!st Greenland Paddle

It took me about three hours to make my first paddle with the help of my band saw, power planer, belt sander, orbital sander and a very sharp low angle, 6" block plane.

Tried it out this morning, and it feels pretty good. I still need lots of work on my new style of paddle stroke. Taking it to the Apostle Islands this weekend on a group trip. Sure feel good on my messed up shoulders.

Agongos, aka Paul

once you try the stick
it’s hard to go back.

I always looked at them with suspicion: how can such an insignificant piece of skinny wood be better than my foam core Werners.

A few months later, I now no longer touch the carbon paddle.

I even surf with the stick!

More details at: http://gnarlydognews.blogspot.com/2009/07/switching-to-stix-traditional-paddles.html

A nice piece of wood and the right tools can really make it easy to do. The next one will take even less time. The best part about making your own greenland paddles is that you can keep making adjustments to the different dimensions to suite your taste. Enjoy the journey.

Great Job!
Welcome to the wonderful world of greenland paddling! Keep practicing, your strokes and braces will become smooth and almost automatic. Just have to develop that muscle memory. Here’s a great link on greenland strokes:


Since I’ve gotten my stick this past March, I haven’t touched my carbon fiber either. It’s now collecting cobwebs in the corner of the room. The only time it sees use is when my daughter graces us with her presence on an occasional paddle. She’s 13 and you know how that is.

Plan on making one myself. But that’s a project for the winter when I can’t paddle. At least I’ll be doing something related to kayaking.

Paddle flutter
It’s interesting that you experienced flutter if you pulled hard with the GP. I went through that too. Now i can pull like a plow horse with the GP and when I practice with the Euro I get flutter with that unless I think about what I’m doing. I don’t know what changes. It must be a series of subtle body adaptations that occurs with each paddle. I don’t do any intentional canting of the blade. I just use it like I would my Euro but I must have adapted some how because I get no flutter no matter what I do.

Looks like a sweet paddle- hope you
enjoy it.

Yes, I had the same feelings. How the hell can that little stick work? It sure does though, and it seems like just the ticket, after having 4 shoulder surgeries. It seems to put less of a load on my shoulders. I keep my elbows in fairly tight and use torso rotation to the max.

I had a little flutter at first, but now I can’t even make it flutter? That’s a good thing though!

I have lots of ideas already on what my next paddle will be like.

I read your blog and comments about GP’s. I couldn’t agree more.

No one that I saw at
USCA Nationals last week used one. I don’t know much about them but seems to be quite the craze. But, if they helped you win races, someone would have figured that out. However, not everything in life needs to be a race.

What specifically is the thrill, advantage, niche that attracts you many stick advocates? Is it the same attraction one has for long bows, wood and leather snowshoes, or bamboo fly rods?

for me it’s not nostalgia
I use a greenland paddle about half the time lately. For me it’s not nostalgia, it’s just comfort. For long miles it’s easier on my body than the big-blade werner I use. For rock gardening or surf I stick to my euro paddle, but for everything else I swap back and forth between the greenland and the euro. They’re a nice complement as they use different muscle groups, and together they extend my range before I start to wear out.

Sold My Last Euro Last Week
Good riddance.

The GP is NOT some ‘playin’ Indians’ thing. For me it’s a much better tool than the Euro for sculling and rolling. Not nearly as affected by wind, either. The only thing I think the Euro does better is store in two pieces.

What attracts us to the

– Last Updated: Aug-20-09 7:13 PM EST –

..."stick"? (sorry, while writing my post, part of my subject line mysteriously disappeared).

zenrider wrote:

"What specifically is the thrill, advantage, niche that attracts you many stick advocates? Is it the same attraction one has for long bows, wood and leather snowshoes, or bamboo fly rods?"

All too often, people (of any era) will take for granted the idea that "old/traditional=obsolete" and "modern/high-tech=improvement over the old/obsolete". When it comes to some things, nothing could be further from the truth. As individuals, we will have our personal preferences, but without being fairly exposed to all possibilities, even our preferences can be based on unnecessarily limited options.

The traditional boats, paddles, and techniques developed by Inuit people over thousands of years represent a very high degree of purpose driven evolution and refinement. Okay, so most of us don't hunt from our boats for our survival, but there's still a great deal we can learn from those who did (and those who still do). With all our capacity for building mass produced plastic and high-tech composite boats and paddles (along with all the environmental issues that come with these), there's still nothing to compare to the custom fit/design, light weight, and low cost of a SOF boat and wooden paddles (and, if done with some care in choosing materials, much smaller environmental footprint).

Having had several years of very happy experience with Euro style paddles (all I'd really experienced at that point), and now, several more years of using, exclusively, GPs, I can say for certain that for the types of paddling I do (from flat water to surf, to open sea in all sorts of conditions), I don't miss the Euro designs and composite materials one little bit. In fact, from the very moment I tried my first GP many years ago, I've *not once* gone back to using my once much loved Euro paddles (ever since, those have been used only by the occasional visiting paddler, and now, I'm thinking about getting rid of them entirely, and just handing my visitors a GP).

I paddle *a lot*, year 'round (usually 5-7 days a week, several hours per day), and I love everything about it; including the practice and refinement of techniques. I did become very proficient with my old Euro paddles, and as mentioned above, really enjoyed using them. With the GPs, however, I've found even greater overall paddling enjoyment, and far greater possibilities with regards to the practice and refinement of techniques.


carbon fiber GP is great too
A wooden GP is great, and it is very cool to make your paddle yourself. But I also really like the carbon fiber GP I got from Superior Kayaks - incredibly tough, light, and bouyant. It was expensive but looks to last forever. They also offer a two-part verson.

I almost touched one
when visiting Adirondacks outfitters up there. But I have a way of not putting things back on the storage rack, so left it hanging. I think it is something I would have to try a few times. Actually looking at wings right now for my next purchase. But this looked like a great store it on the deck backup option. I have never ever seen anyone use one any place I paddled.

I can see the building different muscles and technique as a sound justification. They seem a curious oddity to me. Any other expansion of your likes/ needs for a stick paddle appreciated. Thanks for sharing.

Here’s an article…

– Last Updated: Aug-21-09 9:07 AM EST –

I wrote about the GP vs. Euro from my take if you want to read it.


Just curious, what is the interest in a wing? Racing? You give up a lot of smooth paddle handling technique that's enjoyable to do with it in my opinion.

Another recent convert to GP
I got my first GP 3 months ago (an 84" “Seal” model from Friday Harbor Paddles – see my review on this site if interested) and now find I really don’t enjoy using either of my “euro” paddles, both good Werner models I’ve used for 10 years. In fact it only happens when I take friends out and lend them one of my 4 boats and gear. They always want to try the GP and I admit I fret the whole time we trade off and I have to use the Euro. This is all flatwater we’re talking about of course, big rivers and lakes with up to moderate chop and waves. I’m planning a trip out to Seattle and Vancouver in September, taking one of my Feathercraft folding kayaks on the plane (would love to take my Greenland SOF but I hardly think I can check that through baggage :frowning: ) I’m so bummed that I can’t fly with the GP that I imagine I may end up buying one while I am out there and selling it when i get back – that’s how much I prefer the feel and paddling technique.

Friday Harbor and other makers do make 2-part GP’s but part of the pleasure of using a GP, I find, is sliding your hands freely along the shaft for sculls and slide-strokes – don’t know that I would like having the joint in the middle.

Does anyone have a two part GP, and how do you like it?

The only other drawback I see to GP’s is that they ship an awful lot of water onto the cockpit with each stroke – a sprayskirt is virtually a necessity. I noticed looking at authentic Inuit GP’s in the Carnegie Museum’s Polar Life exhibit a couple of weeks ago that ALL of them had thin cotton rags wrapped and tied around the shaft just past the loom – going to try that and see if it helps. But then, of course, the rags will be in the way for slide stroking.

Why I like Greenland paddle
I’m not the best person for comparing, because I’ve paddled exclusively with Greenland paddles since first trying one about 4 years ago. But here’s why I like it:

  1. Easier on shoulders and joints, especially on a long day. I think I can can paddle equally efficiently with the GP as euro for anything short of an all-out sprint. But all-out sprints with a euro used to give me joint pain the next day.
  2. Makes rolling much easier, especially when learning. I first tried a GP when learning to roll form Jay Babina’s DVD, and it made a big difference for me. with A GP, you naturally use an extended paddle sweep, and can roll slowly without an hipflick if you like.
  3. It is so natural and fast to go to extended paddle position, you just naturally do this if you need to make a sweep, and you get great leverage.
  4. Becuase the whole paddle is so buoyant, you get incredible support from a low brace. Again, it is natural and fast to slide to extended paddle position, so you get even more support. At least with my limited technique and experience, I feel much more confident in rough water that I can get a powerful brace out fast whenever I need it than I think I would be with a euro after the same amount of paddling experience.
  5. Low brace gives such powerful support, there’s really no reason to use high brace (or at least, I never do). I surf with the GP all the time, using only low brace position with waves of all heights. I feel safe because there’s zero chance that a wave with more power than I expected is going to pull my shoulder out, which I think would be a risk for me when in the learning phase with bigger waves when using a high brace.
  6. I don’t think you give up much, even in surfing and messing around rocks, once you are used to the GP. You can’t turn as crisply as a good paddler doing a bow rudder with a euro using textbook edging, but I don’t think the difference is that big for an intermediate paddler with so-so technique like me.

    I am no Greenland expert, just a mostly self-taught paddler who does day trips and a little surfing, and I love the GP for what I do. A possible drawback is that it makes rolling so easy that you don’t have to develop great technique. I only ever use a standard Greenland roll with extended paddle position, because it works so reliably. I’m not sure how well I can do rolling in a non-extended position with a euro paddle, because I haven’t tried it in 4 years. Good thing to try this weekend!

Yes, the wing thing is for racing.
But it would be nice to try a GP. Not that I would spend $250 just to try it out. At least that was the price of the Fox model I saw hanging.

Thanks for your insites and I will read that article link soon.

Looks like someone with my limited wood working skills could build one for $25.