New paddler - Which style of paddle

should I learn to paddle with - Greenland or the European(?) style?

The reason I’m asking is I came across a great article (link below) on how to make a Greenland paddle very inexpensively. Because I’ve decided to purchase a more expensive boat (Necky Chatham 17), getting into the water as soon as possible means saving as much as possible.

It’s a well written PDF about 3/4 the way down the page…

I’m mainly concerned with safety, but am looking for any thoughts.


I can’t see why a GP would be any less safe than a euro paddle. Most GP fans would tell you that it’s much easier to brace and roll with a GP.

I’ve made a couple of paddles from those plans and I’m working on a third. If you enjoy the process(and keep your tools sharp), it’s very satisfying.

hey Todd

– Last Updated: May-24-05 12:21 PM EST –

I think a Greenland paddle would be a great paddle for you if you are handy with wood. I have made two (badly) and am thinking about making another one soon as well. Obviously the one I was using at the demo was a professionally made paddle and not one of my creations. If it's a matter of getting you out on the water, you can a) borrow one of my Euro paddles until I can find a buyer for it, b) have my first greenland paddle (really crappy looking but paddles fine) for free, or c) make your own greenland paddle. Although I think there's is value in learning to use both styles of paddles, neither is safer than the other. With that said, paddle floats are generally made only for Euro paddles.

Also, know that your kayaking class will be teaching you techniques using a Euro paddle.

I’m not that much of a woodworker but
the instructions look simple enough and it looks like rain all weekend.

I’ll email you about the paddles. Thanks for the offers.

I figured the class would be teaching with a Euro paddle which doesn’t worry me as long as I learn good basics.

New paddler - Which style of paddle
Todd, If you choose to go euro, I’d recommend learning unfeathered. It will make the GP transition easier. Also, all those fancy Greenland rolls are also do-able with an unfeathered euro.

I think greenland technique is less
intuitive but very rewarding. Go for it. find a teacher if you can or come to boston and hunt the honored walden pond scum.

…or wait for them to come to us!
I’m hoping to attend the Michigan Training Camp this year and I can’t wait to meet Greg, Cheri, and all the Pond Scum guys!

Learning to paddle with both types of paddles will enhance your paddling skills. You can make a good greenland paddle from the link you have. There is proper technique involved with both styles to get the most out of them, so getting competent instructions for each is important. I use the greenland paddle exclusively now and my euro paddle collects dust. Extending a greenland paddle offers you great leverage for bracing, skulling and rolling. It is the paddle I feel safest with in all conditions.

If you decide to build a greenland paddle try to find a lightweight cedar board that is clear of knots. The paddle will be easier to carve if the board is quartersawn.

Either one works fine
While I paddle with GPs exclusively now, I started with a Euro and have no regrets about it. Learning with a GP might be a bit easier, since blade orietation is more automatic and the paddle is competely symmetric, but you could say the same for a Euro paddle like Derek Hutchinson’s Toksook. I suggest you do whatever seems most interesting to you. Afterall, it’s really about having fun.

As a former C-1 paddler
and having started kayaking with a Euro blade, I feel that GP’s are more of a natural progression from a single-bladed paddle to a double blade. Extended braces feel almost the same with each, and keeping track of the blade angle is simpler with a GP. I wish I had started my K career with a GP