greenland paddle sizing

I finally found a knot free 8’ 2x4. The loom for me will be about 21" or 22", overall length 84-86" per the measurements from Chuck Holst’s plans. I am around 5’10". DOes any one with experience with this style of paddle have any pointers or suggestions before I start cutting? If it matters, I paddle a WS zephyr 160. Thanks, John

Your first paddle will be a learning
Experience, so don’t worry about making it perfect. Take your time and make your next paddles different sizes to find what feels best to you. Enjoy.

The Holst Procedure
will give you a good product on your first try.

Take your time drawing and cutting the blank and keep it precise.

Measure and eyeball often, so the shape stays symmetrical on all faces/angles.

I’ve carved nine always using Chucks procedures as the guide. I like a more roundish loom.


wise to listen to someone with the greenland name of “Paddle” :slight_smile:

he is correct…follow the path

Best Wishes


first one
Like everyone said, the first one won’t be perfect but it’ll work and probably pretty well too and then the downside, you’ll become addicted to GP’s and make more…and more :slight_smile:

I’ve got a whole pile of really nice expensive euro paddles that I hardly ever use anymore and don’t want to. I just enjoy the GP much more.

Bill H.

Made Several
But I don’t like any of them. I’d rather paddle with a short fishing pole. I bet if the old Eskimos had a choice of todays paddles vs. an old Greenland they would choose the ONNO.

Remaking GP
I hated my first GP and went back to a euro blade. One reason for not liking it was I couldn’t roll with it.

The following winter I turned out “the plank”, a GP with a 4.5" blade width. I liked it better. I could roll with it, and I would alternate using it and a euro, just to use slightly different muscles on longer trips. I noticed other paddlers using GPs that could make their boats go faster with smaller blades. They turned more strokes than I could with the plank. I borrowed their paddles and liked them, so the next winter, I shaved down the plank to about 3.25" width. I liked it and learned to roll with it.

Since, I have made a few more paddles and grown to really like GPs. Three points here:

  1. You may not immediately love your GP. Take some time and get some pointers on how to use them. It is a different stroke than you are used to with the euro.
  2. Error on the big side–you can always take off more material. If you are using cedar, no harm in trying out the paddle before it is finished and then bringing it back in the shop for fine tuning.
  3. What everybody else said–don’t worry too much about the first one. Paddle it, try other’s GPs, see what you like, and you will soon utter the GP-ers refrain: “I think I’ll try ____ on the next paddle I make”

I’m 5’ 11" with a Z160
I use a 89" GP with a loom about 22". I bought it, and haven’t got the tools or inclination (yet) to make a different one to try.

I find it easy to roll the Z with this paddle, I can roll with a euro but it isn’t as effortless for me.

If I had a decision on length to make, like you do, I might suggest going toward the long end of the range first. If it seems a little long, one can shorten the overall length later (and it will happen as you damage the end and sand it and refinish it over time). I don’t think it’s as easy to make it longer!

Apparently, ignorance is bliss…
…in your case. Greenlanders have the choice of any paddling equipment they want and they still choose traditional paddles. If you’re not willing to take the time to learn to use one, stick with a Euro. There’s plenty of room for personal preference in kayaking.

Buy a custom made paddle from a pro. Then build your own and tweak it based on your likes and dislikes of the pro - built.

Thanks, will add about about 5" and then start cutting. John

is a survey of paddlers and their size (body) and the size paddle they prefer in the latest Masik.

This suvey was done to help people that are starting out making their first few paddles…maybe it will help you with some decisions.

Best Wishes


I’m 6’3", paddle the daddy of Zephyr (Dagger Meridian SK), and use 87" and 89" GP’s. I agree with the idea of going a little long, since you can easily cut 4" or more off the length without changing the proportions too much. I’d go with something like 88" and trim down from there.

That said, I like a shorter paddle than my measurements would indicate. An arm span plus a cubit for me is 96", so I’m going 9" shorter with the 87.

Have fun with it!


Loom length is more important
I have only 1 GP (Beale) and decided on a 22" loom due apparently to the 2 kayaks i paddle (tempest 21 1/2" and a squamish 23") its about a 220cm length. I love this paddle but realize my loom is just too wide for me. I tend to grasp it closer in - than at the edge of the loom and the beginning of the blade. You can shorten the blade but not the loom ! Better to go shorter on the loom as it can be lengthened but not the other way around.

What she said.