First Greenland paddle!

Well, I had to see what all the GP talk was about. My brother is an amazing builder. He does carpentry work and has always had a nack for woodworking. He doesn’t paddle, but I mentioned the GP to him. He decided he would like to try it out. We followed the PDF from Chuck Holst and a great video by Matt Johnson! We bought a 2x4x8 piece of Spruce and went to work. He had the entire thing carved in about 3 hours last night. We have some sanding, shaping, and staining to do and then it’s finished. It may not be impressive to some, but for the first paddle…not bad. Ok, my question: I am a high angle paddler but I can adjust for the GP. My main concern is my boat. It is by no means a sea kayak. It is a Tsunami 125. Are the width (26") and height (15") going to affect the way I use the paddle? Will my knuckles be slamming into the edge of the cockpit the whole time? Let me know what you think.

How long is your paddle?
You may want a slightly longer one to get by the excess beam.

My GF frequently bangs the blade of her GP on the sharp deck to hull edge on a 24" CLC boat.

The height of the deck is a factor too.

You’ll just have to try it and see but use high and low angle strokes,anything you want and don’t be afraid to get your hands wet in order to bury the blade if you need a power stroke.


The paddle length…
…is 96". We took my measurements just as the instructions explained. Is that already on the long side? I do have long arms though. I am 6’ 230lbs. Bert, thanks for the good advice! I am looking forward to trying it out.

96" is very long
for a greenland paddle but at least you can cut some off if you want to. You must have a very long arm span. Ever think of being a boxer?

I use a greenland paddle with a 20" loom for kayaks between 19"-22" wide and it works fine. For a wider kayak I would probably feel more comfortable with a wider loom.

I find that I can use a relaxed low angle stroke or a more aggressive high angled stroke with a low deck kayak. With higher decked kayaks you can’t use as low of a stroke. If you use the paddle with different kayaks you’ll see that your stroke will adapt to the kayak.

The greenland paddle is a different tool that can use different techniques to get the most out of it so try different stroke techniques to see what works best for you. Enjoy.

good on ya
if you paddle for years and years and years it will pay big dividends on your joints…though not spoken of in many circles there is a distinct rate of joint damage associated with EPs…BCU can put that in their pipe and smoke it

Don’s right
That’s a VERY long GP and unless it’s because you made the loom longer to compensate for the beam of the boat, it’s probably too long overall. Like you, I’m 6’ tall and have long arms. Using the “armspan + a cubit” formula yields a paddle length of 96", but the “as high as you can reach and comfortably cup the tip” method yields a more reasonable 90" length. I’ve never used paddles longer than 90" with a 22" loom. In fact, after years of using 90" paddles, I’ve recently switched to 84" paddles and like them better. If you make a GP too long or too wide, it starts to feel more like a Euro paddle, which defeats the purpose.

GPs will work at any paddle angle, so just use whatever angle suits you and your boat. The technique differs in that you don’t reach as far forward for the catch and the stroke ends behind your hip. Additionally, you apply power more gradually and maintain it farther back.

loom width for wide kayak
The instructions for loom length on a GP often assume that you are in a kayak not much wider than your hips. At 26" your kayak will be wide enough to require you to experiment. I usually find that the loom must be at least as wide as your kayak, so you don’t scrape your knuckles – but as the kayak gets much wider than a Greenland kayak all bets are off.

As Brian mentioned, don’t think that a GP is limited to a low-angle stroke. See the video clips on the Qajaq USA site and the technique information at .

Greg Stamer

Could be but
I use a 88" paddle with a 19" loom and have paddled my Tsunami 120 just fine with it. I do have to use a slightly higher angle than with my Betsie Bay though.

Greg, just saw your reply
reminded me to offer congratulations for being the first to do a major modern day circumnavigation/expedition with a GP!!!

You are an awesome example to us all.

Iceland trip…

Thanks. Just as you never paddle the same river twice, all trips are really “firsts” as far as I’m concerned, and long trips such as this are open to anyone with solid skills who have the desire to do them. For most of us, the greatest difficulty is simply getting the time off.

Although no paddle design is great at everything, going long distances with many “miles per snicker’s bar” and handling rough conditions is what a Greenland paddle is made for, IMO. I expect to see their use continue to grow in the years ahead.

Greg Stamer

Well Greg
you are a paddling great, on the Appalachian, Pacific Crest and Continental Divide Trails they are called ‘trail legends’,so a paddling legend you are. I do hope to see your presentation on the circumnavigation of Greenland at the Sweetwater Symposium and it will be nice to see the EP crowd roll their eyes when they realize that some of the most intense water on Earth was dealth with via GP…

no no, nothing against the EP up here in the mountains…it’s just attitude and your is one of the best! Thanks for what you have done to the sport in general and a bigger thanks for putting the spot light on Greenlandic contributions long ago.