Maine guide grip

I don’t even know if that is the correct terminology, but I’m trying to find information about the use of knuckles up grip on a canoe paddle similar to a kayak paddle.

Anybody, have any details, links, videos or whatever related to this topic?

Gap in my knowledge?

– Last Updated: Oct-07-08 8:56 PM EST –


Looks like I have something new to learn also.

Here is a link I found.

thanks for the link. Don’t quite understand it, but maybe I can attempt and see it if I can figure it out.

I saw that picture somewhere else, and that’s what prompted my question.

Here is a paddle made for it

Look at the “Algonquin Guide.”

The stroke is easy enough.
Its just what we’ve always called the “indian” stroke, because we never knew a name for it.

Do a forward stroke, but do not take the paddle out of the water. Turn the blade 90 degrees and return it to the beginning of the forward stroke. Repeat.

The difference seems to be only in the grip. I’ll have to give it a try.

I imagine that someone found it was easier to paddle, for long periods of time, using this technique.

I’ve found a bunch of forums…
and there doesn’t seem to be a consensus of terms or exactly how the technique is done.

Some consistent features seem to be what you describe. I’ll have to give it a shot.

Uh Uh…the Northwoods Stroke is
NOT easy…it takes some effort to master.

Thats whats in the Red River Canoe link.

Its NOT the same as the “Indian Stroke” which is simply an inwater recovery of a standard J. Thats accomplished with a palm roll (which is not a breakfast goodie)

The Northwoods Stroke is related to the Canadian Stroke but at a much faster cadence and can be powered by the whole body bobbing forward on the power phase.

Both Northwoods and Canadian Strokes are two part strokes…first part is power and correction is done during the recovery.

Your standard J stroke is a three phase stroke: power, correction and recovery are all distinct.

The key of the Northwoods is the blade angle during recovery that does the correction.

Heavy, long paddle
I have a paddle with a ‘Northwoods’ style grip. It’s 66" long, made of ash, with an 8" wide beavertail blade and really nicely crafted. I’ve never weighed it, but it ain’t a lightweight. I use it in the stern when tripping on flat water, mostly kneeling, occasionally standing. I like it for the versatility it affords in grip/stroke options and it’s big enough to offer some oomph, if needed. I can dig why the guides of old preferred the design. Really, it’s kind of a utilitarian log, but I’ve shared a lot of miles with it and I’d miss the bruiser if I ever lost it.

Variable grips are what they are called

– Last Updated: Oct-08-08 11:52 AM EST –

and while the above poster is referring to a Maine Guide Paddle, that sort of grip can be found on more conventional paddles of other shapes, mostly ottertail. I have a sweet little ottertail by Turtle Paddle, 29 inch long blade, 26 inch shaft with a variable grip.

Maine Guide Paddles are long and heavy for a reason. They are designed for standing where you need that extra length as in scouting to find out just where that water went. The variable grip allows the sternsperson to then sit and paddle with a shortened grip (hence the name "variable grip").