I think I want greenland paddles...

GP “Midget” Responding…
Before I got into short boats and then the boogie surf boat, I often chased nor’easters to with the S&G and GP. Short runs and long sidesurfs (if one really wants call that “surfing” :wink: ) were the order of the day. There is no problem low/high bracing with the GP. The bigger the wave, the more power of the lift. The trick is you really should NOT lean out. Rather you do a “J” lean and edge the boat. I watch lots of folks leaning way out over the wave, even with Euros, and falling over when the force of the wave passes. The only time to lean way out is when you’re getting pushed at a good clip into shallow water near shoreline. You may hit something, come to an abrupt stop and flip over to the shore side (it’s like stepping on a brake really fast). Leaning way out here is okay because when the energy dissipates, you end up bracing against the bottom. That’s a very solid brace.


I hate my GP
It has relegated my AT, Lightning, and Werner to “spare” status. Could have saved a bunch of money if I had started with a GP.


Thanks Sing
and any time I am going over 7 knots in a kayak I am surfing. If may not be graceful but…

Two words
>Could have saved a bunch of money if I had started with a GP.<

Sell them.

As a rule, when one is picking up a new activity, there will always be some transitional (aka “beginer”) stuff that one doesn’t need after a while. Ski, tennis rackets, mountain bikes, you name it. Kayaking is the one sport that used stuff sell for good money. Ever try to get anything for your 5 year old “learner” ski? You’ll be lucky to get 25% of value. But a 5 year old kayak or paddle can easily fetch more than 1/2 the original purchase price. That’s a pretty good situation!

I keep trying…
…to sell off the euros, 3 gone so far, but every time I move some out more seem to show up!

I had it down to Kim’s 210 Waterstick (eBay!), and a plastic POS that we got free with a boat (would cost more to ship than it’s worth - think I’ll just give it to my landlord’s kids). Then I got another with the Pintail deal. At least it has long thin blades. Still in the trunk. Maybe I should see get it out and see what it is, how long, and if it’s in the sell or donate category.

With Kim’s interest now sparked about rolling (I guess seeing is believing) - she’s already convinced GP is the way to go there - a total GP conversion may not be far off. Then I can be euro free - unless I get a surf boat!

Extend the paddle…
…and you braces will feel just as solid as with a Euro. You just need to get more of the blade into the water. All you do is let the paddle slide through your inboard hand (actually, you pull it through with your outboard hand). There’s no need to change your outboard hand position and you can get back to the normal paddling position in and instant.

One of my favorite tricks…
…to avoid side surfing is to plant the paddle on the backside of the wave, lean way into it and let it pass underneath. I end up being pretty stretched out and nearly horizontal, which probably isn’t the safest thing to do for myr shoulders, but it allows me a lot of room to pull the boat back under me once the wave has passed. It’s actually not very strenuous, since you’re not fighting the wave. I’ve done it on a 6+ footer once, but haven’t encountered any similar situations since. I’ve done it a lot in smaller waves when I don’t feel like side surfing into the beach.

Well, they make sense with the Nordkapp
I took a brief class with Doug van Doren at the Southwest Sea Kayak Symposium on Saturday. It was pretty much centered on the forward stroke with a GP, but I found I was able to turn my Nordkapp in a much tighter radius with a GP than with my other blades. Anyone have one to sell?

Yeah really.
I’ve got $700 worth of 'glass and carbon paddles gathering dust while I waggle a ten dollar two-by-four…

Side note
Van Doren teaches a different “style” of Greenland padling than the Greenlanders use. Works great for him, but I prefer the grip (and loom sizing) as taught by the Greenlanders (thumb & forefinger on loom, rest of hand on the blade roots), the way it makes cant a natural part of the stroke, and their more open approach to stroke angles, etc.

Van Doren says he teaches
a traditional style. Seemed to work for me. Not sure what Inuit, Eskimo or other artic cultures that used double blades used. I did hear the Oompaloomps on the island of Attu used to used to line the outer gunwales with foreskins obtained during the Bris. When they would be in trouble at sea, they would rub them and have instant sponsons.

Nothing traditional about it
He developed that technique in a vacuum and proclaimed it to be the “one true way”. It’s a bunch of bull.

When a certain well known Greenland-style paddler went to Greenland for the first time, the Greenlander who offered to coach him prior to competition took one look at his stroke and said “what is that?”. No one in Greenland paddles the style that Doug VanDoren teaches. When he saw video of Greenlanders, he had the audacity to remark “Obviously, they’ve forgotten how to paddle and have adopted Euro technique.” I don’t know the man, but remarks like this don’t give me a lot of faith in anything he says.

I’ve used his technique and occasionally do as a change of pace. I does move a kayak OK, but it’s nothing special and it’s not “Greenland” technique.

… and you’ll miss out on…
…the true magic of a Greenland stick - in my humble opinion after about a year/500 miles paddling a GP.

Anyone really interested in GPs should hang out on QajaqUSA.org and get the info from more direct links. No dogma - just many useful tips/techniques.

On a related note - some commercial paddle makers make their “GPs” sized for Van Doren style. Extra long looms and sometimes overly hard shoulders. Just as Brian called the Midwest, hands on loom/low & slow, style BS (thanks Brian, I was trying to be polite - a rare thing for me here) - I consider paddles made for that style to not be true GPs. They are more like narrow double bladed canoe paddles. It takes more than narrow blades to make a decent GP (not talking quality - but design/function). All those subtle shape changes over the paddle (look at the Holst plans as a basic guide) and the hand placement on the blade roots have purposes. These most definitely have not been forgotten by the Greenlanders.

I spend the winter pool sessions

– Last Updated: Oct-04-04 9:19 PM EST –

with Doug but I've never actually paddled with him. I don't care what his philosophy is. I've learned a lot from just watching him, even if his techniques vary from "traditional" he is very smooth.

I don't use his forward technique and I hope the "midwest style" label doesn't stick.

I also think if people get too carried away with "this is the correct technique" crap we'll end up with some sort of BCU "Greenland paddlers box" bullshit. My belief is that canted is the way to go, but after that you do what works for you.

The beauty of the GP is that no two are the same (that is if you make them yourself). I have many and all of them work with a sligthly different stroke. The paddle will adjust your technique. The first time I used a Betsy Bay I ended up doing a Doug style stroke. I couldn't help it.

Well, I got my interest piqued

– Last Updated: Oct-04-04 11:54 PM EST –

and in retrospect, I guess traditional Greenlanders did not roll with a bowling ball. I was pretty impressed watching Doug doing the rolls. I thought I was watching the genuine thing. I feel pretty let down now, even more so than when I found the lady doing the banana show was actually using plantains. I would like to try "genuine Greenland technique" and pick out what works best for me.

No doubt he’s a great paddler
certainly far better than I, but regardless, I don’t subscribe to his methods - and find them limiting and distorting the equipment to suit a single variation of forward stroke technique.

Rather than worrying about the “Midwest” label sticking - think about how many have the mistaken idea that GP’s are to be used with a low angle and slow stroke. This is a common misconception that I attribute to Van Doren’s video, articles, and his followers. A “Midwest” style label at least makes a distinction that his is but one interpretation - and not one the Greenlanders consider Greenland style paddling.

Funny you should mention BBK paddles - they are one of those I was talking about that are made for that style. Excellent boats, love to try - but would skip the (nicely made) paddles because of this. People should know about the differences so they know what they are buying. All GPs are not the same.

You will find the ideas of the Greenlanders, and people on QajaqUSA, anything but dogmatic. They are very careful not identify a specific forward stroke (as Van Doren has) -but they do generally agree that hands do not go fully on the loom for forward strokes (but go all over for other strokes) and don’t paddle with perpendicular blades.

For forward stroke, Van Doren is using the GP like an unfeathered euro used at only low angle. A GP is not a thin bladed euro paddle. A GP loom is not like a euro shaft. Get one sized suitable for Greenland grip, canted blade angle, and any shaft angle or stroke variation (including wing stroke) and give it a go. Takes a little more to get the feel than just paddling with a shovel, but once you do…

I was in the same class with Chuck
and I was certainly no expert with a GP before (I’m still not), but I have been using one on and off for the last 6 - 7 months.

I had been using a canted catch prior to this class and I mentioned to Doug, that I really didn’t feel I had enough acceleration to punch through breaking surf.

As the class progressed, Doug had me change a couple of things and all of a sudden my boat seemed to leap forward.

It may not be tradional, but it certainly improved what I had been doing before.

BTW, Chuck is way too modest. He keeps saying he is a “beginner paddler” WRONG!!! He handles his boat quite well and I enjoyed paddling with him and the rest of the P.Net Northern CA-NV contingent.

My ranting is ONLY on the forward stroke element. I’d certainly love to see him in action. The rest is likely as traditional as can be.

Definitely try both. Biggest differnce is more neutral open grip, pretty much automatic cant, and more difference is feel from a euro - so more old habits to unlearn.

BTW - Greenlanders use large rocks instead of bowling balls. No cheater finger holes.

Digging deep with a gp
Last year when enquiring about the ability to get going in a hurry with a gp, bnystrom told me it would not be a problem. Looking at the scant blade widths, I was dubious. Last Saturday, after a month of getting used to a Greenland stick, I towed a blind paddler up a tide race, under a narrow bridge, with no rudder, using a GP. Once again, I am impressed.

It doesn’t matter to me how one paddles.

– Last Updated: Oct-05-04 5:11 PM EST –

By all means, people should use the gear and techniques that work best for them.

What I object to is an American unilaterally deciding what "Greenland technique" is, to the exclusion of the techniques that are actually used in Greenland. It shows a complete lack of respect for their culture and traditions. They know what they're doing and they know where it came from.

I've seen footage of Doug paddling and you're correct that he's smooth. His technique works for him and the style of paddle he prefers. As you say, he may well be a great teacher, too. However, neither his technique nor his paddle design is what Greenlanders use, either currently or historically, and there's ample evidence of that. He has no right to claim otherwise.