I’m going to join the Greenland Paddle Cult!
Lumpy Paddles has a long lead time, so while looking around, I found Harbor Paddles in Oregon. Has anyone here used one of their sticks?
What about Beale?
I’m going to join the Greenland Paddle Cult!
lumpy is worth the wait
I got a beale. Then a few months later got a lumpy … Beale is collecting dust! Anyways you are probably going to want more than one since the first one you are not really sure what you want. So get something in the mean time till you figure out what works for you. Never heard of the guys from Oregon. Beale is a good guy. Patient as well.
I’ve only heard good things about Beale
I haven’t tried any of Don Beale’s paddles, but everyone who has seems to really like them.
Though you may or may not get it “just right” on your first try, you might also consider carving your own (you can carve several for the price of one that someone else carves for you).
Just in case you’re interested in carving your own, here are a couple of instructional sources:
Brian Nystrom’s book, “Greenland Paddles; step-by-step”:
And/or, you can download Chuck Holst’s plans (and Matt Johnson’s companion video)…
Chuck’s plans (PDF):
Any way you go about acquiring your first GP, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it!
Another opinion. Beale paddles have been my favorites, closely followed by Tuktu. Jaraa, send me your orphaned Beale! I promise it a great home with lots of love and use.
I to got the bug to try a Greenland paddle a few months ago. I could not find a very good blank so I made one out of a spruce 2X4 about 3 or 4 dollars I think. I really like my paddle but would like to try others mostly because mine is probably a little heavy.
I guess there are some disadvantages to the GP but I am not sure what they would be. I have paddled about 75 miles broken up into two trips with very little stress on my body.
What are the benefits you feel your Lumpy stick has over the Beale? That would help me with buying my next paddle. How much time on water have you spent with each and what did you notice. Are they the same measurements? Thanks for your reply.
Beale and Lumpy
I’ve tried Don’s paddles, but have never owned one. I own 4 Lumpy paddles, and Bill’s a close friend, so bias disclosed. I’ve also carved my own and like and use a Superior carbon fiber paddle. A Beale paddle is a work of art, and you would be very happy if you went this route. Personally, I prefer Bill’s paddles to any others I’ve tried or own. You can buy a servicable GP from many reputable paddle makers: Tuktu, Cricket, Mitchell etc. What makes Bill’s paddles different is a collection of subtle design features that when put together yeild a very fine entry (no splash), no flutter, a clean exit, and a wonderful feel in the hand. His paddles are in one word: elegant. They aren’t the strongest paddles–a little flex is part of their friendliness–but I’ve never broken one despite a lot of time in the surf and rolling. Despite following the Lumpy example, my home carved paddle still isn’t a Lumpy though it is very nice. The closest paddle to my Lumpy is the Superior, but I now paddle an 88" by 3" Lumpy, a configuration that isn’t available from Superior. Also, the Superior loom is too blockish at the shoulders and on long paddles puts too much pressure at the thumb MP joint. Anyway, you’ll be fine with whatever you get as it will introduce you to the joys of skinny stick paddling, but once you try a Lumpy (if you do) you won’t go back.
What Jarraa Said
You’re going to want a spare. My philosophy is your ‘spare’ should really just be another gear. Low gear (less surface area) for going into the wind. High gear (more suface area) for going with the wind.
Lumpy is a mighty nice paddle.
What JMarch said about Lumpys is true. Bill pays attention to detail like no other I’ve seen, and the feel in your hand and in the water is second to none that I’ve used. Superior comes close, but it is too stiff in carbon for my taste, there’s a place for it but I haven’t been there yet. The Western Red Cedar he makes them of is soft, and it eventually will gain “character” but it has proven strong enough for surfing 4-6’ breaks, paddling in zipper clapotis, and struggling against 6 knot currents where I’ve had to tediously make my way along micro-eddies near shore. I would not use one to pry my truck from the mud, but I would use one to paddle anywhere, it is a very refined example of this type of American Greenland-style paddle. There’s nothing wrong with my Beale, it just doesn’t feel as good in my hands as the Lumpy. If you can wait, wait. Lumpys are a one-man show, and Bill like I said, pays attention to the details, and so far he seems to have the perseverance to do this for each and every customer. I hear there is a Sitka spruce option coming for Lumpys. That’s OK, I can always use another paddle in the quiver! : )
Switching over too
I recommend you get BrazilBrasil to lend you his Beale #197. I really liked while I had a chance to use it. Test some friends and find what you really like and then carve your own. This way you can figure out what you like and don’t like and truly customize it to yourself. They aren’t hard especially if you are good with wood or you do like I did and make friends with someone that is and get him to “help” you with your paddle. Hardest part I have had is finding good quartersawn wood.
Location, Location, Location
I am lucky enough to live near the maker of Lumpy Paddles and had the pleasure of paddling along side him a few times. On the first outing Bill loaned me a LP and instructed me on the proper use. After just a few moments It felt perfect and I understood better how it works then just enjoyed. He played a trick on me with about a half a mile to go and I have already forgiven him. He had me switch back to my Euro blade and I hated my own paddle. I wanted to chuck it in the lake and let a boat run over it.
On shore he took measurements and like any good carpenter, he measured twice. I know everyone can't get a custom fit down to hand size, I count myself lucky. I do know by the follow up calls he has made, he could size you perfect by phone.
It will be another late Christmas present to me.
I may be ahead of you mirage. Bill
e-mailed me and said that my Lumpy is drying now.
Unfortunately, it is pretty frozen up here so you may get to use yours before me.
Bill is a pleasure to deal with. He is very precise on the measurements. I had to have both my Engineering and Accounting Departments measure me before Bill would accept the numbers. After that, we still refined the numbers.
Paddle a little heavy?
thin it down, spruce is stronger than western red cedar.
Bill at Lumpy is obsessive
He usually admits it upfront. His obsession with Greenland (or Carolina) paddles and precision really pay off in the finished product.
LIke to see see one - will someday…
... and after trading notes I'm pretty confident they're very nice.
Still, after all that precision measuring - I have to ask you folks: What blade width did he carving for you? His standard default of 3 1/2"?
(This is sort of a running joke Bill and I have going offline where I agree with him mostly on sizing, particularly for most of his customers, where I'd do same...)
Mine will be 3 1/8 by 91 1/2. I cannot remember the one I tried to decide if I wanted one. Bill says “There’s a lot of geekie stuff going on”, meaning it’s not just the length of the blade and the width.
I wish I had a waiting list of folks lined up to buy my fences, and willing to wait no less.
I am going to be the benefactor of this deal as I plan on paddling with Bill this coming spring and summer to learn some skills. I also plan to hit those Wednesday night events as often as work permits.
I ordered a 3"- Bill asked me to cut
out different cardboard sizes to test with.
It's hard to debate with a guy who loves talking paddles as much as Kris, Especially when each *knows* he's right...! : )
I hope I didn't seem too obsessive about measurements, just want to get it right the first time...
Bruce! I'm gonna ship your paddle tomorrow. I think you'll like it.
Mirage, as soon as Jaybird's paddle is done I'll be starting yours. By the way, he took my advice on measurements, and you still have time to change your mind. Expect yet another call from me on this....
Kris.... Come to NC this summer to escape the Florida heat. Swapping paddles would be fun. I'd love to try that Aleut of your's someday.
Good things come to those who wait.
Merry Christmas to all...!
Thanks Bill- I’m very excited
I did not feel you were too obsessive. I understand the measurements need to be precise when you’re making a paddle for someone you’ve never seen. I think the first set of measurements I gave you would have resulted in a GP that would have been perfect for a 4’10" person with the arm span and hands of Shaquille O’Neil.
Once it warms up here, I’ll show my Lumpy to all the Chicago Betsie Bay users.
Seasons greetings to you and yours.
Sorry for the delayed response. Have been under the weather. So I will give you the long story. I got my Beale in Feb. Used it for roll practice and then paddled all the flat water trips in Spring with it. It just felt too much of a paddle. It was 82 inches x 3.5 inches with an 18.5 inch loom (if I recall correctly). I started talking with Bill from Lumpy in march and after having problems with the Beale cause my elbows were not too happy I finally decided a lumpy was worth the shot. So Bill finally sent me one in June. It was 84 inches by 3 1/8 inch with a soft 19 inch shoulder. When I first got the paddle it was half the weight of the Beale. I was like this is cool. I checked the flex on it and I was like …man this is going to break soon. So I paddled with it for a week …from the get go …it felt really responsive. I felt more connected with the water. So I shipped both paddles to Sweden in July for a 3 week paddling trip. Was afraid the lumpy might break. The beale sat on the deck the whole time. When I came back … I did a thorough analysis swapping back and forth between the two. My thoughts were:
- Lumpy’s springiness allows for a more crisper exit.
- Lumpy’s thinner (actually I don’t exactly know what about the blade it is) blade allows for a more forgiving entry. This helps considerably with newbies or when you are swapping back and forth between EP and GP.
- More connected. Communication between your hand and the water goes up 10 fold. One can argue that the size differences in the stick would do this. But let me explain more. The lumpy is got lesser area and so its actually harder to roll with. Means its more sensitive and will be not as forgiving while doing rolls that you are rusty in.
But because its so communicative, you can actually identify what the blade is doing much easier and therefore correct things quicker.
As for its strength. Well, I took it down a class III WW run and used it to surf some glassy waves. Smacked it pretty good on a lot of rocks. The paddle does not look anywhere close to new. But it s still 100% functional. Actually, I started with the Beale on that WW trip cause the additional surface area made for catching the wave easier. Or so I thought. But it communicated so little that I switched to the lumpy. It was harder to catch the wave …but more joyful since I was reading the water with my hands better. After 5 minutes I was taking less strokes with the lumpy than the Beale. Being connected is everything!
I think Bill puts some magic potion in his paddles. If only he were to make a 2 piece paddle so I can sleep with it in the bedroom easier