Carol and I got out in the 1000 Islands area of Cocoa Beach this weekend.
This was my first time using the new Feathercraft Klatwa (sp?) two-piece GP.
My only other GP experience was with an apparently homemade one, which didn’t impress me much.
This paddle gave me no trouble at all with flutter, and seemed very quiet in the water, as long as I paid attention to form.
Without the “drip rings”, when turning or reversing the boat, I got a fair amount of water in the cockpit (wasn’t using the spray skirt). I guess that’s what the sponge is for!
Someone told me of a product called a “sunskirt” that keeps the water off your legs while not fitting tightly around your torso. That sounds interesting for the hot weather days.
Having my hands located right at the shoulders on the paddle made it easy to control the vertical angle of the paddle faces.
I tried the forward-canted stroke a bit, but found that anything more than a minimal amount of canting causes the boat to roll toward the side you are stroking on, so I backed off on it a bit.
As for speed, at this point, I can say that I’m somewhat slower than I was with my euro paddle.
Perhaps that will improve with time and practice.
Probably most important for me, we were able to be out about 2.5 hours without my lower spine screaming out in agony, and that’s a FIRST!
Carol and I got out in the 1000 Islands area of Cocoa Beach this weekend.
Speed will come with practice and improved technique. I find that I go about the same speed with both a GP and an EP (According to my GPS). Canting the blade is different with every paddle and every paddler. Don’t get hung up on how far you cant the blade so much as concentrating on what works best for you.
Your hand position sounds right. The paddle will tell you when it’s not being used optimally. If water dripping is an issue, consider tying some bungee around the blades about 6 inches from your hands. It will act like a drip ring. Most GP’ers just accept that it’s a wet paddle to use after a while, and don’t even notice it anymore.
I got into using one after a shoulder injury. EP’s were painful to use, and the GP wasn’t. Once the shoulder healed completely, I stuck with the GP for 95% of my open water paddling. I use the EP for surf and things like tidal races where instant acceleration is a good thing, but only enough to keep good technique.
It’ll take a month or two to settle into a good, consistent technique. Give it time, and you’ll find what works.
with that bungee drip ring thing. I have yet to find a way to keep the water off my hands, sprayskirt, etc. I’d really like to find an effective way too as I paddle all year long, sometimes in water temps of low 30’s and air temp. as low as 18F.
bungee drip thing works for me
both my gp’s and my homemade euro have two wraps of 1/4" bungee tied off with square knots. i put the knots so they are on the ‘bottom’ of the shaft while paddling.
When you first start
using a greenland paddle the water that drips onto your hands seams odd but you’ll get use to it soon and then you won’t even notice it.
The canted stroke takes some time to develope the stroke. When you pull a canted blade through the water it will want to pull the blade down and feel like the kayak wants to tip over. To counteract this effect you need to push down and across the deck with the push hand. Once you get the feel of it your stroke will gain a lot of bite. I thought that the greenland paddle was just a fad until I learned the canted stroke.
seems like the inventor of the GP were always wearing gloves, mittens rather and some quite long up the arm…might keep the sun off the skin too. Chillcheater has a greenland gauntlet that goes all the way up to the upper bicep.
Greenland Gauntlet; canted stroke
Most Greenlanders don’t wear gloves for calm weather (unless they are hunting or practicing capsize/roll skills) – but most Greenlanders can tolerate cold that would leave many of us whimpering. Greenlanders use mittens and waterproof sleeves in cold weather, but I have never seen an integrated mitt/sleve garment, as per the Reed “Greenland Gauntlet” in Greenland. I talked to Chris Reed about this on a trip to the UK several weeks ago. My advise to him was to make sleeves a separate piece and/or to modify the gloves into a mitten (rather than the current odd split-fingered design – so it would fit over the Brooks and other mittens often used by G-style paddlers). A pic of what a Greenlander normally wears in warm conditions can be seen in http://www.qajaqusa.org/Technique/Greenland_technique_from_the_source.html .
John Heath told me that some Inuit hold their hands closer together under some conditions to minimize water drippage. I find that by using the “canted blade” stroke and accelerating the paddle all the way to the finish (rather than slowing down toward the end of the stroke, as is very common), and working to get power right up to the exit (behind my hip with a GP), that most of the water sheds the paddle and the remaining drops hit the foredeck of my kayak (with an ocean cockpit).
Regarding the canted stroke making the kayak want to roll to the side of the stroke, you must ensure that you don’t lean to the side of the srtoke. Your momentum should be forward – which is why a lot of Greenland paddlers adopt a subtle forward crunch (like doing a mini-situp). It will take some time before the canted stroke works for you – it took me several weeks of practice until this became natural. When it becomes natural it will feel like you just discovered a “turbo boost” ;^). Chris Cunningham wrote that learning the canted stroke turned his GP into a wing paddle.
I just received my Klatwa 2 weeks ago.
I usually paddle with a Beale GP that was made to my dimensional specifications. The Klatwa is almost identical to it - the loom is just a bit shorter by about an inch. this paddle is my spare and travel paddle.
That said, a couple of things will ease your transition into the world of traditional paddles. First, make certain you increase the cadence of your stroke. That will do a lot towards getting your speed back. There should be no difference between a Euro and a GP as far as speed is concerned.
Second, make certain that you “plant” your blade before starting your torso rotation to pull it back. With a canted blade, you will actually feel the blade “stick” when it is finished diving down. At that time is when you want to have maximum effort on pulling, pushing, and rotating. If you try it before the blade is fully planted, you run the risk of swimming. Practice it for a while and you’ll never have to think of it again, it becomes second nature.
Good luck with it.
I was hoping to see you demonstrate and do a strokes talk at the Baraboo pool. Next time we meet, put me on the list for a demo…word on the street is that your the best out there on showing and explaining the technique.
Sorry we were short on time for everything planned.
Thanks for the kind words. I was planning a strokes demo at the pool but the acoustics were so challenging with all of the noise that I decided it was best to save the frustration and my voice (that was getting weak after 3 days at Canoecopia).
Greg! thanks for chiming in
I thought the Reed Gauntlett was a modern copy of what was used, no I know the real story. I use the Reed Gauntlett anyway-trying to keep the skin cancers away from my arm after a scare last fall. The split finger is similar to a rain glove that Outdoor Research used to make for hikers. It was very popular and I think called the Lobster Claw…evidently warmer than a glove because at least some fingers get to share warmth and more dextrous than a regular mitt. Also thanks for posting the link to the authentic warm weather wear.