GP for open canoe?

A recent foray down a river paddling a 16 ft canoe with a Bending Branches double blade (thanks again CWDH!) got me to thinking…

I have been happily using a GP in my QCC, and really like the “gentleness” of the paddle on my shoulders. One thing I noticed was the abrupt catch of the BB, and was thinking about a blade with smaller area. Does anyone think that a GP, sized up to . oh, maybe 240 or 250 or even 260 cm would work in an open canoe? Of course, the loom would have to be within GP “standard” dimensions or maybe a little bit longer, so the blades would be waaaay long.



Why not?
The only negatives I see are the chances of whacking rocks or the bottom with the longer blades, and the possibility of getting more water in the canoe from paddle drips unless you add drip rings. But it’d be a cheap experiment if you build your own.

Another option would be to cut down the blades on your current paddle.

i had occasion to do that
recently i went out in my canoe and did not have my regular canoe paddle so i took my gp (218 cm)i used it like a single blade part of the time, j stroking on one side, and i also did a ‘sliding stroke’ to get extra length using it as a double blade. it worked fine, gp’s are amazingly versatile, though i think i’ll stick with a single blade because its drier. double blades can be wet in a canoe

I like the sliding stroke idea.

That very idea
has been rattling around in the back of my mind for a while. I’m thinking that with the sliding stroke you wouldn’t really need a super long paddle in a narrow (30" beam)solo.

I’ve paddled the Osprey a little with my 220 cm Little Dipper. That worked well enough to make me think the GP would be worth trying.

Glad to hear I’m not the only one who thinks these things. LOL

I can’t imagine GP in the canoe
Most of the time I’m pretty imaginative, but I can’t picture the GP while canoeing–probably because I’ve used the GP in the kayak a fair amount.

Let me preface what I’m about to type by saying I don’t consider myself an expert in any type of paddling (except swimming), and, if something works for you, I’m all for you doing whatever it is that works.

Jim writes: “One thing I noticed was the abrupt catch of the BB.”

Definately, the euro paddles bite faster than a GP, because, you dip the blade in the water and the whole power face engages at once, and does so with face roughly perpendicular to the direction of travel. The GP, if you paddle the way I was taught, engages a little at a time, and never really turns the power face perpendicular to the line of travel.

I don’t understand the physics of how the GP paddle propels the kayak. It enters the water at about a 45d angle. As you pull on it, the angle causes the blade to dive until the whole blade is in the water and the paddle side hand is almost in the water. It is slicing through the water at an angle like an airplane prop. I don’t know why it works. Maybe like a sail boat when the wind is hitting it from the side, somehow the boat is propelled forward. But given that motion, it never feels like it has the bite of a euro blade.

As to how this works in the canoe, assuming the boat is wider than my 21" wide kayak, and you are sitting higher,…well, here is where my imagination starts to fail. The kayaking GPer, when the blade passes the hip, the paddle is almost vertical. Same motion in a higher wider boat, its gonna take a lot of body motion to replicate that. So okay, don’t hold the paddle so vertical, and that’ll cut down on the side-to-side body motion. Now you need a much bigger, heavier, paddle. You won’t be able to let the paddle dive the way it does in the yak, so you either need to change the blade angle to more upright, like with your BB blade, or you are having to work to fight the diving tendency. In the former case, its no longer a Greenland stroke, in the latter, real ineffecient.

The GP stroke, unlike euro and canoe paddles, continues well past the hip as the top hand drives forward and down. This too, seems to me hard to replicate in the canoe unless you let your arms fly out from the body as you turn.

Did I mention, I don’t know what I’m talking about? Took a lot of keystrokes to say it, eh?

Anyway, I’ll have to see one of you guys using the GP on the river. My suggestion, forget the GP and use a pole like a double blade. My conclusion, whatever works!

Apologies for the diatribe. See what happens when I’m not drinking?

~~Chip Walsh

McWood brought this idea up too
and mentioned it to me in several emails. I think it would work OK in a pack boat (sit on floor) because of the low kayak like angle of attack but by nature a standard canoe seat would be to high off the water for true Greenland style use. But a modified version could work well and could even be used as a combined poll/paddle. DougD and I have discused the use of a pole with thin blades for paddling while standing.

Only way to find out is to put one together and try it. Forward thinking is a good thing. I would think that the blade tips could be a little wider than 3.5" since the the paddle would need to be quite long to get most of the blade in the water at a low angle.

Many interesting thoughts…
I figgered that I was not the first to ponder this subject. I think I will try to carve one up this spring, and I will take NT’s advice regarding making it a bit wider than what is possible with a 2x4. Should be an interesting experiment.

BTW, for any of you who do not routinely use a GP stick, the loom dimension & shoulder area are critical for “feedback” regarding the blade’s angle of attack. I would think that a pole with small blades would be a pain to control unless the shaft was well ovalized.


Mid Atlantic Style Paddle/Pole

– Last Updated: Feb-16-06 10:00 AM EST –

I agree that with a Northeast style pole adding a blade would make for difficult control...which is why we Mid Atlantic School polers usualy opt for a handle of some sort on one end (pear grip, t-handle, beer tap, etc). In fact a large flat tap handle adds enough blade to work as a micro paddle.

I have experimented with mounting a ping pong paddle on the end of a Mid Atlantic style pole with great success. The only problem is that the paddle is too week to push off the bottom with, in shallow water. My next idea is to mount a small blade 2" above the pole tip to achieve the best of both worlds...Rumor has it that Brian is currently working on a micro bladed, poleable, double blade for Duckhead Style Mid Atlantic Poling....ahhhh the possibilities are endless!!!

I have a BHGP and a solo canoe.
I have not tried to use the GP in the canoe, but will take it next time and let you know.The GP was made to directions furnished by Bnystrom as far as total length, loom length and blade width.

It is a Big Honkin’ GP because I am tall. The paddle is right at 240cm.

I find 240cm too short for me in the canoe and now use a 260cm Mohawk paddle.One thing for sure -a GP will put some water on you and in the boat.

GP Blade Width
In 2004 I made my first GP while attending the DelMarVa GP convention that they hold over by Rehobeth. I didn’t like it at all and thought that may have been due to the blank being cut for an average size paddler. Also, I couldn’t roll with it. I’m taller than average, and have large hands.

Over the 04-05 winter, I made my second GP. This time, I used the ergonomic guidelines to determine length, blade width and loom dimensions, and I ended up with a much taller stick and a blade width about 4.75 inches. I used it extensively during the 2005 season and was much happier with it. The roll is still not there, which most certainly is a function of poor skill, as the paddle has plenty of surface area. In fact, I thought the paddle had too much surface area and was too hard to pull through the stroke. I used some other paddler’s blades and found using a similar length paddle with narrower blades felt more comfortable and I think performed as well.

Last weekend, I shaved the the blades on my stick back to about 3.5 inches–could have used a 2x4 after all. It was my intent to also half the paddle and add ferrules. The CF ferrules I bought at CLC are too long–about the length of the loom. Adding them will be a problem because I’ll lose the shape of the loom. So that has not been done. I need to go back to CLC for a set of the shorter, but heavier, SS ferrules.

What’s this got to do with diddly? Somehow the thought of making wider blades set me off on this. Had I not already reduced the width, I could have cut the paddle, inserted a loom extender in the middle, added a pair of ferrules, and formed the first three-part, adjustable length, combination GP canoe/kayak paddle. In fact, you could equip yourself with a number of varied length loom extenders, and change the length of your paddle on the fly. Interesting…but silly.

I used to have a teacher who, in response to idiotic remarks from students, would say, “Good point. Hold that thought…, AND THEN FORGET IT!”