Greenland Paddles

Can someone tell me more about these paddles?

Are they suitable for a complete novice? Are they suitable with a boat like the impex Assateague?

Love 'Em
Wish someone had introduced me to the Greenland sooner. I wouldn’t have wasted good money on those Euros. Yes, they are absolutely a good thing to start kayaking with. If the Assateague is a long, lean kayak a Greenland paddle will work fine. You can get a custom made GP for a very reasonable price.

I like yhe gp and dont have a boat it is well suited for Necky Arluk IV. I made my paddle from a spruce 2x4 probaby have around 12 bucks total in it. I would try other paddles given a chance but mine seems to work well.

Check this out
Read up on them at lots of articles on how to use them.

It’s all I use
I started with a Greenland paddle and got my girlfriend a Euro. I’ve tried hers and didn’t care for it so now the only one I use is my GP. For me it gives me the same power and it feels more comfortable. It you can, borrow one. If you have the time, build one. There are plenty of plans on the net if you surf around a little.

GPs are cult classics, with no
place in the modern sea kayaking world :slight_smile:

Well, …
If these were so great, why would not everyone use them???

I think it depends on how/what/where one paddles.

Being a novice and not having tried them - do not immediatley jump happy at me here -:wink: - I simply do not know one way or another. So I’m writing here just to see why are they better.

Have not yet seen a good explanation as to why a Euro is worse either, except for probably cost of the better ones.

I can see GP being useful for a typically low angle high distance paddler. But longer paddles all else being equal, have bigger swing weight for instance so I immediately see one negative (simple physics of momemntum and levers). I see positives as well, for instance for a longer lever for some types of rolling.

On cost/weight, I’m not convinced a $12 2x4 home-made GP (not picking on the specific poster!) will be light enough to compete over a long distance with a lightweit paddle of either style that would cost a lot more. So cost for a good paddle is again not an issue IMO as heavy but good euro paddles exist too…

Open to hear the “why” about it -:wink: and will probably try a GP if I can find one to borrow locally. You guys got me intrigued enough already!

wrong wrong wrong
A GP can be used at any angle. the concept of it being a low angle paddling technique is wrong.

Strongly suggest you study up on them. Lots of good info on as well as on some of the individual builders web sites such as Bill Bremmers Lumpy paddles, don Beale’s paddles, as well as a bunch of others. or you could make your own but I would strongly suggest you try out a bunch before making your own.

It is a 10000 year old design and concept. it was designed to get the hunter back home safely, providing inherent buoyancy in itself, easier to roll due to the buoyancy and the fact that you can utilize every part of the paddle to grasp so it is really easy to extend it out for maximum sweep and support, etc etc etc.

I have used some really good euro paddles so I can’t knock them completely, but there is no question that the GP is a solid choice for anyone. A GP will cause less stress on your joints.

I am sure others will chime in with their opinions too.


I heard that
they make a great paddle for a butter churn!



Greenland Paddles
Kayaks went essentially unnoticed until about the '70s, when white-water paddling became of interest. The euro paddle evolved from the needs of the white-water people. The Greenland style had been around to about 1000 years, but was of little use to the white water kayaker.

It’s hard to argue what’s “best”, because there are world class paddlers that use both types for sea kayaks. In my opinion, either works fine as long as you figure out how to use the one that you own.

That being said, I find that the GL paddle is:

Easier to roll with, less wind resistance (feathering the paddle is not necessary), less wrist rotation required, has 4 power faces, not just 2.

If you try a GL paddle, you will hate it for the first few hours. It just doesn’t “feel right”. after staying with it for a few hour paddle, it tends to become your new best friend. The biggest problem I found was that once I found out how I liked the paddle, I had to purchase another for a spare. Also: You can make one for about $10

Not better or worse

– Last Updated: May-30-08 1:00 PM EST –

Greenland paddles do some things better than Euro paddles, and vice versa. Like boats, it's more a matter of matching the tool with the task and your preferences.

If you defined "best" by racing performance, we'd all be using wing paddles.

I carry a Euro and a Greenland paddle on my touring boat and switch as the mood strikes me.

A Greenland storm paddle on the foredeck makes a great spare -- it's very easy to grab and roll up if I lose my paddle in a capsize.

Deja Vu?

so easy and inexpensive…
to make, it’s silly not to have one (or two or three…).

  1. Lots of stuff out there to read up on. Go simple.
  2. Choose western red cedar, for starts:

    a. weighs nothing and looks good

    b. reasonably cheap and easy to get a good (knot free) stick

    c. does well with water (won’t rot or warp or twist)

    d. provides great texture for hand contact
  3. If your into cycling (hope so), think of it as going from grinding in the big chain-ring (Euro) to spinning in the small chain-ring (Greenland). It’s more reps at a higher cadence, but with considerably less pressure, meaning less overall muscle fatigue on the chest/shoulders/arms.
  4. If your boat tracks loosely and you use your paddle as the rudder often, you’ll find the GP provides better control.
  5. GP looks much prettier and more graceful than a the Euro.

    You’ll find pro’s and con’s w/ both styles. Often it will be simply a matter of what you’re in the mood for. It’s just nice knowing you have an option. You can easily knock one out w/ very simple tools on a rainy Saturday morning. Be glad to offer more advice for carving if needed/desired.


Stirred up some responses!
Awesome Stuff, thanks for everyones input. I think for me it is a good option - i am not looking for speed or high end performance - mostly out for solo camping trips - so its my pace! and God Damn they look so good!

Really starting to think i can make one - but as a complete novice would probably go a pro first then base my own efforts off there.

But seems Australia has a lack of GP sellers, so maybe its off to the shed!

Cheers, keep the comments coming!

OK - who in the Wash. DC can lend me 1?
Intrigued enough to try. I suppose I can carve one and try it, but as the advice here stated a few times, best to try a “good” one than your first home-made one.

Anyone in the Washington DC area willing to meet-up, lend me their GP and paddle? I can lend them my Xception paddle, which by the way on the very first outing with it, forced me to apply several of the paddling techniques applicable to GP paddles that I read-up on today.

And a question, how do you deal with the wet hands over long distances? From my short paddling experience, I’ve found that my skin prefers the handle to be dry, and on most smooth waters this is usually the case for 90% of my paddle session. With a GP paddle it appears that my hands would be wet most of the time regardless of how calm the conditions are, wouldn’t they?

GP’s in the surf
How does the GP handle surfing waves etc?

For what most folks do
which is surfing wind waves in open water, they’re fine. For surfing a break along shore, they are OK.

Euros are a little better suited for shorebreak (IMO) that’s more than say chest high, because they bite the water a little faster, and allow you to catch waves slightly easier. That said, I’ve seen people surfing some big stuff with GP’s and do just fine.

It’s all what you’re comfortable with, and how good your technique is. Same as with any other paddle.

ahem…its a wet sport
hands dry kayaking? never heard of it.

With a GP, the paddle is constructed so that you can utilize the entire shaft. with a sliding stroke you would slide your hands down the loom and paddle blade almost like a one bladed paddle so that you provide less resistance to the wind. In rolling, sculling, and even doing static braces, you can use the entire paddle length.

Sorry, I guess I don’t understand the concept of paddling with dry hands.


there was an analogy once that I heard
describing a GP versus Euro blade as aircraft.

Euro = prop plane. Hit throttle and get instant response. However, not as efficient (both speed and distance as a jet) surf zone example good here as it does give you more instant bite.

GP = jet plane. Might be a three or four second lag from hitting the throttle to full speeed but once there, more efficient and cheaper (read less stress or energy consumed) for same distance.

I have a big honkin Werner Cory Wrecken 210cm paddle which I like to use in surf conditions sometimes. But really, for just getting through the surf and out into the open water give me a GP every time.


ps. not my analogy

Balance, from a GL fan
I like GPs, but do not recommend it for a beginner. With a euro blade, it is more obvious what to do with the paddle to get the boat to do different things. I find it easeir to roll with the euro blade.

GPs are poor in shallow water. You can bury most of your euro blade in 6 inches of water, but not much of the GP, and the GP gets sucked into the mud. So I think the euro is a bit more adaptable.

The way I was taught to use a GP, the stroke is more vertical than the euro stroke. My GP stroke isn’t practical in wider boats. So I’d only recommend the GP if you are in a boat that is 25" or less in beam. However, I see other posters refering to a horizontal GP stroke, so it seems like there are ways to use the paddle other than what I was taught. Again, it may be the way I was taught, but the GP is far wetter, too. My hands stay wet and I drip far more water in the cockpit or on the spray skirt.

The Greenlanders were pioneers in kayaking. The Europeans saw what they were doing and tried to improve on the GL designs. They didn’t make euros because they wanted worse paddles!

If you feather your paddle, you reverse the supposed wind argument, as the feathered euro has LESS wind resistance than the GP.

Well, there’s a million pro and con arguments and believers in both camps are ardent, so I am not going to make any converts here. I personally like, carry, and use both euro and GP on almost every trip. I like the variety.

It’s a nice dilemma you present, because whatever you choose, I think you will have fun. Stick with whichever you choose for a hundred hours or so. It takes time to adapt to a paddle.

Have fun and be safe,