Tips on greenland paddles

-- Last Updated: Nov-09-06 4:49 PM EST --

Is there any practical difference between round and square tips of greenland paddles?

I keep reading it’s just a personal preference but based on what? Pure esthetical reasons? One being more comfortable on your hands then the other? Cleaner entry?

I use a Superior Kayaks CF (square tips) but I have tried a few rounded paddles without being able to really appreciate any difference.

Gail Ferris’ page shows wide

I’ve never been able to tell the difference myself but lately mine end up with kinda squarish tips. I would assume the traditional variations were regional. One thing kayak hunters needed was a quiet paddle so I’d have to believe that if some hunters used squarish tips they must have been quiet as well.

I find that
square tips tend to twist more than rounded tips as you exit the water while sprinting. Other than that I haven’t noticed any difference.

It is my impression
and I have been told by others who should know, that “square” tips tend to generate more vorticies (sp?) I’ll bet your tips aren’t really “square” either, but have a nickle sized radius. :slight_smile:

Superior “square”?

– Last Updated: Nov-09-06 6:15 PM EST –

Mine looks pretty much like the cross section of a kayak hull with rounded chines and keel.

I wouldn't want truly square, but I like the superior more than simple round tips. My WRC paddle is similar. Maybe even a little more square (a lot like the two Jensens on that link above), and also very smooth/quiet.

Honestly, I think the edge and tip thinness/sharpness is a lot more critical to quietness and solid catches than tip shape. I find thick edges "kerplunk" and ventilate more (even with smooth radius - and naturally more so as edges get chunkier). Water responds better to carving than clubbing! That's why fish have fins and not fists! *L*

In my experience
the shape of the tip can determine how much the paddle will ventilate when you start your stroke. I have found that a tip that is less round than a semi circle allows me to apply power sooner to my stroke without ventilating. I have also found that a sharp edge around the tip produces more ventilation. My tips are a 1/2" thick and rounded over. This is all just my own personal experience and I know many people have different findings so I would suggest that you should make the tip whatever shape inspires you. Make as many paddles with different tips as you can and see what works best for you. Enjoy the journey.

Greenland paddle tips
I have been using a Greenland for only two years and only a few I made, so I won’t offer personal opinions from my limited experience.

Instead, I suggest you look at Don Beale’s web site. Everyone I’ve talked to or read posts from praise his paddles. I am using the one I made with him in a workshop at Delmarva. Since he has made and sold hundreds, he must be making a good paddle. From working with him in workshops, I see he is open minded and would change his design if shown a convincing reason. So, my suggestion is to look at his site.

If you want a historical paddle from a particular area, look at the books that have come out showing historical paddles. Any shape tip will work, the recommendation for Beale’s is based on use, not any particular historical design.


It’s largely personal preference…
…but I’ve found that rounded and tapered (not blunt) tips are quieter. Rounded tips are also less likely to chip, since there are no corners.

Regardless of the shape you select, it’s a good idea to armor the tips by coating them with epoxy.