Thoughts on greenland style paddle

I currently whitewater kayak and use Werner Sho-Gun bent shaft carbon paddle…
Living on Long Island , I am considering buying a touring style kayak… so i will also be buying a paddle to go with it. I keep seeing the greenland style paddle… i am liking the carbon 2 piece.
Any thoughts about these type of paddle… pros/cons? Likes/Dislikes,
Recommendations? Dos/Donts?

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There are a couple of things that seem to be pointed out with a Greenland style paddle. The catch is less solid, so it’s easier on joints and less tiring over distances.
Many find rolling easier with a Greenland paddle.
My thoughts are that less finesse is required with a Greenland paddle in terms of blade angle control when maneuvering, bracing, rolling. I, for instance, haven’t found rolling any easier with a Greenland, but I’ve spent years and years always trying to perfect rolls with the lightest touch and reliance on my paddle. On the other hand, maneuvering quickly in a sea kayak can benefit from a pretty solid purchase against the water, and that purchase mostly feels more solid with a euro blade to me. However, I know I still have lots of room for working the best out of my Greenland.
If you’re drawn to a Greenland paddle, go for it!

Any recommendation?
I was leaning towards Gearlab Outdoors Kalleq or Akaik paddle…

The Gearlabs are lovely things. I know several very good paddlers who use them. Shouldered or un-shouldered - is mostly the question you are asking. I paddle shouldered with a cedar paddle carved in a workshop run by Don Beale however lost of folks including (If I recall correctly) Willowleaf here prefer the un-shouldered. I like that the shoulder sets my hands & blade angle with out thinking.

For the reason you cite, shouldered paddles make it easier to learn a proper Greenland canted stroke. A canted stroke creates much more bite, so it’s worth learning.

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Yes. Thanks… i was also leaning on going with the shoulders

Have you looked at anything besides the Gearlab Paddles? Nash boat-works is making the Superior Carbon paddle in Chicago …only commercial Greenland style Carbon paddle made in the US.

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Good to know. I will check them out. Thanks

I really like the Greenland… shouldered. I found I could roll better with it than the euro. One thing to keep in mind when rolling or bracing; to get the most bite or purchase from a GP you push down and forward at the same time. (Down and backward works, too). It’s called sculling and once you get the feel of it ya don’t much care if you’re right side up or upside down or sideways.

The Gearlab paddles do look beautiful but one of the biggest advantages of a wooden paddle is how you can have it customized to your personal measurements: paddle length, loom width, blade width, loom diameter, shoulders (none, soft, hard) and even tip shape. With Gearlab I only see paddle length as an option.

My western red cedar GP also feels very alive and almost organic in my hand and while I’m not giving up on my Werner Cyprus bent shaft carbon I do find that I’m using my GP more and more.

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And if cost is an issue, just make your own. Mine cost $3.10 plus some boiled linseed oil. I had the spoke shave already.

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I’m obviously partial to cedar GPs, so if you have either some basic woodworking skills and tools - or have an interest in making your own paddles - there are several advantages to going that route, as the others above have mentioned. For the price of commercially-made carbon fiber paddle, you could buy all of the tools you need and enough wood to make a dozen or more paddles. As kfbrady said, cedar GPs have a feel and liveliness that you simply cannot get with carbon fiber paddles. There’s also a deep feeling of satisfaction that you get from propelling yourself with a paddle that you made and which is uniquely personal.

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Yes. What they said. My favorite paddles are Western Red Cedar. The pros are: They are totally custom for how I want them to fit and feel in my hands and perform in the water. The cons: single piece is more cumbersome to transport and cedar doesn’t handle banging on rocks as well as carbon.

I used to use two cam straps, cut short, and just tied it to the roof rack. Now I just throw it in the back of the Subaru. It fits in the cavernous Ascent!


Any recommendations where to get cedar 2x4s? Cant find any at local Lowe’s/Home Depots

I have found cedar 2X4s at Lowes (once) but the best looking one split while I was working on it. You do have some other options. I have made three from strips laminated from 1 by stock. It is helpful to orientate the strips so that the grain cuts the same way. Another option (but may be heavier) is to go through the stacks of dimension lumber (2X6 or 2X8) looking for straight grain & knot free(ish) where the paddle will be. In my area (mid-Michigan) Menards has the best selection of 1" cedar boards. Otherwise you will need to find a specialty lumber yard.

I always go to local lumberyards, as the big box stores around here don’t carry dimensional cedar. Finding suitable 2x4s with straight, vertical grain end-to-end can be a challenge, but it’s critical for durability and performance. I typically find 2-3 good boards out of 100 I check. You can resaw a 4x4 to get two, 2x4 paddle blanks that are a bit thicker than a typical 2x4. Because you can resaw to get the proper grain orientation, you double your chances of finding suitable lumber, but it’s a bit more expensive to go this route.


I love my Superior Carbon paddle now made by Nash boat works . The BIG difference is the weight,. My buddy loves his Beale paddles. Custom made to his specs. But mine is sooo much lighter at 22 ounces. Mine is on its 6th season and still in great shape. i don’t get the gearlab users as they weigh as much as a wood paddle. whats the point? Sure gearlabs cost less but from the demo/rental paddles i saw up in Canada at this kayak shop on a Georgian Bay trip they don’t hold up well. They had several that were just coming apart. Splintering. I would get a Beale wood paddle over a gearlab.

BUT since your just trying the idea out maybe making your own would be a good option for you. if you like greenland paddles then get a Superior paddle. Some paddle makers have a class to make your own. I did that a few times made a few. Cost less at least were i went. But that was over 6 years ago.

For resources on making your own Greenland-style paddles, check out the Qajaq USA page on paddle making at .

Wood feels better to me than carbon (warmer and quieter) but my Superior carbon paddles are still going strong and that’s after enduring a circumnav of Newfoundland and 12 years of use. Pricey but very rugged and long-lasting.

If I may, If you do get into Greenland-style, consider becoming a member of Qajaq USA. It’s a small, nonprofit volunteer group. They bring talented Greenlanders to US events for instruction and cultural exchange and are a member club of the Greenland kayak association.

Greg Stamer

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I have also never found cedar at HD or Lowe’s that I would consider making a paddle out of. (There again, maybe I don’t have the patience to go through one hundred 2x4s).

Ben Fontenot sells rough shaped GP blanks. They aren’t cheap but the quality is superb. He also makes great paddles.