GP question

I had the opportunity to try a gp paddle the other day. I’m not sure why or what I may have been doing wrong, but it fluttered through the water, like diving up and down. This can’t be normal, but I couldn’t make it NOT occur, so this makes me leery about wasting the time or $$$ to make or buy one. Any insights?



angle th paddle
You don’t want the paddle blade perfectly vertical, but angled slightly (in my case, I angle the bottom of the blade so it is closer to the back of the boat than the top blade is).

You may also want to read an article on using a GP by Duane Strosaker in the Winter 2010 (#4) issue of California Kayaker Magazine. Starts on page 6. Can be read online at

10 degree angle
or cant, is what gets stressed in the lessons I took. The angled edge is facing towards the stern.

in the forward stroke hands are spread at the “root” (where the loom transitions to the paddle blade)with thumb and forefinger holding the blade loosely like an OK sign.

When planting the blade the four fingers open up like saying “hi”.

While pulling the paddle back,sink the paddle all the way, getting your hands wet, but horizontally not much deeper than the surface.

You can use torso rotation. Never hurts.

a good long pull well past the hips, with a slight lift that pops the blade out of the water.

There are more descriptions and infinite variations on this. Not claiming this is the only way or comprehensive. Just a way that makes sense w. the mechanics of the blade and body.

A good greenland stroke takes a while to master, just like a good euro stroke.

Pulliing too hard?
I found when I first started using my GP, I was pulling it too hard through the water, making it flutter a lot and hard to control. When I started to relax my stroke and my grip on the paddle, it got a lot smoother through the water. I love using it now, but it took a while to get used to.

Try an Aleutian.
They just work.

No canting, chanting or incantations required.

When I first stated using
a greeland paddle it fluttered a lot also. Paddle design and technique eliminate this. Some paddles will flutter more than others when pulled straight back. Using a canted paddle blade will eliminate the fluttering and add a lot more bite to the stroke. It helps a lot if you have an opportunity to get lessons on the different techniques involved in using a greenland paddle so you can get the most out of it. Learning to use a greenland paddle takes some time and an understanding of how it works. If you want to enhance your paddling, no matter what kind of paddle you use, you owe it to yourself to become profient with a Greenland paddle.

I have been using my Lumpy
for a season and all that flutter has disappeared completely. I love this paddle. A real joy to use.

On point
Every comment above is on point. Mess around with position, stroke, cadence and force until you eliminate flutter and noise. It’s amazing how well they work.

Canted Stroke
I have a short blog post that includes a picture of holding the Greenland paddle canted at

What people often fail to realize is that the canted stroke is not contrived, nor is it a particular angle. If you hold your arms in front of you, with a neutral wrist, you will see that the back of your hands are not vertical, they are tilted forward. This is the same “tilt” or angle of the paddle, when you hold it. Simple. This angle will differ from paddler to paddler.

Keep in mind when you hold a Greenland paddle, it is not with all your fingers on the loom (which results in a vertical blade). Only your thumbs and forefingers are on the loom, with your remaining fingers draped over the blades.

When Chris Cunningham first tried a canted stroke he wrote that it felt like it turned his GP “into a wing paddle” and that he immediately felt a much stronger bite.

While very popular in Greenland, it should be pointed out that the canted stroke is not used by all paddlers there. Some Greenlanders consider it at advanced technique that should be learned after the basics are mastered.

Greg Stamer

Power is Later in the Stroke
With a euro you start powering early in the stroke. With the GP it’s a little later. I guess since you bring the GP back beyond the hips you don’t sacrifice any power.

I’m far from expert - but
as a new GP user I can say that with time I have developed an extremely relaxed and comfortable paddle stroke with my Lumpy. Also, I personally feel that there is a great deal of power in my stroke. I have no idea if this is proper form - but I tend to hold the paddle quite loosely with my top hand adjusting angle slightly with soft pressure applied to the blade with the base of my pinky, 4th and middle fingers to make that adjustment. I think with a euro blade, especially in wind, I tend to fight the paddle at times but there is very little of that with my GP. I hold the paddle as Mr. Stammer explains “Keep in mind when you hold a Greenland paddle, it is not with all your fingers on the loom (which results in a vertical blade). Only your thumbs and forefingers are on the loom, with your remaining fingers draped over the blade”. Overall I find that this paddle has almost immediately become and very natural tool for me - I rarely think about what I am doing. It is becoming almost a natural extension of my body.

I have a LOT to learn but I am 100% persuaded that this is the paddle for me and I will be putting all my effort into developing my skills with this paddle.

I often switch back & forth…
…between euro and gp and for me it always takes a few strokes for the paddle I switch to, (either gp or euro), to settle down & not flutter a little. They use different techniques. I enjoy both, practice strokes, rolls, surfing, and tour with both depending on conditions. If you put time in with the gp I can’t imagine you wouldn’t like it. Most folks get feeling natural with it in a couple of short tours. Once I determined I liked a gp, I used it excusively for a short time & that seemed to help cement a better result.

best of luck,

Torso rotation and straight arm
Your lower arm should be in a relaxed straight position and your torso rotation supplies the power. The paddle blade will not come straight back and should not. It will move gradually away from the boat.

I’m far from expert - but

– Last Updated: Sep-19-12 5:17 PM EST –

double post - sorry

My Beale did that at first
I thought it was the paddle, but after a few times out I realized it was me! It’s all in the way you hold the paddle in the water (canted- angled) which if a good paddle seems to become a natural way to hold it.

Thanks for the insight everyone. Anxious to give one a try again!

I suggest
you contact a well respected and experienced builder and get a paddle made to fit you properly. I think part of the reason I am so happy with my Lumpy is because the builder spent quite a bit of time with me via e mail and telephone to get a good fit.

Different entry to the water and timing
Also the opposite blade angle that you would expect coming from a Euro. You actually want it to go in a bit diving.

If it was fluttering, it is most likely that you were trying for the power phase at the wrong time and had it at the wrong angle going into the water.

By exception
Coming to a GP from a Euro requires unlearning old habits not just learning new ones. The learning is kinesthetic, e.g. in the body, in muscle memory, not just or even primarily mental. As Greg said, a GP properly used feels a bit like a wing and this sensation is a really good example of how the paddle will teach you how to use it if you just relax and pay close attention. One way to speed your progress is visualization/instruction–here’s a great place to start: . Stay with it–took me a good year (a dozen years ago) to fully switch from euro to GP, e.g. to unlearn the euro habits. Have never looked back and am still learning about the subtleties that a GP offers. BTW, no one in this thread has mentioned rolling, but if you have a roll or want to learn one the standard Greenland layback is the easiest roll around to learn.