Greenland paddles for solo or pack canoe

I am impressed and interested in the strong allegiance many kayakers now have to Greenland paddles.

Many canoes are paddled with double blades: probably all so-called pack canoes and, from time to time, many solo canoes. In addition, canoeists soloing a tandem canoe often use double blades.

Would the perceived virtues of a GP vs. a Euro apply to these canoe usages of double paddles?

One difference that specifically raises this question in my mind is that the double-blading canoeists won’t be rolling their boats.

pack canoe
Good question as I’d love to add a pack canoe to my fleet. One concern - Perhaps not the efficient solo canoes from Bell, Wenonah, and LPBW, but many of the pack canoe offerings have huge widths(29-30 inches) versus typical touring kayaks of 21-to 23 inches. I assume that for both GP and Euro use, it will be impossible to use existing owned paddles, trying to get them in the water. But maybe with the GP, an extended or sliding stroke makes it easier than trying a 210-215 Euro in such a boat. Hate to go out and buy a 225-230 for a pack canoe.

I’d rather use the lightest double blade
I can buy, with the 75 degree feather I prefer. But then, I learned with 90 degree feather, and it doesn’t bother me to use it now.

Also, when I have really needed a double blade in a small canoe was for driving straight into a headwind, and having a 90 degree feather was a bit of a help. Maybe GP blades are long and narrow enough to shed wind, I don’t know. But I don’t think a GP long enough for a small open canoe can be made as light as a European high angle paddle with carbon shaft and blades.

Well recently…
I sold a GP to a fellow paddling a solo canoe. He went with a 230 cm but later came back and asked me to cut down the tips and turn it into a 215 cm for him. It is in my shop now and I’ll be doing it as soon as i finish off a few other paddles that are on order.

he uses a very high angle stroke as do I. For a lower angle, you’d go a little longer.

Also sold a 240 cm to another fellow recently for use in his solo. Both paddles were on the heavy side for what I normally build but they were still right around 30 ounces. Usually they are closer to 26 or 27 ounces.

Cheers…Joe O’

You don’t need feather on a GP
They don’t need to be extremely light either, as they’re buoyant in the water, which effectively reduces their weight.

Despite the over-emphasis on rolling…
…among the GP crowd, GPs are meant for PADDLING; they are not strictly tools for performing what we often call “stupid kayak tricks”. Although you’d wouldn’t think it from what you see online, I’ll bet that most GP users - myself included - spend 99.9% of their time paddling and only .1% rolling. I’m sure you’ll find it to be a very effective means of propelling your canoe.

I’ll get mine off the wall and give it a
try in the RF.

GP in Pack Canoes
I use an Aleutian paddle in pack canoes and have for 6 years. The Aleutian paddle has one side similar to a GP and the other side has a ridge (or two) running down the blade. While some debate it, I feel the ridge side is the power face. To each there own.

I find it works well and is easy on my old body. Aleutian or GPs for pack canoes have to be longer than those for kayaks to deal with the greater width of pack canoes.

Paddle drip can be substantial. I leave a sponge on the bottom in front of the seat and squeeze it out periodically.

A guy I know was having trouble with his shoulders while paddling a wide rec. kayak (about the width of a pack canoe). I had him try my Aleutian and he said they felt much better. He had a GP made for him and is very happy with it.

I have yet to roll my pack canoe, or even try. A highly skilled paddler did try at a club picnic and would have made it except his thighs slipped due to lack of thigh bracing.


Opion: GP no good in canoe
I have to qualify that opinion because I’m used to wider canoes. Perhaps paddling some narrow canoe with low freeboard would change my opinion.

IMO, Greenland paddles are not at all appropriate for canoes. As I learned to use GP, the paddle enters the water at an angle such that it digs when you pull on it, and early in the stoke the paddle comes to a high angle. My on-side hand is almost in the water at that point. To get the equivalent amount of paddle in the water in a canoe, I’d have to add the freeboard to the paddle length, so I’d have a large paddle. Unless the canoe was very narrow, I’d also probably also end up rocking my torso side to side. It’d be hard to spin the paddle at the faster cadence normal for GP.

I think Doc (dgams) that used to post here got enamored with GPs for canoing, but never heard much about how it worked out for him.

While I am very fond of kayaking with a GP, since I have not much fooled with it in the canoes, just consider it an opinion.


Did I say one needed feather on a GP?
But I assume you are saying that the upper blade is less subject to wind than a Euro blade.

water water water

– Last Updated: Aug-25-09 11:07 AM EST –

Just had a thought - GP in a pack canoe. That's a whole lot of water dripping on the paddler and ending up in the boat with each stroke.

Paddle drip in pack canoe
As I noted in my post above, paddle drip can be substantial. Other times it can be minimal.

In early spring, when water and air are cold I’m more likely to use a kayak with skirt and dry suit. Late Spring through fall I use the “sponge on bottom and squeeze it out as needed” method to deal with paddle drip. On cooler days I sometimes wear waterproof pants. On hot days the paddle drip feels good. I do have fabric spray decks for my pack canoe, but the paddle drip bothers me so little that I never use them.


GP in a canoe
I have used a GP in my kayak for a few yrs. I bought a dagger sojourn solo canoe last spring. I tried the GP a few times and it moves the boat well with little paddle drip if you maintain a good cadence. I also have a foxworx single blade paddle. On a trip of much length I would carry them both.

Sounds right to me. Horses for courses.

with a shorter canoes…
The only difference will be that with the kayak double blades…you’re going to have to give a little more attention to stroke quality to avoid any hint of a sweep since the waterline can be so short. That’s where a little stern correction imho is much more efficient with shorter lengths.


Use a loooong GP with my Wen-Vag
UL solo and really like it. Bremmer (Lumpy Paddles) made it special for me. Can run with the local yaks in flat water and slow river easy cruising day trips no problem. Get a good workout without joint/tendon stress from blade torque. Carry a single blade for narrow creeks with lots of overhang. Great to just toss and tie gear in and not have to worry about stuffing stuff in little holes, and trying to retrieve it while underway. Only negative, sticks out of the sedan window. A few others using one too. One even cut down his gunnels. Borrow a long one and try it for a while. R

sticking out sedan window
I assume you are transporting the canoe. If so, you can tie the GP to your roof rack or tie it inside the canoe. There are a few 2 piece GPs made. However there has been a breakage problem with them, usually at the edge of the paddle where it joins the ferrule. Thought to be from dissimilar bending characteristics of the wood and the ferrule. A few makers are now putting a hardwood spline down the center to overcome this problem. Two piece GPs are quite expensive, so I’d suggest exploring putting it on top first.