Greenland paddle for playing rough

-- Last Updated: Dec-02-09 9:51 AM EST --

I know a few people here use a GP in surf, rock gardening, tide races. Do you use a wider-bladed paddle? My GP feels great for cruising, but I can't get the quick acceleration or instant stops and turns that I can get with my euro paddle, so I don't use the GP for rough-water play. Curious if those of you who use a GP during playtime have chosen a blade shape that's more optimized for that stuff (or maybe you just think further ahead than I do). :p

My blades are 3 1/8" wide at the tips.

Eastern or Western Sword/Fencing…
work? I think with such a long and relatively tool, best to stick with eastern sword/jo/bo style.

The throwing stick can be used in a modified fencing/bowie style.


GP is deceiving
MIne is 3 5" at the end.

If you line up 8 seasoned paddlers on a starting line, 4 with EPs and 4 with GPs, nobody would be left behind in a race. In a short while, the stronger ones would pull ahead. That’s hard cold fact. The GP can accelerate like a bicycle that starts out in a low gear.

Larger blades will give you more surface area on braces and rudders. It’s not for everyone and you have to pick what feels good for you. Many paddlers who try a GP are disappointed because they haven’t adapted to it totally. And I do know some paddlers who used it for a year and went back to a EP.

Warren Willimiamson video and in a non rockered biadarka. Is that a “big water” boat or a “big water” paddler with a big water paddle?

yes, but . . .
I am convinced that GPs have no problem keeping up, and I can see how they could make folks suspect otherwise. But using the same bike gear analogy, if one bike is in a high gear (big blade), and one in a lower gear (little blade), and they both push with all their might on the pedal just once, the one in high gear is going to jerk forward more. That’s the problem I have with my GP. If I am speeding towards a rock to try and run a little cascade or something, and I decide at the last minute that the wave I’ve chosen isn’t big enough to make it over, I can stop my boat with a single stroke of the EP. Whereas if I do a single stroke with my GP I run into the rock.

It could be technique problems (I certainly have more experience with my Euro). Or maybe it’s my particular GP design. But I don’t think it’s just misconception, because I’m pretty sure that’s my gelcoat on the rock. :smiley:

Right tool for the job
Picking the right tool for the job is a matter of experience. I would say to try it for a few months and tell us what you think.

I think a gp is a capable tool, but I would probably use a spoon.

As to jay’s Warren williamson post from YouTube? I’m not sure I’d call that rough water, or surfing. It’s moving water. And he is spending most of his time upside down. Most of the surfing rough water skills I enjoy are performed right side up. Please don’t think I am picking on Warren, but I am personally a little fed up with seeing guys in tuiliqs on flat looking tidal races who capsize intentionally being touted as rough water paddling models. I would be far more impressed with some upright maneuvering strokes.

Does this count?

– Last Updated: Dec-02-09 12:25 PM EST –

"I would be far more impressed with some upright maneuvering strokes."

I hear you. Maybe this is a little closer to what you have in mind.

Yeah I saw that
I would love to go paddle there.

That said, it’s not that big, or dynamic. It’s a standing wave. It’s fun fun because it’s predictable. But attaining the wave with a gp is impressive.

For sea kayak surfing, I like using my GP that’s a bit wider (4") rather than my standard GP (3 3/8"). Granted for real surf, I’ll take my whitewater paddle and my playboat but that’s a whole different sport.

For my regular paddling I’ll use
a 3 1/4" wide blade. It gives me a decent bite with the water and I can play with the canted stroke. For surfing or any other condition that I need a more aggressive stroke I use a 3 7/8" blade. The wider blade also has a sharper edge on it which I feel adds more bite for strokes like bow rudders.

You Got That Right
Two of us recently whooped up an a stronger guy in a ‘faster’ kayak. He had a top dollar, carbon fiber, ultra light, ultra expensive euro paddle. We’re paddling ‘medium speed’ boats. I was switching back and forth between a home made and a pro made GP. My fellow chaser was strictly home made GP. We caught and passed the high tech guy after bridging a significant gap. I think ‘high tech’ guy’s bad paddling form / technique did him in.

GP only
I switched to GP this year and never got back, even for rough water and surfing. Acceleration is no problem, I have a quick boat (Vela) and with the proper paddling technique (high angle, deep immersion near boat for a sprint) there’s no difference to my euro blade I’ve paddled 30 years. I wish I’d switched earlier.

Another vid:

and a less spectacular one (I’m no expert) from me:

Some observations

– Last Updated: Dec-04-09 9:30 AM EST –

I have not done that much surfing and "rough stuff" but from what I've done I can see the point for using either a GP or a short WW style paddle.

When I first got my WW boat I could not roll it reliably with the WW paddle but I could with the GP. So I surfed my play boat on ocean waves with the GP. The GP has a problem there (which is its advantage in other situations). The loom is only 20 or so inches (give or take a few for personalization). This gives quick cadence, but little power due to the small leverage you have. A small slow boat like that needs more than one stroke to accelerate if the wave is not very steep and the GP is not good for more than one very quick and very powerful stroke - if the second stroke needs to be powerful, then it can't be nearly as fast and vice versa. There is no time to do sliding strokes when trying to catch a wave with more than one stroke. The same I found applies in WW (sea kayak or WW boat) when trying to attain upstream and when I really need to put to the water all I got for a very short period of time. Once underway and except in the situations I described, there is not problem and the longer paddle is fine and offers even more bracing and steering options than a short one. So for these couple of situations above I think a short WW paddle is definitely better. Not to mention that my $100 Werner Depsrado will outlast my wooden GPs many times over when used on rocks; and now I can use it to roll the boat up just as well as I can the GP if not better (it is faster to maneuver underwater when scrambling to come back-up in a rapid with submerged rocks)...

Watch the video of Nick Schade (sp?) playboating next. He is not using a GP but he might as well be - he is not really moving the paddle too fast most of the time and to catch an eddy or stay on the wave one can use sliding stroke or two the way he is using it.

Now watch the waveski guy - he is moving the paddle so fast that a longer paddle would hinder him:

Now watch the tsunami rangers doing silly stuff - I think there they could be using anything with enough surface. Except as Brian mentioned, if you get stuck in a shallow and narrow rock channel, a long skinny stick may be a problem -;)

Could be he was just old or feeble.
I was once paddling a slalom course in my glass/carbon c-1, with my Mitchell slalom paddle, and a young stud beat me badly paddling a 50 pound plastic boat with a creeking paddle. And I got beat by teens all the time. BUT I was much faster, for me, in my ultra equipment than I would have been in ordinary equipment. I know, 'cause I used to race in ordinary equipment.

Yes, an old, mediocre paddler can certainly mask the effect of a superior boat.

I think I Could Knock Out Mike Tyson

– Last Updated: Dec-04-09 2:50 PM EST –

if I went up behind him and suddenly launch a freakin' hook into his throat... If we were to face and know it's going down, I suspect the result would be very different.

You and buddy should take your GPs and enter the blackburn or something where everyone knows it's on and is literally "in the race". And then note how many wings, Euros or GP users you all do a "whoopin'" on when it's said and done.


Sing Sing Sing!

– Last Updated: Dec-04-09 6:10 PM EST –

It was on. The high tech dude threw the throat punch and we responded. I'm not very wordy but some details might help. Three of us road bike / sea kayak buddies are paddling around Harker's Island, NC. We're paddling at a brisk pace into an outgoing tide and take a break at mid-point... Brown's Island I think it was. We get back in the boats and paddle into some marsh maze. My GPS says right looks good. We two GPers go right and carbon fiber stays left around some marsh. When we get to where we should meet we see that carbon fiber has poured it on. He's two hundred yards ahead of us. We go after him. I see a little something ahead... awww it's just some seaweed. I'll go right through. Naw. It was an oyster bed. Scraped me to a halt. I get backed up and around it and I'm 300 + yards back. It was full tilt for about 5 miles. I have paddled and biked with high tech guy for years. He's stronger than both of us GPers. Why did we pass him? He arm paddled and didn't keep a straight line.

The greenland paddle can be
very effective for catching waves by adjusting you hands for a wider, more aggressive grip. That’s what I really like about the greenland paddle, your hands can vary in their position for paddle strokes and braces. I don’t know how wide the blade is on your greenland paddle but if it’s narrow it won’t give you the bite you need in those conditions. My paddle that I like to use for surfing or rough conditions has a 3 7/8" blade with sharp edges. Ir works in these conditions much better than my narrower greenland paddles.

My Bad…
Sounds like a straight up whoopin’. Hope you took away his Euro and smashed it. Show him the error of his “way.” :wink:


I want to see you go TOE to TOE
with Sean Moreley and a wing paddle.

I’ve been trying to show my carbon fiber buddy how to get some torso into his stroke. He’s not real receptive.

I can’t really “adjust” nearly as fast as I need in the few situations I described and simply holding it wide at the blades instead of at the base of the blades with both hands is not very comfortable for these same situations (e.g. multiple “fast AND powerful” strokes). Mine is has enough power, it’s just that I can’t paddle fast enough when needed to apply full power at the same time.

Not to be confused with adjusting one hand only for a stroke on one side…