so today I finally paddled a good distance with the paddle I made. hopefully someone will have some thoughts to help me with. I,m having a hard time making a clean entry into the water with it, I dont know if it is my technique or the way I made the tips. Im fine if I think about it, but if I space off and just paddle it gets sloppy. I also do not always paddle with a skirt and I’m finding the gp to be an extremely wet ride! is this normal? dont misunderstand me, I like the paddle, I may just need more time to adapt to the new paddle. any thoughts?
Congrats on carving the paddle - here are some things I’ve found over the years:
GP=wet, wear the skirt - splash water over your shoulders if you get hot, or better yet, learn to roll - it’s much easier with the GP.
Do your catch slowly, then accelerate the paddle through the stroke - this seems to be a common technique with GP’s and it gives a clean catch.
Carve the tips thinner at the end - not thin enough to be weak, but I find if the ends are beefy at the end, it causes a “plunk” at the catch. You don’t have to do it all at once - take off a little and see what it does.
Are you using the canted stroke? That makes a difference at the catch. Also, you may just want to work with the paddle for a number of outings - it takes time to center in on techniques that work for you.
Study the paddling material, written and motion clips on the QajaqUSA.org site - it’s great stuff.
The greenland paddle is a wet ride
but you’ll get use to it. An ocean cockpit will reduce the amount of water that gets on your lap area.
The greenland paddle needs to be well planted into the water before you can apply power to the stroke or the paddle will cavitate (suck air down with the tip) and sound like it’s being dragged through gravel. The shape of the tip can reduce this. I have found that if a blade is narrow, or if the tip is too thin it can cavitate more. Try different shapes and see what works for you.
A good way to get the blade planted deep into the water quickly is to use a canted stroke. It will pull the blade down fast and then you can apply power. If you start to use the canted stroke it will want to make the paddle dive and make you feel like you are going to tip the kayak over. To eliminate this tipping caused by the hard diving you can push down and across the deck with the top hand. It takes a little time to get use to the different stroke that the greenland paddle needs but after a while it become natural. Good luck and enjoy.
When you say your G-paddle is a “wet ride”, where is the water coming aboard?
If you have an ocean cockpit it is normal for some water to shed on the foredeck but my cockpit stays pretty dry. If you have a long cockpit then you might get some water shedding into the very front of it (with no skirt). If you have water running up and down your arms during your stroke, then that is not “normal” (but is common with some people when they start learning a GP).
You might want to look at the videos on the QajaqUSA site at http://www.qajaqusa.org/Movies/movies.html . In particular, pay close attention to the first clip of Michael Jakobsen who has a very powerful, smooth stroke. Contrast your stroke to his (but expect to have your own unique style). It might help to have someone film you once you have a few more miles under your belt, to compare.
Regarding the paddle tips, many people make their first paddles with really chunky, blocky tips. This can make for a noisy catch. I prefer relatively sharp edges (not enough to be uncomfortable, however) and carry the same edge radius all the way around the tip. When viewed on edge from the side, the tip should come to a point. The Chuck Holst GP plans show this very clearly.
Often the cause of a poor catch with a GP is planting the blade with a “reverse cant” – lower edge tilted forward. (In the typical canted stroke the top edge is tilted toward the bow). If you try to reach too far forward, or have the habit of slightly rolling your wrist backward on the catch (common with some who use feathered blades), then the paddle will enter the water with the lower edge forward making it very difficult to get the blade buried quickly and cleanly. Some technique information on the canted stroke is available at http://www.qajaqusa.org/Technique/Technique.html .
As has been mentioned, if you get any kind of “scratching” sound, then you are ventilating (drawing air into the water), and your catch needs more work.
You have gotten some good advice so far from the previous posters.
My ride is not extremely wet when I keep a decent pace, if I slow down the water has the time to come down from the blades and make it to my hands/lap. Either way… no big deal for me but maybe I would think differently if the water temp was uncomfortably cold
"I have found that if a blade is narrow, or if the tip is too thin it can cavitate more."
On the contrary, thin tips enter the water much more smoothly and quieter, and draw LESS air in with them. The same is true of blunt edges. Blade width makes no difference.
Aeration (it’s not “cavitation”, which is something that happens to high speed propellers) is caused more by poor technique than any other factor. It’s typically due to applying too much power too early in the stroke, before the blade is fully submerged. It can also be caused by reaching too far forward at the catch, which can cause a reverse cant on the blade that drags air into the water.
Mario beat me to it
So I’ll echo him by saying paddle faster!
Ditto what everyone else said too.
Hard to comment on tips without seeing/trying yours. Difficult too if this is your first/only GP and you can’t compare others directly.
I’m spoiled (as are at least a couple others here) by having a Superior carbon GP - which is about as quiet a paddle on the catch as you’re likely to find (once your catch tunes up anyway). My self carved GP is similar - even finer/thinner.
I’ve tried some paddles that were not as quiet that I could adapt to with slight technique variations and get pretty silent. I’ve tried others that kerplunked on catch no matter what I tried.
Tools and technique overlap a lot here - so very hard to say what’s he paddle and what’s the paddler. Either way, the GP is telling you something. Noisy catch and ventilation (scratching/gurgling sounds) are evidence of things you can improve. Valuable feedback.
I found a moderate pace good for working on this stuff. Applying more power before your stroke mechanics are getting better will be counter productive. Paddling too slowly will also not give to the right feel for dialing this stuff in. The paddle and water will show you.
I appreciate all of the helpful feedback, I will keep on paddling with it, it will come!