Skinny Stick paddles

I am in the market for a new paddle. I recently had back surgery and am looking for something that puts less stress on the body. I see many locals paddling with what some call a “skinny stick” - looks like a piece of 2x4. Amazingly, they make good time with the appearance of very little effort.

What are the advantages / disadvantages of this type of paddle?

Would you recommend this over something like Werner Kaliste or Ikelos?

Skinny on the skinny!
I think you are referring to a GP or Greenland Paddle. They certainly do reduce stress on the muscles if that’s you’re goal. On the other hand there is another option: a low surface area euro paddle: the Eddyline or Swift Windswift is my favorite.

I Don’t Think I’d Ever Go Back to Euro

– Last Updated: Feb-06-08 7:14 PM EST –


I find the GP much easier to scull and roll with. Less dragging and diving in the water.

On windy days I never seem to have the wind try to snatch the paddle out of my hand like with a Euro.

A re-enter and roll is easy. You don't have to think about which end is which or where the power face is.

They're inexpensive.


They're more delicate. I won't push off the bottom with my GP like I did with my Euro.

Most don't break down into two halves... a little harder to find space for.

Epic Relaxed Tour & AT XceptionSL Tour
are easier on the body than the Kalliste. I own them all.

I’ve never used a greenland paddl (skinny stick).

More delicate?
I would not say GPs are more delicate, it’s the material they are made of that is delicate or not.

I do not have a problem pushing off the bottom when I use my carbon fiber GP but I wouldn’t do it using the wood one. Same exact thing for euro paddles.

My GPs Are Wood
Not as stout as my Werners.

Skinny Paddle vs. Skinny Boat
Another alternative to a skinny paddle is to get a skinny boat. I’m not saying this alternative is for everybody, but its a direction that some have discovered.

I think it was Newton who said, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. So, when folks say they are more comfortable with the easy pull of a low area paddle, they are in effect saying they are not comfortable with their kayak’s drag at a normal stroke rate. Something has to give to meet the paddler’s need for an easier paddling experience.

Certainly the cheapest and easiest way to ease loads on the paddler is to simply paddle at a slower stroke rate. This will result in a slower boat speed with less drag that is equal to your comfort level. Switching to a paddle with less area will allow you to maintain a higher stroke rate while holding the same slower comfortable boat speed. Actually you may use a little more energy to get the same boat speed because there is some loss of power due to the smaller blade slipping through the water more.

However, selecting a lower drag kayak is a much more efficient solution because the reduced effort is achieved by the kayak slipping forward rather than a paddle slipping backwards.

The paddlers who have progressed into skinnier boats tend to go for larger area or wing paddles which slip through the water very little if at all. Their slipping clutch is the boat itself, not the paddle. Its a solution that results in less wasted energy and more boat speed.

A low area paddle may be more comfortable for you. It may lead to a paddling style, low-angle perhaps, that you may prefer. However, anyone who says you will have more boat speed and use less energy with a lower area paddle has some explaining to do. Last time I checked the laws of physics still apply to paddling. The only way to use less energy and gain boatspeed is to switch to a lower drag kayak.

Once again, I am not saying this alternative will work for everybody. You have to be skilled enough to handle a boat with less stability. You will also have a preference toward having your energy result in more progress, not less.


– Last Updated: Feb-06-08 6:26 PM EST –

I "push off" all the time with my GP, no damage yet after two years of paddling 3-4 times a week. If you were really worried about strength, make one from spruce (the stuff they make airplane wing spars from)
PS; I have an Ikelos that I never use since I got my GP.

I use both Greenland and "Euro"
paddles. I also find the Windswift is my favorite paddle, with the Greenland Paddles and a small bladed wooden Cricket close behind. Those big bladed “touring” paddles are usually way too long at 220cm, but pretty efficient in sub 200cm lengths.

Go to search
search under “greenland paddle”

Read until you’re blue in the face.

I have twice in the past few months had to repair damage to one of my GPs. I loaned it out to folks at the pool sessions and they made significant contact with the bottom.

Cedar paddle = relatively fragile.

I Don’t Think I’d Ever Go Back to Euro

– Last Updated: Feb-07-08 5:56 PM EST –

but my back is pretty healthy. I have no idea if a GP would be better for your back than a Euro. They aren't expensive. It wouldn't be a huge risk to try one out.

My cedar GP is two years old and I do not baby it.

I regularly push off with it, use it in rock gardens and just generally abuse it. Every few months I sand the tips smooth and round again, re-coat with tung oil and go.

the damn things get ragged on the ends and need sanding and a tung oil touch up. yer average werner needs no such fixing.

More delicate?
Mine launched off the roof (mind fart) at over 60mph, saw it bounce on end and cartwheel behind me, and slid some distance further. Little touch-up w/some resin to the dings and I was off again. I use a Betsy Bay Greenlander most of the time and regularly beat on my Betsy Bay Graphlite w/little damage. Push off plenty.


Pacific Designs - T1?
I recently bought a Pacific Designs paddle, a T1 - it’s not a “skinny stick”, but the blades are significantly more narrow than most paddles I’ve looked at.

2 pc GP ??

– Last Updated: Feb-07-08 5:38 PM EST –

Hi all.....been following this thread and googling these paddles. so far all i have found is Tuktu paddles and Chesapeake Light Boat sells a wooden "Longbow" GP/with carbon ferrule @ $275, 3rd outfit i found is Superior Kayak Inc.and has all carbon fiber GP's @ $475 for a 2pc. and $425 for a 1pc carbon GP does anyone know of others ? thanx
PS: I've learned that apparently there's such a thing as "shouldered" and " non-shouldered" GP paddles.

I would not argue that a GP is better than a Euro for speed in a short race but as the distances get longer would a low surface area paddle possibly be better more suited to maintaining a decent pace over a long period of time?

2 piece feathercraft
But the shoulder isn’t very comfortable, almost

kinda cuts into your hand.