describes in his article “Greenland Paddling Technique From the Source” on the QAJAQ USA site here:

In that respect, the exit I was taught back in the day is the same one Maligiaq uses, with the blade exiting the water well behind the hip - a “longer, fuller stroke”. My memory isn’t all that great, but I think I benefited from the fact that John Heath was making the rounds in those days.

QAJAQ USA is my go-to source for authentic Greenland stuff. I’ve had the good fortune of being at Delmarva when John Pederson was teaching and have also been a fly-on-the-wall in informal discussions when Maligiaq Padilla was at Lake Anna, VA a number of years ago. I think in the end, we all wind up finding our own groove, and ultimately we’re all members of the same lovely tribe.

Another thing about the 90 feather. My understanding is that it was preferred in Olympic flatwater kayak racing because at the end of the stroke, the blade swept forward at a flat angle that offered no wind resistance. That makes perfect sense in a competition where victory is often measured in fractions of a second. When sea kaking started getting off the ground, that design migrated on over.

I’ve seen discussions in which people got into tense arguments about angles, which is interesting because that never happened before the adjuatable ferrule was invented. My only advice is that if you feather, be consistent. I like to think that stroke technique is all about blade control, and if you vary the angle from situation to situation, as some people advise, that instinctive brace or roll is not going to be there when you need it. Just my 2 cents.

HV models have the hull cut 3/4" higher. So when you look below the black seam there is small flat band around the hull. Then your deck is 3/4" higher. Makes a difference room wise even if it doesn’t sound like much.