Recently got a Beale Greenland Paddle and used it for a bit today on the water. Interesting…
Took a while to get used to at first. Experimented a bit with differnt grips / stroke angles, etc. Finally decided that it felt best with my thumbs at the out edge of the loom and my palms around the begining of the blade. This put the blade where it was slightly canted forward. Seemed to get a fairly good catch like this without flutter.
I was not able to paddle quite as fast as with my Euro blade, but it seemed quite efficient and seemed that it would be easy to paddle for long distances with it.
I was somewhat amazed at the turning ability when using the extended paddle position. Was able to spin the boat around on a dime with little edging at all.
Sculling felt quite a bit different than with the Euro blade…seems like the blade really does have a lot of lift. Seemed that sculling required a greater angle to the water than with the Euro due to the GP’s tendency to plane to the surface. Will take a while to get used to for sculling as I am much more used to doing so with the Euro blade and was not fully comfortable doing so with the GP.
Only paddled a short distance so did not get to try rolling with it. Think it will roll quite differently for me. I generally use a “Sweep to C” roll which I don’t think will work well with this blade. Seems like it will be much more suited to a full sweep.
I watched Doug VanDoren’s video and while he advocates a very low angle stroke I found that my high angle stroke is still more comfortable even with the GP.
Will continue to play around with it.
My wife may start paddling this spring (new paddler) I am thinking of letting her start with the GP. May make turning a lot easier for her using the extended paddle stroke.
Recently got a Beale Greenland Paddle and used it for a bit today on the water. Interesting…
in other threads
you say you want to go fast
why the GP?
High Angle strokes and GP …
... are just as good if not better than doing the low angle strokes. The trick is to know how. Here are a few pointers to watch for:
1) Keep your elbows low (even with a high angle stroke).
2)The torso rotation is not as much pumping legs as it is stomach crunches. So think of it as left shoulder to right knee (right side stroke) and right shoulder to left knee (left side stroke).
3) Cant the blade (top part of the paddle is forward of the bottom part of the blade) so as to get a good catch. You can tell you are doing this when you can feel almost no flutter in the blade.
Have fun. The stick is as organic as it gets!
Why the GP???
To address the question above…hate to admit this but I have it really for three reasons that may disappoint some: first I got it to decorate my kayaking den in my house…cool wall decoration, second it makes a great backup paddle for the front deck…immediately accessible even if capsized underwater to roll up, and third it is somewhat of a novelty for me and I wanted to give it a try. I figured I might like it and it does have some nostalgia to it. Plus, so many people just seem to rave about GPs…had to see what it was all about.
In the meantime I got Doug VanDoren’s video and realized that there really are some pretty interesting strengths to the GP.
Will I “convert”? Maybe not, but it is interesting for me to experiment with and makes a good addition to your quiver of paddles.
My personal thoughts on the GP
It will teach you how to paddle it. I think that if you just allow the paddle a natural movement in the water you will quickly become more proficcient. Thinking about angles and technique willl only slow you down initially.
GP will work well with any angle you want to use depending on your body configuration and what feels right for you. If you like and feel good with a high angle use it. there are no rules. That is the main beauty off the GP.
Remember that the original GP users were in very thin hunting boats where they needed to bring home food. A GP is so much more than a paddle. It is a outrigger when tied to the back deck perpendicular to the boat so you can get even more stability than an sot for fishing (I have stood up in my skin on frame with this and taken a leak in the middle of the lake), it is a counterbalance when in your left hand and you have a harpoon or a bird dart in your right ready to throw, it is a tent pole for a tarp for instant shelter, you can lay on the water in a balance brace with the GP under your head like a pillow and actually take a nap. You can roll up with only one hand on the paddle in case you are holding on to something you don't want to drop in the drink and you capsize......So many uses and it still is easier on your joints and less tiring for long distance touring.
I recommend that you use your GPS with the GP and your wing after you get comfortable with it. I think you will be surprised as to the speed capabilities.
A very good friend of mine who is a product designer once mentioned that if the GP were invented today it would have a minimum of 17 different patents on it. Don Beale is a master and you are very lucky to have one of his paddles. Take a look at the transition of the angles on the blade itself and you will begin to appreciate the incredible ingenuity of the people who invented it and used it.
ps: spinning a boat is technique not the paddle. I can spin the Outer Island with my GP easily...my ear just needs to be pretty much in the water is all...:)
The VanDoren stroke…
…is purely his own construct. According to people who’ve been to Greenland, no one over there paddles that way. His method also requires a paddle with a long loom, which makes the paddle unsuitable for use with a canted stroke. While his stroke does move a boat, it’s not the most effective way to use a GP. I paddle that way on rare occasions simply for a change of pace, but that’s about it.
A GP is VERY versatile and will work at ANY stroke angle.
Welcome to the club
I actually really disliked it at first after quite a few years with the Euro. Now the Euro seems like a chore.
Sculling with the Euro is best on the surface of the water, skimming across whereas the GP is best under the surface due to its convex surfaces.
The speed is you and not the paddle. You will get very effiecient with it. Many people get converted to the GP when they roll with it just because holding the blade immediately lets you know what is happening unlke holding the round shaft of a feathered paddle.
There’s no rule that you can’t use both.
There’s no rule that you can’t use both
Many I know use both Euro and GP.
Al Mapes is making me a storm paddle so I have a GP that is short enough to stow on the fore deck of my Romany as a spare.
At the Adirondack Expo this weekend a number of folks asked me about my GP. I used both my Full Carbon Active Tour Length-Lock Epic and my GP for the demos - no one asked about the Epic, at least half a dozen asked about the GP
I always try to switch over to my carbon-shaft Euro for a while, while mainly paddling a Superior Kayak carbon GP. For me, the Euro seems like a chore so that my spare paddle on board is a wood GP. I don’t care to ever use a Euro again.
Still prefer Euro Paddles
though I used a GP fairly regularly. I am expirementing with a Toksook and find it working fairly well me for unfeathered and at a 60 deg angle.
first time I tried a Greenland paddle.....I had some of the same feelings.....made a few , figured that I would never totally switch over, loved my Lendal.
I quite using the Greenland paddle for a few years, because I got tired of trying to carry one in the car all the time....it was always in the way.
I still used them once in a while and carried a storm paddle when going out for a long trip. I liked the storm for rolling and it did carry better in the car.
Tried the full sized Greenland paddles more and more inspite of the hassel of carring but still mostly paddled with the Lendal.
Thus began my quest for a carriable / portable Greenland paddle.
It took about 2 years from start to finish before Superior Kayaks finally marketed their 2 piece in carbon fiber.....
finally a paddle that could be thrown in the back of a car and not keep falling off the back of the seat and hitting me while I was driving, and not block all the doors on the passanger side.
I just completed another quest, I am flying to Iceland in June and wanted a paddle that would fit inside my suitcase...no seperate tube.
so I devised a plan and to my knowlege have now completed the first 4 piece Greenland paddle.
this is how an addiction for a Greenland paddle can drive you....be very careful, they have a way of causing you to want to use only them. I Have been using Greenland paddles exclusively for the past couple of years now and doubt that anything could sway me to return to any other style of paddle other than for a few moments.
"Now the Euro seems like a chore"
Jay, that comment sums it up perfectly.
I got my first GP out of curiosity. I was still paddling SOTs at the time! Now I have 6 plus an Aleut (3 I made).
A bigger risk is that GPs also tends to influence your skills and choice of boats/gear.
They have a way of speaking to you. My Euros never say anything, and my wing speaks in tongues!
GPs not only teach you to paddle them, but say other things along the way:
Mine asked for a narrower roll-able kayak and the GP was the nail in the coffin for SOTs (not including skis - and not necessarily forever). If I complied, it promised to teach me to roll. It did.
Then it asked me to retire the now unused euro cluttering the back deck, and replace it with a Storm up front. Said it would be cleaner and simpler, and would teach me a sliding stroke better than with full length, roll even easier, etc. It did.
Then it convinced me it NEEDED a SOF, promising me it had more secrets to reveal that could only be shown in the narrower/lower type craft it was designed for. It did, and still is.
Only then after a couple thousand miles or so of GP paddling, and with a self made SOF that screamed for a set of self made wooden GPs, did I feel the need/desire/confidence/understanding to carve my own.
I suspected these GPs - now a chorus of voices - would lure me fully into the Greenland style thing - but they have not. They offer to work on those things at any time - but not exclusively (or all that often).
I suspect the GP virus I contracted is a mutant strain, as my first GP was carbon. It takes no issue with me “just paddling”, or using it in a QCC (or whatever). They all continues to offer input/advice, and still have plans for me. The carbon one wants another kayak - fully optimized for GP - but pretty far from traditional. It may have to wait a few years for this one…
Will I only use GPs? No. Wing paddles and higher performance ski/race paddling still has appeal, as does surf paddling where I see a place for euros. For now though I’m not doing those things, and for all the rest - GP’s best. They’re more like extensions of my self than separate tools.
Nice Job, Roy!
If I were still long boating, I would definitely be using a GP.
But for my surfing and ww, I am sticking to big honkin’ Euro’s. I know some folks take their GPs to ww and surf. Power to them. Whatever gets the boat moving and turning.
The greenland paddle will
give you the opportunity to develop new kayak skills that you can transfer over to other paddles. There are many different types of greenland paddles and ways to use them. Try as many as you can to see what works best for you. One thing I found interesting when I first started rolling with a greenland paddle was that I could not do the C-C roll with the paddle held in the paddling position. After some time and learning many of the other greenland rolls I found that I was able to do the C-C roll with my hands in the paddling position. I guess what I’m trying to say is that the greenland paddle and the greenland rolls will teach you better technique. As far as speed goes, don’t underestimate what this paddle can do with good technique. Enjoy.
use to grab my Lendal Nordkapp whenever the water turned …didn’t seem to catch waves with the Greenland stick…after about a month of pure dedication to the stick, I found that it took a little differant timming to catch a wave…now I’m not even sure of that anymore. As my stroke get finner tuned I seem to be just as able to catch a good ride with the Stick as I am with the lolipop
Thanks Sing for the good words on my paddles
Second time out…
Well I went out again tonight and gave the GP a try again. I paddled mostly with my Euro blade and just a short time with the GP.
Found that I have been somewhat naturally doing what I just read about on another site…holding the paddle at then end of the loom/beginning of the blade and canting the blade forward a bit.
Again I would say that the paddle is interesting. Certainly different. I kind of like it…(uh oh).
I can cruise at about the same speed as with my Euro, but can’t quite reach the same speed when paddling at an exercise pace. I do have to say though that the GP feels very efficient. Takes little exertion and was a nice rest for me after paddling quite hard with my Euro.
I am wondering if I got it a little too short though. I usually paddle a 210 in a Euro. I got the GP in a 215 with a 23 inch loom and 3.5 inch wide blade (I have pretty wide shoulders and like a wide grip).
I feel like I don’t have too much blade in the water when I paddle, but this may be how it’s supposed to be.
Blade still feels a little squirelly in the water. Will keep working on it. Still super impressed with the turning power provided by the extended paddle sweep.
did you follow Beales website for measuring for your height and width?
It is not uncommon for the hand to be in the water while holding the gp.
If you get the oppertunity
to try some wider blade greenland paddles you might like them. When I paddle in rough conditions I like the bite I get from a 4" wide blade. When I want a more relaxing and aerobic workout I will use my 3 1/4" blade paddle. You might also like a wider loom. When I make a paddle for a strong paddler who wants to use a more aggressive paddle stroke I will make the loom longer and the blade tips about 4" wide. Everyone has different preferences and only experimenting with different paddle will let you know whats right for you.