Low angle paddle?

I am a new kayaker. I have a nerve condition that causes the act of raising my left arm to cramp up the muscle in the outside of my shoulder.

I am currently using an Aquabound Sting Ray, 220 cm, fiberglass shaft paddle in my older model Impex Susquehanna, which is 22.5" wide.

Can anyone reccomend a reasonably priced (new or used) light paddle of about the same length, (unless my condition suggests a different length is needed) that would not require me to raise my left arm very high to get a good stroke?


Bob Cowgill

Cocoa, Florida


Greenland Paddle
Make your own or check out http://www.bealepaddles.com

I have a couple of his paddles. They are light and lively.

GP’s are very easy on the shoulders, so I imagine that their low angle would be of benefit.


happy GP’er for two seasons now

Yup…a GP is the way to go!
I have had arthritic shoulder(issues) and wrist (carpal tunnel)issues. Once I started using a GP I NEVER went back. Interstingly, I recently paddled when visiting San Diego…used a Euro paddle and ended up with some shoulder discomfort.

You can build your own GP…or look at a number of sources. I haven’t paddled with Don Beale’s but I understand from everyone it is a phenomenal paddle. BTW>…I paddle an older model of your boat…a Diamante and the GP works out great…



Low angle paddles

– Last Updated: Oct-19-05 5:20 PM EST –

Low angle paddles need to be longer for a given boat. The lower the boat sits in the water, the shorter the paddle needs to be for a given paddling angle.

For example, one could use a 230cm paddle at a lower angle than a 220cm paddle. A longer paddle is a longer lever, so there's more torque force, which is why one does not want a really long paddle. A larger blade tends to mean larger force. So one way to compensate for a longer paddle is to use a smaller blade.

What might work for you in that boat is a greenland stick that is a bit longer than normal. A "normal" sized greenland stick is designed for a greenland boat that sits lower in the water than your boat does.

A nice greenland paddle should cost you about $150-200. Or, if you make it yourself, about $20 and some time.

GP - less lifting required
I justed wanted to add my 2 cents that Greenland paddles (GP) are easier on my shoulders. I used a carbon Camano for years and found that a GP eliminated shoulder strain on long trips, when I switched a number of years ago. Your milage may vary.

But this is not because they are “low angle” paddles. A GP works great held vertical too. With a GP you don’t need to lift your arms very much per stroke, as compared with a “Euro” paddle. During a stroke torso rotation drives the paddle, your elbows remain pointing downwards and you only need to raise your forearms. You eliminate the “big ovals” that your elbows trace in the air with some equipment/techniques and that means less lifting (which adds up stroke after stroke).

This keeps your hands fairly low, at about shoulder level with a “low angle” stroke and about ear level with a high vertical stroke. How is this possible? Since your hands are closer together with a GP you can let the paddle blades rise high and vertical (useful for sprinting and acceleration) while still keeping your hands and arms fairly low.

Greg Stamer

Buoyancy and balance also…
… reduces lifting effort with GP.

Mine pushes back slightly mid-stroke and litterally jumps out at release. Already has momentum toward catch.

The GP’s weight is also distributed more evenly along the length - not mostly at the ends. This gives more of a rolling turnover feel that a lift and plant.

These are not huge difference - more subtle - but it all adds up over time/distance.

Greenland paddle
Looks like the Peanut Gallery is in agreement on the Greenland paddle as the best thing for my bad shoulder situation.

Thanks to all, and I’ll try to get one of these gadgets, or possibly make my own.


We are a cult
We’ve been brainwashed by Maliq Padilla and his brethren.


new convert
I am a new convert to the GP cult. ncredible piece of equipment.


One more option
And the only thing that keeps me from being a GP cultist is the Windswift paddle by Eddyline. It is always my first choice paddle for long distance ( 15+) miles and especially crossings.

“Welcome to the Dark Side”…


“Paddle Softly and Carry a Narrow Stick”…

Actually, it’s not a cult, although appearances can be deceiving since we are a small and vocal group who often dress in black, hooded garments and utter strange, gutteral words such as “norsaq” to describe things like a “throwing stick” and so on.

But what could be wrong with a group that would rather make an excellent paddle for $30.00 than pay $300.00+?

I say the “mainstream” is the real cult! ;^)

Greg Stamer

I don’t have any experience
with a GP (yet), but ditto on the windswifts. I love those paddles for touring.

GPs forever!
I had switched to a GP back in 2000 after my Dad got me to try one of his while out paddling on Lake Superior. I’ve since sold my carbon Euro paddles and my Wing paddles.

The last GP I made cost me less than $20 Canadian. I’m picking up some more wood in a few days for the next batch.

Cheers…Joe O’