I’m considering an Auletian style paddle and would like a comparison to the Greenland syle paddle.
I Asked About That
I asked why the Aleut paddle had that (annoying to me) ridge in it. The only answer I got was " it prevents flutter." Since I don’t have problems with my GPs fluttering the Aleut is not for me.
More to it
The reason the ridge tends to prevent separation is a fairly subtle thing - technically speaking, it provides a fixed location for the stagnation line on the paddle. Wandering of the stagnation line is a main cause of flutter. Use of a properly canted stroke with a GP will avoid flutter too. However, if overpowered, I believe a GP will flutter before an Aleut paddle.
There are more differences, primarily in the rate of power application during the stroke due to the differences in blade shape, i.e. a tapered Aleut paddle will generally have a more gradual power increase during the stroke, a GP will bite a bit more on a sprint stroke, etc. Many report that Aleut paddles are easier on the body over the course of a long day.
You should check out qajaqusa.org, look around at some old threads where the differences are discussed in detail. You will need to spell 'Aleut' correctly for a search to give results.
I carved and use an Aleut paddle, 8’ long 24" loom. I love this thing! No flutter ever. It’s very easy on the body even after long mileage. And I have lots of power. BTW, if you use the proper woods it’s also very light.
Word is - and I have no reason to doubt - that a Euro paddle can initially accelerate faster. But I’ve got no complaints in that department with the Aleut.
Have not used a Greenland Paddle, so can’t comment on the differences.
Aleutian vs Greenland paddle
I have not conducted GPS time trials or used a heart rate monitor while paddling a fixed course repeated times to compare GP vs Aleut, nor will I ever do so. I'll leave that to the more data obsessed among us. So what I "state" is based my opinions after paddling with both styles of paddles.
After using Euro blades for decades and starting to feel slight stress on my aging body from them, I made an Aleutian paddle while building a Baidarka at the Skinboat School in 2003. It became my "go to" paddle. Later that year I trashed my shoulder in a fall on ice and required 3 hours of surgery to repair it. That rebuilt shoulder "talks" to me me about the relative stress that various paddles inflict on the body. Using the rebuilt shoulder as a test instrument, I have reached the following conclusions:
The Skinboat Aleutian paddle could be used for hours without leaving my shoulder aching a bit. The Euro left me aching some. I attribute that to slight flex in the Aleutian paddle shaft and maybe the long narrow blade introducing the power more gradually than an Euro, with it's blade area near the end of the shaft. Both are experiential, not scientific conclusions.
Compared to Greenland paddles, the Aleutian are less versatile for rolling and feel more powerful in paddling (for me-non scientific conclusion).
After about ten years of aging and paddling, I was feeling slight aching in the rebuilt shoulder after paddling with the Skinboat School Aleutian. I then made the Aleutian paddle shown in Renzo Beltrane (sp) Italian website. It has less surface area than the Skinboat school Aleutian design. So far no shoulder aches after use of this paddle (yet).
The many different Greenland paddles I have pass the "shoulder test" but feel a bit less powerful than the Skinboat Aleutian paddles. They also have less surface area, which could be the cause of that impression.
I pick up a Greenland for rolling practice and to have on the deck as a spare. If I'm going to paddle all day I choose a Aleutian for the paddling.
As always, try many different styles of paddles, different blade areas, lengths and of different materials. Choose what works best for you, not what I or anyone else declares as best.
8 foot long? NM
For myself the aluet paddle works
Similar to a euro paddle with less bite. The pointed tip will cause the paddle to ventilate if power is applied too soon. I tried one for a while and found it to not suite my needs. The Greenland paddle can be used with a canted stroke and offers me a lot more versatility and efficiency. Greenland paddles vary greatly in their design and shapes and will have different paddling characteristics, so make sure to try a few and get one that suits your needs.
Yes, 96" long
Made from the Italian specs as well, by the way.
And I, too, had shoulder surgery 3 years ago for rotator cuff, etc. So I can also say that this paddle does not aggravate my injured arm, nor my uninjured one.
No, I did not experiment with different lengths. I did work on making sure the loom was the right width for my shoulder girdle and stance, and that is why the 24", which is longer than most GPs. GPs are meant to be used with a sliding stroke. To my knowledge, APs are not; you grip 'em and hold there.
You can buy/make one with one GP-side and one aleut-side.
Just Purchased an Aluet
Paddle from T&J paddles and was able to sneak out on a local river (hardly ever ice free this early) and paddled hard for 2 hours and was very pleased with the speed and ease of this paddle. I also have a GP and love them both the Eruo is out of commission. Thanks for all the info
learn to make own paddles
The ideal Greenland/Aleutian paddle size for different sized individuals, with different strength levels, higher or lower stroke, paddling different width kayaks, in differing conditions is a process of trial and error. Sizing guidelines help, but what works best for you in your paddling takes time and considerable exploration to sort out. If you are a member of a large paddling club there is the possibility of trading paddles for a while on paddles for this exploration. Buying multiple paddles while on this road to discovery becomes expensive.
However, there is a solution-learn to make your own. It’s $20-$40 for suitable wood and about 4 hours of time. A somewhat experienced woodworker can follow directions on internet or in a good book such as Brian Nystrom’s excellent book, “Greenland Paddles Step by Step”. If you are still apprehensive about carving a paddle, take a paddle making class. You finish with both a paddle and the skills and confidence to make future paddles. Soon you will have made the ideal paddle for you. If the factors change (wider or narrower kayak, deteriorating shoulder, much different seat height or coaming height) just make another paddle ($20-$40 & 4 hours) adjusting the dimensions to what now works.
Euro accelerate faster ?
Here it goes - WW III
A Euro cannot accelerate faster than a GP unless the paddler is faster.
I’ve written this at least 5 times on other sites. I have raced with Euro paddlers and many GP users together. All seasoned paddlers with decent strength and endurance. We would line up and charge out to a spot a few hundred yards away. ALL the paddlers (Euro and GP) would be neck to neck for at least 50 years. Then the ones with more endurance would slowly pull ahead regardless of the paddle. I’ve done this many times with many paddlers with different paddles. The myth of a larger blade being faster at accelerating is by people who have no experience with a GP.
Lastly, if a GP could not accelerate as fast as a Euro, nobody would be using them. If you like a Euro and feel YOU can accelerate faster, that’s fine.
I think the "accelerate faster"
applies to the first few strokes. This is where one can apply much more power than over a longer distance. Like in a sprint start or a quick surge forward on a wave etc.
I use GP and Euro and wing, and the GP simply does not have the explosive and quick power transfer to the water as an Euro or a wing do. The lever action to accelerate as fast as the others is not there. I can overpower it to some extend too but mainly it takes more effort from me to apply that power because I have to work with the shorter lever.
After the first several strokes, when there is no more acceleration going on, e.g., the kayak is now up to speed and the paddler is in a steady state of paddling at a constant speed, I would agree that it would be more up to the paddler than to the paddle to determine speed.
Many times when I hear of comparisons
between euro and greenland paddles I wonder about the design and technique used of the greenland paddle. From my experience it makes a lot difference. A narrow greenland paddle can have its limitations when it comes to acceleration. For most of my paddling I use a narrow blade greenland paddle but if I’m going out to do some surfing I use a wider blade paddle that gives me better acceleration and bracing. The wider blade used with a wider grip gives me comparable acceleration to a euro paddle. A narrower blade used with a narrow grip just doesn’t have the bite I like.
just skinny vs wide…there is more to the cut of the paddle than most people know. Most people seem to think that there is only ONE Greenland paddle and only one way to cut one…and THEY have it.
Many nuances to paddles both Greenland and euro:) (and wing)
not all are created equal in all things…then there is technique too
I am going to try this one next
I saw these plans on http://yostwerks.com/GPIntro.html that shows both a regular greenland and a modified half aleut half greenland. I would like to try the modified next paddle i make
For the record
I strongly suggest you make a “modified” Aleut paddle with the traditional center rib on the power side. From the research, the rib has a serious function in preventing the flutter that a GP is subject to if not canted in the stroke. AP’s don’t need to be canted at all. The design is easily enough done WITH the rib.
Aleut with rib on power face
I agree with bartc on having the ridge on the power face. I know some feel the paddle works best when held with the ridge in back but this makes no sense to me. Using Aleut paddle "backwards" places it in a position that promotes flutter (hands somewhat ahead of blade). Holding the paddle in what is usually considered the "correct" position (ridge on power face) places the hands somewhat behind the blade. This reduces the possibility of flutter. I've used an Aleut paddle in the "correct" position for eight years and don't experience flutter. I have never made or even used an Aleut with the double center ridge so I have no opinions on that style Aleut paddle.
If an Aleut paddle is made with a full length center section (I used Sitka Spruce) and then blades glued on to the sides after, it can be easy to make. A woodworked who has experience with routers can form the ridge on the tapered center section. My friend, who is a cabinet maker, made four center sections for me one time in about 15 minutes. I then glued on the blades and finished carving the paddle with a block plane and spokeshave. I do very little sanding as I'm allergic to cedar dust.
As well as being easier, this laminated blank method method allows the paddle maker to align the grain for best strength: Vertical grain in the core and flat grain in the blade.
I've made the blades from WRC, Yellow Cedar and Redwood. A Sitka core gives strength and flexibility to the paddle. The Yellow Cedar blades looks best to me, while WRC blades gives an attractive contrast to the paddle. I have some doubts about the suitability of Redwood for blades-possibly brittle-but I had some scrap on hand so I tried it on one. Sure does look nice!
I've also carved Aleut out of solid WRC and while its slightly harder to form the rib, this approach also works-just takes longer. I used a small scorp to carve the center ridge. A solid WRC Aleut will be lighter and weaker than a laminated paddle with a sitka core but probably still strong enough for most use.
I laminated WRC
Two 5/8" thick boards to one another, with the top one half size in the middle. Then carved out the whole thing with a surform tool (flat and curved). Light as a feather, but strong and sturdy, and very efficient. Center rib on power side, naturally.
Am working on a fancier version along the lines of your laminate scheme. But so far am running into obstacles due to my lack of the right tools/jigs, etc. Hoping it comes out half as well as my first one. This one uses WRC for center rib, Sitka spruce for sides and blades, and tips of walnut.
laminated Aleut paddle
Your laminated paddle sounds quite interesting and sure will look good when finished. Please send me a pic when done.
I chose sitka for the core because that is what I was taught at the Skinboat School. Sitka is strong while still having good flexibility and shock absorbing characteristics. Also, while heavier than WRC it’s not not too heavy. That being said, when I made two Aleut paddles following the plans on Renzo Beltrane’s website (Italy) I used mostly WRC. There is a Sitka scrap glued on top to reach the full thickness of the shaft. They are very light and haven’t broken yet.