Just bought a finished Pygmy Osprey at a great price. Most of our paddling is on calm NW lakes with an occasional foray on the Pacific. I have an array of 'glass and aluminum and paddles but would like an opinion on the Greenland style paddles out there. Thanks for your input.
Enjoy the Osprey
The Pygmys are great kayaks.
I’m not sure exactly what your question is about Greenland style paddles however I do recommend that you give them a try. I started migrating towards a GP about 6 years ago and pretty much only use a GP these days. Paddles are a personal thing and different folks have different needs and use cases. For a first time user, the various differences in design, shape, and materials may not be noticeable. Getting a feel for these differences tends to come over time. The stroke used with a GP is somewhat different than the that for a Euro paddle although it has some similarities to that used with a wing paddle. Many people find that the paddle seems to flutter when they first try a GP. For me the answer was to pay attention to paddle position and angle as well as to the “shape” of the stroke. There are those that can do a much better job of words describing the stroke like Greg Stammer. For me it is/was more about the feel than about thinking.
Anyway, give a GP a try - see if you can paddle with folks that use one. Some of us, myself included, tend to offer our paddle for a try at the slightest indication of interest. I see that you are from Oregon. Don Beale is in the Portland area and makes wonderful paddles and also teaches paddle making classes. My latest GP was made in a class the he facilitated and it is great.
Aleut paddle too
Consider the paddle that was created for the waters of the NorthWest: the Aleut or Aleutian Paddle. Well worth your trying. Longer than GPs, narrower than EPs, but light and very versatile. It was designed for long distance sustained paddling even into the wind, and it will perform well in all conditions. Also, they don’t flutter, like GPs can do. Just an all around beautiful piece that your paddling friends will envy as you might come to love them.
Asked a similar question
earlier this year. I love my Werner Cyprus but wanted to try a GP as I fractured my shoulder late November and was having some residual muscle soreness.
Lumpy Paddles were highly recommended so I visited his site: http://www.lumpypaddles.com/index.php?page=about
I had checked out GPs in my own state, but Bill was the only one who asked a lot of questions and wanted me to take various measurements. He’s extremely thorough and a delightful guy.
He does have a waiting list, but the wait is worth it as I now have a beautiful Western Red Cedar GP which fits me and my boat.
My carbon Werner weighs 23.25 ounces; my Lumpy, 25.70 ounces. Bill also carved the paddle so that when I hold it, it’s in a canted position (http://www.qajaqusa.org/Technique/Strokes.html)
I’m a rank beginner with Greenland, but the one thing I have noticed is that my GP invites distance.
Enjoy the journey.
Great reply. We'll be heading to Portland area next week to check out your suggestion. Hoping Mr. Beale will let me demo one.
Greenland paddle making and using
I made a Greenland paddle and have been using it for about a year. I quite like it. The stroke is slightly different for a typical Euro blade paddle. The elbows are often kept closer to the body, the front reach not as far, and a little longer in the water at the rear.
The top/front edge of the blade is canted forward when entering the water somewhat like a spear. I love holding the wood. I have two bent shaft high-angle Werner carbon paddles that are getting dusty.
There are excellent instructions on the web about making your own. I only caution most people seem to agree it says to determine the paddle length a little on the short side. I made mine about 4" longer overall. The instruction from Chuck Holst is here:
A video of Matt Johnson making one from these instructions is here:
The best short description of developing a Greenland style paddle technique is here:
On Friday I handed a Greenland paddle to a friend who had never used one. He proceeded to paddle 15 miles with it with no problem whatsoever. I like these:
I have a Lumpy and I love it. It is custom made for me and it fits me like a glove.