"Best“ grip for Indian/Native Stokes?

Hello everyone,

Is there an optimal grip for a paddle (Ottertail) if you are going to use an Indian style stroke?

This will be my first time experimenting with an ottertail.

I thought maybe a symmetric pear shape or even a football like shape but thought I would solicit you experts. (I will be making the paddle, so any optimal shape is works even if it isn’t standard)
What are your thoughts?

Thanks for reading!

A symmetric pear shape is what I like for doing such strokes.

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Pear shape symmetrical. Otherwise it just feels weird.

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Yea, pear-shaped is probably best. However, I almost exclusively paddle with a guide grip and still do use the Indian Stroke. Another important consideration for any in water recovery stroke would be the blade profile and edge.

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I’m no expert, but I am going to use, “Canoe Paddles, a complete guide to making your own” by Graham Warren and David Gidmark for my paddle build. It has a ton of information including paddle plans.

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I have about seven or eight ottertail type paddles… I prefer a very long blade wider at the top and taper to about three inches at the bottom( a Voyageur shape). However all the shapes work fine. I can even do an inwater recovery with a Sugar Island shape which is about as far from an ottertail as you can get. The wider the blade the more turning forces are transmitted ( width acts as a lever arm). You don’t need a razor thin edge.

I prefer a really long blade for Canadian Style paddling… My favorite blade is some inches long and the shaft only 23. The short shaft is because the boat is heeled to the rail and there isn’t a lot of distance from me to the water.


The one you like is best.

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