Greenland paddle question.

I made a Greenland style paddle per Bryan’s instructions and some more from here and it has been on the wall ever since. My foray into the ocean last week has me more interested in using it.

It seems really long. I made it to the spec and it is 240cm. Spec being stand flatfooted and reach up and the paddle should fit in the curl of your fingers when the other end is on the ground .I have seen some store bought ones and they look shorter relative to the owner’s height.Is it too long? How do you tell?

Really Play With It
for awhile and you’ll figure out what you like it the next one. I have found that I like my 3.25"wide x 82"long the best. Not incidentally, this length as almost the same as my 205 cm Onno.


I asked a similar question.

– Last Updated: Jun-10-04 10:50 AM EST –

What I gathered is this: You don't reach with your legs, so don't include them when measuring for a paddle. Instead, use your arm span plus one cubit (elbow to fingertips). Or, for an agressive paddle stroke, multiply your arm span by 1.2, for a less agressive stroke, by 1.3. Most fall in between.


I am going to use this on a Tarpon
so I may need to adjust for width Thanks. Time to get another stick and start whittlin’.

Gonna be another $50 chunk of wood? 8>)

A quick check while home for lunch

– Last Updated: Jun-10-04 12:45 PM EST –

and my paddle appears to be about 1.2 -1.3 X my arm span. I seem to recall hearing that your arm span is your height.
The first was made from Western Red Cedar; I'll make the next one out of a harder, more rigid , and yes Redmond, cheaper wood.My wife probably won't tolerate another $50 wall ornament.
I'm thinking Bubinga or Black Walnut. Or maybe pine.

Ape index
Your armspan is generally close to your height. There’s a comical measurement called the “Ape Index” that a friend of mine told me about ---- you divide your armspan by your height, and the higher the number, the more “Ape” you are. Anything over 1.00 is pretty ape…

I tried sizing a paddle by both an armspan plus a cubit, and reacing up in the air, and both gave me 218 cm, which I’ve stuck with for years for my GP’s. Works very well for me.



I just finished one
last weekend. I started it some time ago, and just got back to it. Somehow or another, it came out a few inches shorter than it should have, due to the calculation done at the beginning. I’m not particularly happy with the way that came it out for a number of reasons, and plan to do another one. Once I have two in hand, it should be easy compare the differences while paddling. Anyway, I’m using clear doug fir, and bought two pieces initially, so no more expenditure is involved.

Just say no

– Last Updated: Jun-10-04 1:38 PM EST –

I loved my Tarpon, I love my GP even more - but the two really don't mix that well.

While a T160 does have low decks - as in ZERO, it's 28" beam will not allow you to really work a GP very well. You won't be able to get enough blade in the water, or will have to lean/reach to do it, and will never get the feel or performance possible with a GP.

This has to do with closer grip AND narrower blades. GP was designed for skinny boat use. Narrow beam and paddler close to the water (my hands are often in the water - and sometimes I think even my Q700 is a bit high and wide for best GP use). Others can explain it better.

If you carved a GP with wider loom (and added more overall length) to accommodate the T160s beam (and DRAG) you would loose the proper body sizing and kill the technique. Being a big guy - the Tarpon is relatively smaller to you, and you would have a relatively larger GP - which makes it slightly more doable, but for a T160 - stick to a nice big bladed 240 euro.

A Heritage Shearwater is about the only SOT a GP would work OK with - and at 24" it still pushes the width issue. Seat position is a bit high too.

Different paddles for different boats. A wing wouldn't work well with a T160 either. You would be planting it too far off center.

Just my opinion, FWIW.

As for GP length, at your height 240's probably fine. I'm 5'9" and like my 88"/223cm". Loom length is equally important, if not more, to overall length as far as technique goes.

I wondered about whether a GP
could push a Tarpon.This whole question stemmed from the high wind ocean paddle last weekend when even my feathered paddle was a problem for resitance.Sounds like I need to look at a more narrow bladed Euro.

gator arms
LOL, at the other end of the spectrum if your arms are too short the term gator arms can be used.

Try this:

– Last Updated: Jun-10-04 2:14 PM EST –

Feather your paddle for upwind - unfeather downwind (assuming you paddle has both positions and can easily be switched in conditions) and try both for crosswinds to see what's best.

If you just go narrower you'll loose bite in the water - and as you well know - you need that to move the Tarpon in wind.

What are you using now? I never had my Tarpon in what I'd call high winds - nothing above a stiff sea breeze or some good gusts - but did have my trusty Werner San Juan blow out of my push hand a few times (no biggie). While the big blades grabbed wind a bit - the power and support in the water more than made up for a slight difference in the air.

Best thing would be to do it more often and get used to it grabbing the blade sometimes so you can adjust technique to react. Cheaper than new paddles - gear don't fix everything. Speed up the transition between strokes so your not vulnerable as long. Maximize blade time in the water. Try taking advantage of lower wind speeds closer to the surface (Like paddling under a low bridge). Constantly adjust.

For wood choice - ask at QajaqUSA
Everything has been tried many do not work well.



I use a Whetsone T2 and I can’t
tell you how it was feathered except the 60 degree part. The top edge of the left blade was feathered forward.There is a difference in which way you feather?


It sounds pretty long…
…but if you’re going to use it with a Tarpon, you’ll probably need the extra length. You’ve got nothing to lose by trying it, so give it a shot.

Personally, I make my paddles somewhat shorter than the “armspan + a cubit” formula. For me, that would be 96". Instead, I’ve been using an armspan + the elbow to wrist distance, which come out to 90". My next paddle is likely to be shorter, probably around 86", so I can use a higher cadence.

As for wood, I haven’t heard anything good about redwood as a paddle material. It’s brittle and much harder to work than cedar.

Hey b, ask String how tall he is…

– Last Updated: Jun-10-04 3:54 PM EST –

... or what his armspan is, then tell him that GP is long.

If my math is right - based on above - his span is somewhere between 6'1" and 6'7". If my memory serves - his height is closer to the high end of that range.

Yup, 94 1/2" is a big GP - but Sting's a big boy. Don't grow 'em like that in Greenland.

Another thread?
Maybe the Ape Index is worth of another thread?

I’ve had a suspicion that the shorter armed maybe less likely to paddle - or at least paddle as much - as we of more apelike dimensions. Probably doens’t hold - but a larger sampling might be interesting…