Greenland paddle float ?

Does anyone know of a good design for a solid foam paddle float for GP’s. I am particularly interested in finding a good way to secure the float from coming off the paddle. My Mariner dual chamber float tends to slip off even after securing the clips due to the narroweness of my GP blades. I am also interested in how much foam (thickness and overall size) I need to give me enough floatation.


slap two pieces of minicell foam
together with some gaffer tape and jam your paddle blade into it.


Do you know how to roll? I would argue that with a GP there is no need for a paddle float. It is just so easy to roll with and has so much lift and leverage I just could not imagine not being able to roll up with one or being unable to do a re-enter and roll (which is really your best self-rescue anyway)


Bingo Matt
Some have the tools but not the talent.

I wonder how this Tilley hat is going to work in a roll. Should be interesting.

Paddlin’ on


Second the roll
Invest your time in rolling practice. It is just so easy with a GP there’s no reason not to have that in your toolbelt.

lots of reasons to have one
balance bracing for one. getting used to sliding off the back deck and back on with a bit of flotation on the end as a confidence builder, etc.

Very useful for a practice device for a chest scull or forward finishing rolls.

lets not jump to conclusions about skills etc.


Point taken
I did jump to conclusions.

For learning purposes, an inflatable might be useful as you can progressively deflate the float as your confidence and skills grow. I don’t really have any better idea for attaching one to a GP though. Maybe a couple single-chamber floats and some duct tape?

In my defense.
I guess by lots of people’s standards I am basically a untalented kayaking hack. Although I have been kayaking for about 19 years, I seem to have only managed to acquire one skill: imagination. I once imagined that a storm front might come in earlier and stronger than forecast so I did not go out and paddle with some friends. They appeared on TV that night and later in Sea Kayaker as 60+mph winds blew one over and broke his paddleleash leaving his kayak to fly across the bay without him. I once imagined that I might not calculate the currents in Deception Pass correctly to catch slack water. I waited until I could go in with someone familiar with the area. Sure enough we found the right conditions some 2 hrs earlier than expected. Glad I did not try to get through 2 hrs later. I once imagined that a lady with her child sitting in her kayaks rear hatch might capsize and flood the kayak (or even have the child be trapped) despite the flat calm conditions. I will never know how that turned out because despite some strong protests I convinced her to paddle only in some protected shallow flats with some of our group who did not want to do the full crossing. And now I have imagined that one day I will be in a situation where my roll will fail me repeatedly and I may need another way to get back in my kayak. I have also imagined that a re-entry and roll might be much easier with a float on the paddle. And finally I have imagined that after a re-enter and roll there might be enough water in the kayak that a paddle float would be really nice to have in order to stabilize the kayak while I pump out.

I do not necessarily think that my imagination is totally a good thing. It certainly has kept me from taking on some of the adventureous endeavors that GK and Bowler1 have done. I admire and even envy some of the things they have accomplished.

However, just because I am risk adverse does not mean I am untalented, uniformed, or unworthy of posting on this board.


Mark J. Arnold

Can you roll with a dislocated shoulder?
That’s a very common kayaking injury. Also how about using two of them for stabalizing a sea sick paddler while you tow him.

I agree that a roll should be your first line of defense, but what happens when that fails?

Don’t worry about all that, it’s just standard practice on this BBS to jump to conclusions. Someone should have a Jump to Conclusions board.

Check out Northwater’s foam paddle float. I believe that I’ve tried that one with a GP, and it worked.

I like your imagination so here is mine

– Last Updated: Sep-06-08 12:29 AM EST –

two pieces of mini-cell foam (or whatever foam paddle floats are made of these days). Cut to the length and width you desire. Glue a piece of velcro to each piece of foam (the loop side of the velcro). Then use a length of the hook side of the velcro, to wrap around the foam and paddle blade.

If you are feeling industrious, you could sew mesh sleeves for each foam piece, and the sew the velcro to one of the sleeves. You could also sew the sleeves together to make a hinge. Just a thought.


Mark, I have run into the same thing as you have. Often when I ask questions for the sake of discussion people jump to conclusions, or offer advice that is totally unrelated to the question. Hopefully, you are able to glean something useful out of all the clutter.

The cheapest solution

Mark after 19 years of paddling

…and probably longer on than me you should be able to sort through the B.S.

My comments are made to envoke a challenge not sarcasm.

Pallin’ on


doing better than me
I’m having trouble with the imagination part!

Was not trying to be abrasive

– Last Updated: Sep-06-08 7:34 AM EST –

I was not trying to be abrasive in the least. Sorry if it came across that way.

Good points on the rolling practice aid and dislocated shoulder issue (although at that point I think your's pretty much screwed and need to get out the VHS).

Once you learn to roll the GP just seems to be pretty much foolproof.

Assuming you know how to roll....I have my doubts about the need for a paddle float rescue. It just seems to me that the re-entry and roll is so much easier, faster, and more effective. Not to mention that if the conditions were bad enough to cause a capsize and wet exit then good luck balancing with a paddle float.

Paddle float is a good aid though for the re-entry and roll if you have a weak roll.



Yes, you can

– Last Updated: Sep-06-08 7:44 AM EST –

You can do a one-arm roll (a.k.a. "armpit roll") with the good arm. It seems to be that it would be an awful lot easier than trying to do a paddle float rescue with one arm. I can't see how that would even be possible.

Two Slabs Of Foam …
depending on how much flotation you want, you can use 1" or 2" thick. Shape an indent to your paddle tip width and depth, glue 'em together. Better slightly tight then loose since the foam will stretch as you push the paddle tip in but will hold it in by friction.

I found 4"wide x 2" deep x 12" long more than sufficient for my usage - outrigger to stablized my 18" wide sof for flyfishing.


GP Paddle Float
The way I make paddle floats for Greenland paddles is to get one piece of foam the size I want the float and cut a slit in the end of it about a 1/4" wider than the blade. When you push it onto the paddle you get a good snug fit that I have never had inadvertently come off the paddle.

Another option
I agree that there are many reasons a paddle float is a good idea. I recently bought a GP specific inflatable paddle float from - it’s pretty nice. There are good ideas above for making a foam float, but where do you keep it on the water? I had a regular foam float for a while and it basically ate up the whole aft deck of my boat, covered the hatch, etc. so I finally sold it.

My apologies
to Bowler1, Georgia Kayaker, and others for taking offense to their replies.

What started this thread was the fact that I was doing rolling and rescue practice and managed to break my relatively new GP. This was a purcased paddle ($200) so I was very upset. Breaking it was totally my fault for doing something really stupid while trying to do a paddle float re-entry. I was in a really bad mood when Bowler1’s and GK’s replies came and I over reacted.

I sincerely hope Bowler1, GK, and others will continue to reply to my posts as I value the knowledge available from the people who post on

Next time I am upset with a reply I will write it all done and then hit the “Reset Form” button. Or better yet maybe I will just “Shut up and paddle”.


Mark J. Arnold.