Greenland paddles

I’ve been wanting to experiment with one of these, but I’m going to have to purchase one in order to do so (no one I know has one to borrow, and no place nearby sells them). I’m willing to roll the dice and buy one sight unseen, but I’d like some advice on length. If I usually paddle 205cm on a Euro, what does this say about the correct GP length for me (if anything)? Longer/shorter/same?

And, beyond questions of length, what else should I be considering?

Just Call Bill
He’ll answer your questions and make you a fine paddle.

(no, i am not affiliated)

the paddle makers will help you
I bought my first one also sight unseen/unused and got great advice from the maker (who is unfortunately retired from the business so I can’t recommend his lovely paddles any more.) Besides length, the paddle makers will walk you through other choices like shouldered or un-shouldered, tip shape, loom width and diameter and even how different wood laminations affect the relative stiffness. i doubt you’ll be disappointed.

Just call bill
Greenland paddles are custom fit and Bill will take some measurements and talk with you and you will get a well fitted greenland paddle in the mail. Great guy. Great paddle.

If you want to go cheap and enjoy a project, there several books and websites telling you how to build your own. If you do any sort of woodwork it’s not hard to make a basic one. Several of my friends have made their own. It won’t be as nice as one made by someone who’s made a few hundred but you are out the price of a couple of 2x4’s and it’s a fun project.

Length is traditionally long enough to reach your fingers over the top of paddle with it on end and wide enough to grab the wide end of the blade.

Or Make One Yourself…
It ain’t rocket science - lots of plans online, very simple tools, an afternoon’s work. The second will be better than the first, the third perfect. I pay about $15 for a red cedar 8’x4" 5/4 deck board at Home Depot. Here’s a link to get you started…

As said Bill at Lumpy
His paddles just seem to grab the water better.

For a cheap paddle that handles nearly as good.

For a good description of fit and the qualities of woods, before you order. He also makes very good paddles.

You’ll enjoy your stick!


Thanks, all
for the tips.

I found it difficult to get dimensions that I liked and sold or returned two or three before finding dimensions that worked for me. The most important for me, by far, was loom length, as all recommendations were too narrow. Since you are already an experienced paddler, I suggest measuring the hand width on the paddle you currently use and choose that as a basis for loom length. Most greenland paddlers don’t agree with me on this.

With all respect -
I recommend you follow the advice of an experienced Greenland paddle maker as far as the dimensions. That is what I did. My paddle fits like a glove. I hate to see someone struggling with an ill fitted paddle when they are just getting started.

Without knowing the exact dimensions…
…of your paddle and body, I can’t say whether you’ve chosen the proper loom length or not. However, as a general rule, your hands will be farther apart on a Euro-style paddle than they will be on a properly fitting GP. Perhaps the issue you had is due to trying to use a GP with Euro-paddle technique? While one can certainly do that, there is a substantial difference in optimum technique for the two paddle designs.

One can make an excellent paddle…
…even on the first attempt. It takes some attention to detail, but it’s possible to make a paddle that’s as good as any production paddle. I’ve seen many production paddles that I wouldn’t want. Producing paddles quickly often means mechanizing the process and cutting corners to save time, which may result in a paddle that’s less customized and less finely shaped than can be accomplished if one has no time pressures. This is certainly not true of all commercial paddle builders, but it’s definitely true of some of them.

One of the reasons I chose an un-shouldered model for my first (cedar) GP was that I was uncertain about the loom size. Once I’d used it for a while I was able to determine what my optimal spacing was before I ordered a shouldered 3 piece CF GP I could travel with. Plus a wood GP can be modified – I got my first one 2" longer than recommended, figuring I could shave the tips if needed, but it worked fine at 84" so I’ve kept that length.

I had the opposite experience. When I followed the advice of an experienced paddle maker, the paddle did not fit and I did not like it. When I tried several paddles myself I was able to see what worked best for me.

general rules?
There are no general rules. A paddle, especially a gp, must fit the paddler/boat combination. I note that Maligiaq (sp?) uses a paddle with a 24 inch loom.

Greenland paddle advice
Joe O’Blenis at is a very passionate and knowledgable paddler and paddle maker. He once held the speed record for circumnavigation of Vancouver Island. Very friendly and helpful guy.

Hi Fred,

Where about are you located? I may have some paddles in your area. And as MORiverPaddler mentioned, feel free to contact me for advice. I’d be glad to help you out.

Cheers… Joe O’Blenis

Hey Randall
I’ve got a couple, maybe we can meet up somewhere and you can try one.

This is really generous and could actually work.

I still have your number
I’ll give you a call Friday once I figure out what all’s going on this weekend :slight_smile: