GP vs. Euro - The Never Ending Debate

I have been told by instructors that my forward stroke with a Euro blade is among the best they’ve seen (in the lower levels). Few can keep pace with me, even if I’m not trying. I’ll never claim to be the best, but experience has demonstrated that I’m pretty good.

Quote Sparky above.

No clue how I am. I watch videos and watch myself. I go a decent speed and critic myself on near every stroke. Padding with almost all others or groups is to slow for me 95 percent of the time. I have about 4 videos on forward strokes. Ten total kayak vids. Had few lessons by Elizabeth O’Connor but she is now bit away. Her skills were fantastic and still impress my years later.

I think I’ll get a GP video as the vids I have are mostly Euro with a little GO mixed in. Any recommendations for a GP video? Thanks.

Mad I can’t break 7 mph without current and or wind with my Nomad / Extreme. Always 6.9 on the GPS in neutral conditions. Probably have a heart attack trying soon with the sprints.

Some great points have been mentioned here. Instead of addressing them all, I’ll try to generalize a bit.

I’ve already said that I rate my EP technique as very good. This has been confirmed by others with skill and experience. You’ll have to take my word on this one because that’s all there is to go on.

As for the GP, I’ve been using it on and off for almost a year. If I hadn’t figured out how to use it differently than a Euro Paddle, I’d have given it up shortly after starting out because it feels horrible used like that. Although I’m far from being a beginner, I’m sure my stroke will improve and evolve over the coming years.

If you can accept my word on how my skill level rates with both paddles, then you could expect that if I were to repeat this test in a year or two then the speed (and efficiency) with a GP will increase while the EP numbers will stay mostly the same. I’m ok with this, and it doesn’t counter anything I’ve concluded about the results. My conclusion, restated a little bit, is that the Greenland paddle is a useful tool, not just for rolling, but also for getting places. Plenty of people have already figured this out long before I was born.

Is the test subjective? Not strictly by definition: Subjective: based on or influenced by personal feelings, tastes, or opinions . I’ve been a reluctant participant in the whole “Greenland” thing from the start. I have not embraced it like many others I’ve known, and still don’t. I don’t go around telling everyone that Greenland paddles or Greenland style boats are far superior to others. I started using a GP much more in the winter because it was more durable for “ice breaking” and less expensive than my Euro Paddle(s). I also found early on that it’s quite enjoyable and easy to roll with. For me, it’s been the pragmatic course to take. The results I shared were counter to what I expected, which is to say I thought I’d be significantly slower trying to accomplish the same paddling “task” with a Greenland Paddle.

To continue brutalizing the long-since-deceased horse, I couldn’t care less which is “better”. I do believe a lot of people could be missing out though if they believe what amounts to speculation., rather than do the best with what’s available to try and quantify the differences.

Is the test scientifically valid? Not entirely. It can’t be, given the equipment and facilities at my disposal. I’ll take up the challenge to repeat a similar test if someone can come up with a better method.

A paddling friend of mine did a similar comparison of GP, Euro and wing paddles (he was very proficient with all three). He used a heart rate monitor to make sure that he was working equally hard with each paddle type and he compared his speeds on multiple runs with each type. He found there was no discernible speed difference between a GP and a Euro, but a wing was faster than either (I don’t recall the % of difference). His methodology was scientific enough and his proficiency sufficient that I’m comfortable that it’s a realistic representation. Others have come to similar conclusions in their own tests.

It’s important for people to understand that there is a significant difference between the optimum technique for a GP and a Euro paddle; you can’t just use Euro technique with a GP and achieve the best results. I’ve already mentioned the canted stroke (the upper edge of the blade is angled forward, which the shoulders on the paddle do automatically if you use the proper grip), but the stroke also starts around mid-calf (as opposed to near the ankles for a Euro) and continues well past the hip before the paddle exits. Pressure is applied gradually at the catch (while the long blade buries itself in the water) and increased through the middle of the stroke. You can get a little extra pop at the end by continuing to apply pressure through the exit. This contrasts dramatically with the Euro stroke which starts with full power at the catch and lessens through the stroke. It’s also the most likely reason that people find GPs to be easier on their shoulder, elbow and wrist joints, and less tiring overall.