Greenland style paddle for solo canoeing

Anyone use a greenland style paddle for solo canoing? Is this possible?

I have tried it with a 26 inch wide
(at the gunwales) solo. It forces me to learn the sliding stroke.

Local Greenland Canoer

– Last Updated: Dec-11-12 4:54 PM EST –

There is a local that uses one all the time. He chimes in on PNET on occasion. Ricknriver and his bride use them regularly.His canoe is a kevlar Wenonah Vagabond. He had the paddle made extra long to clear the gunnels. I think his paddle is in the ~95inch range. Paddle was made by Lumpy Paddles. He motors along quite well with it.

I’ve sold a lot of Greenland paddles to canoeists. the owner of Souris River Canoes, he uses one of my paddles in his solo canoe.

They work fine.

Cheers…Joe O’

using GPs in canoes
As mentioned above, a GP has to be longer than the usual sea kayak length to reach the water in a wider canoe.

Length should be planned with consideration of the boat width, paddler position (sitting on seat, kneeling or sitting on bottom pad-pack canoe) and last the height of paddler and are they long-waisted or short-waisted.

This sounds complex, but it’s actually simple: have paddler sit in canoe in the position they will be paddling it. Increase the paddle length until the blades are fully in the water while you are paddling-that’s your length for that canoe. A much wider or narrower canoe or a much taller or shorter paddler may require a different length.

If, after use, you decide you want a shorter or narrower paddle, use a saw or block plane to alter the one you have. For greater length make another. When you learn to make your own GP a longer or wider paddle can be made with 4 hours of time and $20-$40 of wood-not the $200-500 one has to spend for a different length Euro blade.

Beginners can find complete instructions for making a GP in the excellent pamphlet Brian Nystrom sells: “Greenland Paddles Step by Step”-google his name to find his website.


My paddling buddy tried my 8 ft. GP
on his Hemlock Kestrel canoe and did not like it at all. He felt it wasn’t long enough and was getting seriously wet.

Bring a bailer
GPs drip a lot. It’s gonna be a wet ride.

To my way of thinking, there’s no point in using a GP in a canoe, and the mechanics of the stroke will be all screwed up in a craft with the beam and higher paddling position of a canoe. The GP is my preferred blade for kayaking, but I wouldn’t consider using it in the canoe.

It may well be that I just don’t know don’t know the GP stroke. So perhaps I should rephrase: “to my way of paddling, there’s no point…”


Not all Native Craft
were narrow and several historical paddles were quite long. Maybe Greg Stammer can chime in on traditional paddles used with the wider forms of traditional kayaks and umiaks.


long GPs and Aleutian w Rapidfire
As the ladies say, length matters. I use longer GPs and Aleutian paddles in my Rapidfire, any other canoe I paddle and kayaks. A rebuilt shoulder prevents me from using single blades. I counseled a paddler with a 30" rec. kayak who was going to give up paddling because of shoulder issues. For the last 3 years he has been happily paddling with his extra long GP.

Paddle drip is a issue with GPs and to an lesser extent with the Aleutian paddles. In the Rapidfire I wear waterproof pants in cooler temps and place a sponge in front of the seat. Squeezing out the sponge every 20 minutes eliminates the water in the canoe. On warm days the paddle drip is refreshing.


traditional drip control?
I’ve yet to try it with my own GPs, but I’ve noticed that all the longer native-made kayak and baidarka paddles displayed “as collected” in the “Polar World” permanent exhibit in Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Museum of Natural History have strips of cotton rags wrapped around the shafts, in the position where modern paddles have drip rings. I’ve gotta think it was for drip control.

I don’t know why you are getting wet
Dave. The Aleut paddle you made for me does not rain on me in my RapidFire.j

Aleut paddle drip
Hi Kim,

My Aleut paddle, which yours is based on, drips less than my GPs. However, sometimes it is a question of which direction the wind is coming from and how strong it is. Blowback! Stroke mechanics also matters as a long stroke tends to bring the other paddle tip over the gunnels facilitating some drip.

Those Aleutian paddles sure are awesome with the Rapidfire, paddle drip or not.


Thanks, guys, great info from everyone!