Greenland paddles

Of the commercially made Greenland style paddles out there, which ones are good? Which ones should I avoid? I’d like to find a 2 piece model if possible, and think I’d prefer carbon to wood. I’ve seen Superior’s, and they look good (though they’re not cheap). What other makes should I consider?


I have a carbon-fiber Superior’s GP and just love it.

If you go wood I would just try to make one, many plans and instructions around.

my Superior
is nearly 10 years old and has a bunch of miles, sea, surf, strong current, etc. on her and is still going strong.

Don Beale (you’ll find him on the Greenland forum) makes nice ones, as well.

Neither are cheap. you get what you pay for.


Cricket Paddles
Check out The guy that makes these paddles is an engineer who had better and more fulfillng ideals and now lives more for paddling. He is meticulous in his workmanship and builds beauty into function.


Superior - carbon or wood

– Last Updated: Apr-07-04 3:07 PM EST –

I have the carbon GP - and it is even 10x better working than it is looking. Definitely not just a high priced gimmick.

It could spoil you for other GPs (for any other paddle really)! Since you are into the speed/distance thing you'd be hard pressed to make a better choice for a GP. Very light and very fast. At 24oz - it's right up there with the good wing paddles as far as weight goes. I do not baby mine and it shows only minor surface abrasions (and those really only show when it's dry). Is expensive though.

Not everyone likes them though (of course)- and wood does have a nice feel. With Superior, it's the same design (unless you go unshouldered - but for a first GP, I recommend going shouldered).

All GPs have enough bouyancy that they are about weightless during much of the stroke. The weight is only really felt between the release and next catch (but as with any paddle - it adds up with the miles - and you don't notice until you do get a light paddle, after which it's hard to go back).

Speed/distance paddlers tend to appreciate finer blade edges - rollers more rounded or blunt. If you were more into rolling - I'd say stick to wood, probably self carved. The carbon is fine for rolling work, just overkill pricewise. You can always carve a wood storm paddle as a spare and use that for rolling practice too. Best of both worlds maybe.

The carbon paddle's finish is not high gloss, it's more satin and offers good grip for bare hands (gloves would depend on material). It get's even better over time. You can also lightly sand with fine grit to alter the feel if it's too slick for you.

A side note - there is variety and differnce of opinion on paddle design. QajaqUSA has direct from Greenland info and a wide variety of techniques are discussed - as in all are good. There is another group of mostly Midwest paddlers that have a more US interperted style and favor a low angle stroke. Works fine too. The only reson it matters in this discussion is in paddle selection. With shouldered paddles the Greenlanders usually have thumb and forefingers wrapped on the loom and the rest are on the blade root (which sort od automatically dials in the cant angle). With the Midwesterners, the entire hand in on the loom - and their paddles have wider looms.

Superiors are sized Greenland style. Betsie Bay and some others have the wider looms. All (there are about 6 commercial makers and several "hobby" carvers that sell) make nice paddles. The design differnce is just something to be aware of when looking around at what's available.

Good info on QajaqUSA about sizing a GP to fit you and your boat (overall lenght and loom lenth being most important, followed by blade width, etc. A wide range can work - but a well sized paddle is a real pleasure to use). All the paddle makers are very helpful with sizing too.


PS - If you check out Superior, say hi to Mark and Celeste for me!


Superior Kayaks doesn’t have take-aparts do they?

This company based out of italy is one company I know of that has a GP takeapart

Thanks, and:
Is it odd that I want a take-apart paddle? The only place I could keep a one piece would be on the roof rack, and I don’t like the idea of leaving it there (would be there all the time - I try to paddle every day before work).

Also, while the Superiors do look excellent, and the price seems reasonable for what you get, I hesitate to spend that much for a type of paddle I’ve never even held, much less tried out. So, what about Mitchell? They make one, and I always used to love my Mitchell whitewater canoe paddles. How about their Greenland paddle? Anyone familiar with it?

Thanks folks.

Don Beale
Here is a page from that lists the commercial GP makers

I was looking at both Mitchell and Sawyer before i was given Don’s name. I would get in touch with Don if I were you, he’s a great guy to deal with and you can specify exactly what you want, instead of buying what another company has pre-made. I have a few pictures of some of his paddles if you would like to see them. I’m in no way affiliated with don, but I do have a paddle on order and have heard great things about them


2-piece Feathercraft:

Mitchell GPs and designs/shape info
Seen one and held it at a kayak fest. Maybe OK, but was not the equal of any Superior to me.

Quality was good, but it was a sort of a non-descript laminated thing that lacked the fine points of a good GP - which IMO should not be much like a canoe paddle at all (and the Mitchell and some others are just like long narrow canoe paddles, which is not the way to make a good GP). Someone at the show had a two piece (not the Feathercraft) that was also less than inspiring in similar ways.

Look at the Chuck holst plans over at QajaqUSA. If your paddle does not have a squared oval loom, transition to a somewhat fat oval at the shoulders - then into a smoothed diamond, and then flattening out as it transitions down the blade into a very thin flat lenticular (oval) shape - You are being shortchanged. ALL of those shapes do something.

A GP is not just a paddle with long narrow blades. I think you risk missing some of the magic if you don’t get the real deal.

There are lots of good makers - and don’t mean to sound like there is only one way to go - I just have experience with Superior and know the designs and quality are right (and no one else has carbon).

Those aren’t two piece
From that site’s only English page:

“At the moment they build just Sea Kayak Paddles with straight and aligned shovels, so paddles cannot be dismantled. One of the near future AVATAK® PAGAIE targets is to produce the full actual Paddle Collection on the dismantled version.”

The woodwork looks excellent, and they do have many models, but only one shouldered Greenland and in only one size: 96"!!! A bit big for my tastes. Blades are 35.25 x 3.5" and loom is 25.5" - also way too long for me as it would make my grip much more than shoulder width (probably OK for Midwest US style GPers). Weight is 35-40 oz. Not bad for wood - but HEAVY to me as I’m spoiled.

I’d stick with someone with some size options, and USD is still down against teh Euro anyway so price ain’t that great.


Airwave beat me too it. Klatwa’s probably the best 2 piece. Only one size - but it’s a good compromise. If I had a folder I’d seriously consider one.

There used to be breakage issues - but pretty sure this has been addressed. One of the benefits of a GP are extended strokes and sculling and with some users this can stress the connection.

Search QajaqUSA board as this paddle has been discussed a few times and you can get first hand reports.

Transporting a one piece GP
I carry my one piece 88" GP (and 76" storm) INSIDE a Dodge Neon (split fold-down rear seat) with no trouble.

If you need to carry externally on rack, you can use a 4" (or larger) diameter PVC pipe - with one end sealed - the other end with screw in end cap - and even rig a samll hasp & padlock on it. Look at any plumbers truck/van and you’ll see the same thing used to carry smaller pipe.

A couple of ideas
Post on and mention you want a Greenland paddle. Probably get one real cheap. If you can find one, an Eddyline Ultraswift could be a great alternative to a Greenland Paddle. It has a 4" wide blade and was made only for Baidarka Boats in Sitka They may have a couple of leftovers around. Good luck with your boat.


I second what Greyak said
"Look at the Chuck holst plans over at QajaqUSA. If your paddle does not have a squared oval loom, transition to a somewhat fat oval at the shoulders - then into a smoothed diamond, and then flattening out as it transitions down the blade into a very thin flat lenticular (oval) shape - You are being shortchanged. ALL of those shapes do something.

A GP is not just a paddle with long narrow blades. I think you risk missing some of the magic if you don’t get the real deal."

Yes definitely check out Chuck Holsts’ plans. You’ll have a good idea of what a good GP should be shaped like and you can follow his directions for sizing.

I think the reasons that there are
few Greenland take-aparts are that 1) the ferrule wouldn’t be round, which is complicated to make, and 2) any kind of joint might inhibit the very quick sliding of the paddle through the hands into “extended” position, which is integral to Greenland technique, permitting all sorts of bizarre and interesting rolls and sculling methods that other paddles can’t do.

But I’m happy to hear there’s a take-apart model out there–I’ve wanted one to my vacation destination is more expensive than it used to be.


Paddle case
A 4" PVC case will carry 3 GPs. It also garners some interesting stares when it’s mounted on your roof rack.

You’re killing me
You guys are right on the edge of having me drop $340 for a carbon Superior, and I’ve never even held a Greenland paddle!

I’m thinking 88" or so. I’m 6’ tall, have a 33" inseam, and will be using it in the Arctic Hawk. Sound about right? I’m thinking that I’ll want to be paddling with good torso rotation and as much of a “wing like” stroke that would be appropriate to this sort of paddle - similar to what I’m seeing in video clips on the Qajak site.

If you don’t want to spend the money, making wooden ones is not hard, especially if you can rough it out on a bandsaw. Then it’s just some quiet time with a block plane to turn it into something that flows.

Yesterday evening I was sitting on the back step liberating a storm paddle from a piece of cedar while the dogs worked on their own sticks. Nice way to end the day.

go for it!

– Last Updated: Apr-08-04 9:54 AM EST –

it's a fantastic paddle and anyone would be proud owning one. i've played with this paddle a fair amount and loved it although i can't imagine spending that much on a paddle at this point in my life. i'm learning to carve out wooden GPs. of course the first one that i made isn't the greatest but it works on the water! storm paddle is next for me.

I have a Perception Sonoma 13.5 and was thinking about the length of the storm paddle. Would it be small enough to fit on this small boat as a spare? I'm 5'8" so I'm not exactly sure how long the paddle is going to be. I figure I'm just going to use my current GP's length and take out the loom with the exception of two fist lengths. That still seems like it will be fairly long. What do you guys think?