Composite Greenland Paddle

Greg, Excellent Posts! Thanks!
Very useful info and clearly explained. Thanks for posting! Now one just needs to figure out what “good posture” and “correct paddling technique” is for them :wink:

For casual paddling over short distances precise fit and proper dimensions are not critical, but in a race or performance/long-distance paddling - it is.

I cant get a hold of him. I emailed and keep calling leaving messages(4 days in a row now) but nothing. Iam ready to cancel even though I would really like one of his paddles but if I have to wait until end of summer no thanks. I wish he would at least email me back. Looks like I will have to dispute the charge on my credit card. I hate to have to do that. I will wait until one week of phone calls. I never imagined such a long delivery time.

Since you haven’t received your paddle and you ordered yours 2 months I think you said before me iam not waiting 2 more months.

Trying to decide now between the Superior paddle and the Gearlab paddle. Superior might be just a little to wide at 3.5 inches.

gp and wing and loom
"I used the wing most often during the day and switched to the GP sometimes at night, or if I was getting fatigued, or if the weather became more violent. This reflects my bias and experience with a GP. "

Does this imply that you consider the GP less fatiguing? When you switch do you change to a less vertical stroke than with the wing? You have previously stated that one CAN use a GP in a vertical wing-like stroke, but if you are switching to relieve fatigue, I would presume you also switch to a lower more typical GP stroke.

Have you compared your hand placement width with the wing in a vertical stroke to the width afforded by the 21" loom length of the Blacklight? (What length do you set the wing at?) I would guess that you are using a narrower grip on the GP than on the wing, and I do not see any advantage to this. Would it not be better to use the same grip width on both the wing and GP when in the same 18x?

I often alternate between a 208 cm ONNO wing and a 24 inch loom, 88 inch GP, with my Q700 which is similar to your 18x. The grip width is about the same on the wing and GP.

wing versus GP grip
Good questions, but not easy to answer in a few words (for me anyway :wink:

A GP and a wing have completely different blade shapes, different design goals, different techniques (although share the same fundamentals), so I see no reason to expect that hand placement would be the same. In fact it would be surprising to me if it was.

You can view my thoughts on this from the blog post at

To oversimplify (always dangerous on Pnet), to a point a wider grip provides more power and leverage but requires more arm/elbow lift to plant the blade vertically. This means potentially more speed but more shock to your body. It’s a trade-off.

A narrower grip is just the opposite. You still want a wide-enough grip that you have adequate power, but are happy to give up some power and speed to allow a vertical catch with much less arm lift and wear-and-tear. This is also a trade-off, but for a different set of goals (e.g. endurance/long distance).

That said, while a GP is great for long distance/endurance, it’s a misconception to think that a typical GP stroke is with the paddle blades held low and horizontal. With a narrow grip your HANDS and elbows stay relatively low, but the paddle TIPS can range from vertical to 45 degrees or lower, depending on your goals. I usually hold my GP with about a 45 degree angle for touring.

My grip with a wing is much wider than a GP.

To initially determine paddle grip with a wing I put the paddle shaft on my head, make a right angle bend in my elbows, and then adjust the grip, moving my hands slightly toward my head so that the angle in my elbows is less than 90 degrees. This works out to about 31" for me. This is much wider than I hold a GP (my typical loom length for a GP is 21-22"). You can certainly hold a wing narrower, but if your goal is to race and win you are probably wanting to maximize speed, even though that also increases shock on your body. If I want to save energy with a wing I will usually hold the shaft slightly lower and use a smaller blade. I often increase/decrease the paddle shaft length slightly but don’t change my grip significantly.

Even though I like a GP with a narrow grip, a wing with a narrow grip doesn’t feel “right” or “satisfying” to me, but YMMV.

In general I find a GP less taxing on my body than a wing, although you could always make a GP with such wide blades that this would certainly not be the case. When your muscles are fatigued, just changing your technique or using a paddle that is just different can be a welcome relief.

Greg Stamer

too Bad
you live so far away Greg…I have a few paddles that it would be fun to have you try.

Best Wishes


taxing on the body
It is not clear to me whether the wing or the GP is less taxing, although I don’t race at all. I ignore all anthropomorphic guidelines and just experiment over my usual 10 mile distance. I have gravitated to a wing at 208 cm and a longer GP at 220 to 224 cm (87 or 88 inches) with a 24 inch loom. With the GP I am not stroking horizontally, but not as high as the wing. Narrower looms just feel too tight to me, so the same grip width seems to work well on both (and on my Euro blades as well).

But the wing stroke is shorter and higher cadence. While the GPs have slower onset of force but the stroke lasts longer. Not sure how to determine which is more taxing on the body.

The stroke length…

– Last Updated: May-04-14 11:45 AM EST –

I'm not so sure the GP should have a longer stroke. Both the wing and the GP go in by the toes and come out by the hip. The difference is how much power can be transferred to the water. With the wing you can transfer a lot more power. Imagine a plot of stroke length vs. power - the wing will probably be higher at all times, but the stroke length will be similar.

A wing tells you quite clearly that you should not drag it back past your hips. A GP is more subtle in this regards - you can take it well past your hips in you like, as long as you use that last part of the stroke without power and in lieu of extreme rotation. You basically slice it out at the exit to position for the next stroke, but the power transfer to the water should be completed way earlier.

For me the wing requires more effort to keep my arms higher. But it rewards this with higher speeds. With the GP, as Greg said, I can paddle in a more relaxed manner, but slower. I somehow can't go slow with a wing :)