Spare greenland paddle? Storm or regular

I need to get a spare paddle–I paddle with a greenland paddle (a BBK graflite). For those of you who use greenland paddles, is your spare usually another standard length paddle, or a storm paddle? The storm would be easier to carry on the front deck, but I wonder if a paddle that’s very similar to my usual paddle would be safer in rough conditions (right now my spare is an old euro paddle, which isn’t ideal).

Thanks! I’m leaning toward getting a beale as a spare, since people speak so highly of those paddles.

get a regular GP…
unless you specifically want a storm. A full length GP fits pretty well on most kayaks with only a little overhang so might as well go with the paddle you’re going to be most comfortable with. I have a storm paddle and I absolutely love the sliding stroke but if I’m bringing it out, it’s usually my primary paddle. If I’m doing a big trip with potential for rougher conditions, I definitely bring a full size spare since that’s what I’m most comfortable bracing and surfing with.

Oh and the Beales are very different from the Betsie Bay paddles so you may have to learn a slightly different stroke and your hand positioning will be a bit different as well.

get a full size spare, and if you really like the bbk, get another one. i have a storm, but the regular gp is so friendly in wind i virutally never use it except for working on the transition from full paddle to norsaq rolls. if you get a beale, you’ll probably end up with another beale as they are very different paddles. many people think of bbk gp’s as a transition paddle somewhere between a Euro and a GP. if you can, borrow a more traditional gp, and that’ll help you make your choice.

Test run
Borrow a paddle (any kind) from someone and store your current full size paddle on deck and then take a test paddle in some waves. I thought my full size GP stored ok from just fitting it while ashore, but found out there was lots of bouncing and movement when trying to paddle with it stored. At least this might tell you how much changing of rigging you might need to do and that could help you decide on storm vs full size.


I used a storm paddle
for my spare paddle for a short time until I found out that I wasn’t comfortable with it in rough conditions. Now I carry a full size spare that I know will work fine for me in any condition.

Thanks for the input–it reinforces what I suspected, that storm paddles are useful in the right conditions, but perhaps not the best choice for a spare paddle.

I know the BBK paddles aren’t traditional greenland paddles. I have paddled with other, more traditional GPs, but have found them too heavy to be comfortable (they’ve been homemade ones). Part of why I want to get a more traditional paddle is to see which I prefer. Much as I I love my current paddle, I might love a traditional GP more , if it was lightweight (and then it’s possible that my BBK might become the spare).

The one piece western red cedar paddles are really quite light. I have one by Don Bealle and have paddled with a couple of others of that construction. The laminated ones have to be stronger (my laminated GP is a Superior Kayaks/Mark Rodgers), but there is definitely a weight penalty for that extra strength.


I’ve Been Thinking the Same Thing
My spare juts out too far and gets knocked around a lot when I punch into a wave. I think I’ll try a storm as a spare. I was also thinking about an epoxy layer on the ends. I’d use the storm when it gets shallow and there’s a lot of scraping the bottom.

If one is comfortable with a storm …

– Last Updated: Jul-30-07 4:45 PM EST –

...then wouldn't it be the ideal spare (except on the most treacherous waves, indeed). Smaller in size, and when the wind whips up, grab the "spare" and use the storm. Would seem to allow flexibility depending on wind conditions for those that like/believe in storms (I know, the Inuits did not).

Personally, I know the stormn is easier to stash on my deck than my 85 inch full size paddle (esp on my Avocet), but I sure dislike the way the storm gets me all wet.

Literally, like stroking my hand up the wet shaft and getting drenched when I play with that little bugger.

Hi Tiva
I was at your favorite roll practice place on Lake Superior this afternoon. Thought that I might see you there and talk about storm versus regular length paddles.

I brought a couple of each for you to try.

Alas…you were not there…I ended up helping a couple of friends of yours with their roll mechanics. (QCC Guys)

E-mail me back chanel if you would like to try them and we can meet. It might help with a decision.

Best Wishes


storm as a spare
A storm paddle makes a great spare but only if you practice with it to where you are completely comfortable with it in “interesting” conditions. You don’t want to be figuring out the sliding stroke in conditions that caused you to lose or break your primary paddle.

Storm paddles can certainly handle very violent conditions, if you are skilled in their use. Storm paddles were originally made for extremely windy conditions.

I often take a storm for a spare on a day trip. For long multi-day trips I usually take a full-size spare as I prefer not to use a full sliding stroke for days at a time. This is personal preference. Some people prefer a storm as their primary paddle.

Either a full-size spare or a storm are more usuable than a 2-piece spare that has to be assembled before use. While I practice rolling with half of a 2-piece, I’d rather not have to assemble a 2-piece in the same conditions that caused me to lose or break my main paddle.

Greg Stamer

I’m still working on my storm paddle - no finish yet, and I’ve only got 10-12 miles on it while learning a sliding stroke, but my stroke with the storm is much more verticle and I find it significantly more difficult to use in shallow water than a full length GP. I guess I’ll have to look at some more videos - maybe my stroke is all wrong.


Whatever works
Just remember whatever you choose should be the one you will be comfortable with in conditions bad enough to make you lose your primary paddle.

I have put off getting a storm paddle, as I tried one previously that was 72 inches in length - and think it was just too long. Next one will be 64 inches which should make it easier to handle and even easier to stow on deck.

That said though - wish I could find a two piece Klatwa - those things are hard to find!


solid versus laminated
There is nothing wrong with laminated paddles, but there is a common misconception that laminated paddles are, by definition, stronger than solid-wood paddles.

Laminated paddles are only stronger if stronger woods are included in the construction. For example, a laminated WRC cedar paddle is not stronger than a solid WRC with good (quartersawn) grain. It is only heavier. Except for the tips or edges, you don’t need grain running in different directions for a paddle (as per plywood). Because the force applied to a paddle is very predicatble, you want the grain to be at right angles to the blades for stiffness and strength (grain looking like tight, straight pinstripes running down the face of a blade, straight through the loom and to the opposite blade).

Laminations allow you to work with different woods and smaller pieces of wood, but the glue adds weight. However, as prime solid wood gets harder to find, laminations offer a cheaper alternative and also more creative expression (different colored strips, etc).

Greg Stamer

light versus stout storm paddles…
Just an observation, the storm paddles made in Greenland tend to be very solid and robust – much more so than a “standard paddle”. Assuming that the storm is your spare, is used when the conditions are severe enough to break your main paddle, or is saved for heavy weather and/or surf, then it doesn’t make much sense to make it ultra lightweight. I don’t prefer WRC for a storm due to this, and prefer a stronger, stouter wood, such as spruce. This is personal preference, however.

Greg Stamer

Try a single blade
My spare is a single bladed canoe paddle. It fits well on the back deck and is fun to paddle with for a change. It uses different muscles, if you need a break. I have learned to roll with the single blade, in fact, I can do a shotgun roll with the single blade, but have difficulty doing the same roll with my GP.

too heavy?
My self carved GP and Aleut are within an ounce of my Superior Carbon GP.

It has nothing to do with “traditional” or not.

Another thing to keep in mind is who
will be using the spare. On group trips we try and make sure at least every other kayak has a spare. So if another paddler (who does not use a gp) looses their standard paddle you may have to give them your full size gp since its unlikely they will be comfortable with the shorter storm. Also, I think it might be difficult to store a gp as an extra in surf entry and exits. Hopefully the link will work, but you can see with some cheap pvc piping and elbow joint, you can secure a standard two piece so you can get to it and put it back easily. You may recognize the paddler as Flatpick.

Storing a GP
It’s very easy to store a GP securely. Just place a stout loop at the bow (loose enough to be easy to slide the paddle under and close enough to the bow so that not much of the paddle extends beyond it). The loop secures the far blade, and the other blade is tucked tightly under one or more of your deck lines near the cockpit. The rigid deck lines of a SOF kayak are more secure than bungee cord, but that said, I have never lost a GP off my deck with a hardshell rigged in this fashion.

This is also how the Greenlanders secure their paddles .

Greg Stamer

Nice setup Greg!

– Last Updated: Aug-02-07 9:11 PM EST –

It would be pretty easy to secure a gp even for surf with a little forsight. Most brit and na boats are not so quite well thought out with the exception of a couple of brit boats and one na kayak maker.