Greenland Paddle?

I lost my last paddle and I’m in store to buy a new one. I understand the techniques of the Greenland paddle are different but I’m wondering how difficult is it to transition into it from a europaddle?

Any advice is appreciated.

For most of us who have switched, it’s pretty easy. I have met many more people who preferred a GP once they tried one than I have who tried a GP and decided they still preferred a standard blade, which might indicate how strong the appeal can be.

It does depend on what sort of paddling you do. You get more immediate power with a large blade, for quick turns in narrow mild rapids or along rocky coasts, but for most flat-water paddling and any distance or long trips, a GP puts less stress on your body and enables you to paddle for longer without fatigue. I have paddled almost always with a GP for 15 years now. I do still have some good quality standard blade paddles but only carry one as a deck spare and rarely use it.

For me, the GP felt very natural and I developed my strokes with it based on what felt right as well as studying on line videos showing how to use your torso. I’ve refined my stroke a little by attending some Greenland skills camps and had one-on-one coaching, but the basic stroke just worked for me from the very beginning and I can now keep up with or even go faster than most of the people I paddle with in similar boats who use standard blades.

It’s also easier to learn to roll a kayak with a GP.

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It’s not terribly difficult to transition but you must learn the idiosyncrasies between the euro and GP. When paddling with others who use a GP exclusively, I quickly saw how they can be used for maximum benefit for specific situations. In many ways GP’s are more capable than euros.
For me, I enjoy using both, and typically have one of each with me (primary and backup). I often switch up during my voyage ‘just because’.
At any rate, embrace and enjoy the learning curve!

I’d recommend taking at least one class to understand the technique.

Flutter is a common problem when first learning to use a GL but a simple shift in your grip and it goes away. It’s easier to have someone show you than watching a video.

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I learned a LOT from Paulo at Dancing with the Sea. I really like my GL paddles (also my long Aleut paddles too) I now have 2 higher end Carbon euro paddles (An Aqua Bound and a Warner) and I have a lot of good to say for them both, but for all around use and pleasure in maneuvering bracing and rolling I still seem to favor my wood GL and “Alaskan” sticks.
I have now made quite a few for friends and a few customers and all that have tried them say they have come to love them.

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I’ll second the suggestion of Paulo Oullet’s paddling videos. I subscribed for access to more of them a few years ago and they were very useful, also aesthetically enjoyable (and even relaxing to watch) due to the beautiful places he paddles and the production quality of the clips.

I also switched to a GP a few years ago, and my nice Euro paddle now gets very little use. I find it much more pleasant to paddle longer distances, and I learned to roll with it. I’m not so concerned about speed, though I think I’m as fast with it as with the Euro blade. It took me a little while to get used to. My spouse, on the other hand, resisted it for a long time. Then I dragged him to a Greenland paddling retreat (to which he wanted to bring his Euro paddle :joy:), and after the first class he was sold. Don’t think he’s used his Euro paddle since.

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If there was one tip I’d say needs to be remembered when using a GL paddle as compared to a Euro type it’s that the power hand must be at or under the water for all your strokes to be as effective as they can be.

In using a GL paddle the large majority of the paddle is blade and the loom (“Paddle shaft” on a euro) is usually only 19 to 24 inches long so a long loom is a foot long for each hand. That said, you need to bury the entire blade in water to get full used from it. For a forward stroke you’ll find the best way to get power from a GL is to give less power to it at the catch and apply power as it gets into a place across from your thigh and then do a very aggressive torso rotation pushing the blade back and pressing the other blade forward in a low angle. The shoulders will be at between 35 and 45 degrees at the end of the stroke. You don’t lift the blade at all. It sculls right to the surface all by itself ------- and in so doing the other blade is starting it’s trip downward to repeat the same set of movements on the opposite side.

In bracing remember the same. Rotate your torso so the hand touches the water. The arms hold the GL paddle in the correct way but the body give it all the power.

In rolling the blade that is not supporting the roll is the one that gives you the connection to what is the perfect angle. “Keep you brain in the other hand”. What does that mean? The one side of a GL paddle is a mirror image to the other, so what ever the angle is on the off-side is identical to the one under the water. So if you think about the angle of the blade in the off-side hand you can have exact control of the angle of the blade that’s under the water. I have found rolling is a lot easier to do with GL paddles for that reason. With my euros, if I set for zero feather the same ides works if you extend so you can hold the base of the off-side blade, but with a GL paddle you need not even shift your hands at all. So to me at least, the angles are simply a lot more intuitive and natural with the GL paddle then they are with my Euro paddles


When I quit white water paddling for the more sedate lake, river, bay, ocean paddling I was never able to make the switch from high angle to low angle. Someone here suggested to try a Greenland, and I have one but still can’t make the switch my WW technique is too ingrained. So I have a few Low angle Eruo’s and a Greenland all gathering dust.

Now I’m chasing my ultimate High Angle Euro, unfortunately nobody seems to make my optimum paddle.

So depending on your paddle style and how ingrained you are to what your doing now you may find the switch easy, you may find it hard, or like me you may find it impossible.

I would recommend going out with someone who has a Greenland and trying it.