GP Blanks Now Available

-- Last Updated: Apr-07-05 4:49 PM EST --

through superior kayaks. I have no affiliation. Just letting folks who want an affordable GP to know, especially those who don't want or feel comfortable with carving paddle from scratch. Different size blanks available:


Also available at Newfound Woodworks

I am not an affiliate either

Yes, There Too But…
I was thinking that the Superior blanks are laminate and thus less prone to warping (?maybe). Also, more sizes available than I see at the Newfoundworks.


Are they laminated?
For the price, they should be, but there’s no picture on the site.

As a side note, I noticed that their carbon fiber GP is only $15 more than their wood models now. That’s pretty pricey for a wood GP.

Paddles are laminated
Superior Kayaks posted the below message in the commercial forum of

Superior Kayaks is now offering a comuper cut Greenland paddle blank ready for you to finish. This 13 piece laminated pine assembly is the ideal way to get a proven Greenland style paddle design for a fraction of the finished cost. You will need to sand out the router grooves and shape the shaft. Available in lengths from 84" to 92". $135 See it on our website

way too expensive for a blank
especially since a brand new custom carved Beale paddle would only set you back $15 more. While I love Superior paddles and I’m sure Mark is charging what the market will bear, I don’t understand the high prices for a blank. If I drop $300-$400 on a finished paddle, it’s because a master craftsman made it. $135 to potentially screw up a paddle yourself is a pretty big risk.

Somewhat Disagree…

– Last Updated: Apr-08-05 10:16 AM EST –

but I tend to not worry about screwing anything and leap head first. :D

To me the beauty of a blank is that you save the time of carving from scratch (which on my first one is almost 8 hours). All is that needed is finish sanding and oiling on the major parts of the blade. You can fine tune the loom length (provided this comes short enough) and shoulder shape as one goes on.

With "custom" GP, you have better have a good sense of what you want. 'Cause when it comes, that's it, especially if the loom is already too long. If not, you're still fine tuning a "custom" GP. The thing with folks new or want to try a GP is that they have no clue how long the overall GP, how long the loom, and the shape of shoulders (and to a certain degree the cross sectional shape). But, of course, if Beal's GP is only $15 dollars more, that's a pretty darn good price.

Bottom line for most is that with prolonged GP use, one develops a better sense of what one likes in the hand and how it feels on the water. Sooner or later, the best "custom" is the one that someone is willing to carve for him/herself, I think... It's just there's time in the learning process. Time is also money.


true time is money
I have carved a couple GP’s so in terms of custom fitting, I have a fairly good idea what works for me personally. Don Beale is actually making me a paddle right now for that matter. has the prices. I decided to order a paddle because while I still enjoy carving paddles out, I wanted a professionally made paddle as a model to aspire my future paddles to and the Beale paddles came with the highest recommendations. I personally find that roughing a paddle only takes about 2 hours (1 hr for the lines, 1 hr with a jigsaw/bandsaw to rough cut) and most of my time is spent fine tuning/sanding/oiling. If you have limited time, a Beale or similarly priced paddle would be your best bet. However, where I do see a potential market for the Superior blank are for those paddle carvers who want a Superior blade shape (which I think is wonderful) at a cheaper price than a finished paddle. Heck, if it makes you start carving Greenland paddles and exploring Greenland style paddling, I’m all for it. Plus if the wood is laminated, that’s a nice perk. I talked to Mark briefly at Canoecopia last month and I saw several of his blanks being sold so I believe they are being rather well received at least in this area.

More than a "blank"
The use of the term “blank” is a bit misleading. The Superior blanks have been trimmed down so close to the final blade shape that only sanding is reguired to achieve the final profile. The loom must be customized to fit your hands. This is ideal for someone who doesn’t have much in the way of tools and would still like to customize a paddle.

Len T

Computer cut laminated blank
Computer cut (CNC milled to shape) laminated blank - not just a bandsawed piece of WRC. Sort fo explains the price difference.

As for the price of Marks finished paddles - you’re paying for his time - which is at a premium. Have you checked out his boat prices and how far his orders are backed out?

From the site: “Each blank is cut on our computerized router to assure correct shaping and symmetry. The kit comes with a blank ready to finish along with complete instructions.

Finish shaping the shaft to fit comfortably in your hands and sand the shaft. Next, lightly sand the blades to remove the router grooves. Cut the tip, trimming the paddle to length. Finally, the paddle will need to be sealed with oil or other sealing techniques as desired.”

What tools are needed to shape the shaft?

So it’s actually a nearly finished blank
Considering that, it’s a pretty reasonable price.

Apples to oranges comparison
You’re comparing a one-piece cedar paddle with a laminated blank. Don’s laminated paddles sell for $295. Considering that, the Superior blank is a pretty good deal.

Not much
A rasp might be handy, but chances are that you could do the entire thing with only sandpaper, if necessary.

good point
I was mostly looking at this from the perspective of someone interested in Greenland kayaking and was looking to buy a paddle to try out. From that perspective, if they did not want to put in much time and wanted a good paddle, I would still think that a custom carved solid cedar paddle would be preferable to a laminated blank sanded to fit. However, I do concede that if someone is specifically looking for a laminated paddle and knows how to nicely finish the paddle, this can potentially be a good deal.

I do take back much of my initial criticism though because I didn’t realize how close to a finished paddle you were actual getting. I thought these were rough blanks rather than near finished blanks.

the rough cuting
is the easiest part of the process for me. So, I would not pay much at all for a blank. But, I am impressed with the folks meeting an interest in the market for them. I wonder if you can specify the loom size.

I had the same initial impression…
…so it’s not just you. I was thinking they were comparable to the Newfound blanks, but they’re apparently much more finished than that.