Tried a Greenland style paddle!

Saturday was my first time to try one. It was made from Sitka spruce (so I’m told).

The loom was rectangular with rounded corners, and felt good in my hand.

The blades, however, had absolutely FLAT faces, so that when you pulled hard against the paddle, it would try to deflect, wiggling up and down trying to dump the load of water it was pushing.

Controlling the position of the paddle through the power portion of the stroke took extra energy.

Boat speed (relative to my wife in her Montauk) was a bit slower than with my Euro style paddle, due to not being able to put all the “oomph” into propelling the boat because of “paddle wiggle-itis”! :slight_smile:

I DID like being able to keep my elbows low, which helped both my shoulder and back problems.

I need to get my hands on one that has blades that taper from the centerline to the edges along their length, as I think that will cure the “wiggling” problem.

May have a go at making my own, and if it turns out well, possibly ordering a pair of nicer ones from somebody who actually knows what they’re doing! :slight_smile:


Try using a more static lower arm…
and PUSH with your upper arm. I don’t ‘pull’ the blade, but use a combined static torso rotation with the lower arm and put the muscle into the rotation and upper arm push. The flutter will go away. At first I also use to pull the blade and ya, it flutters that way. Concentrate on your rotation, it will come to you.

It always starts that way
but it gets better with practice. Don’t add to much “umph” at the start of the stroke, power comes in (if at all) during the last half of the stroke.

Greg Stamer describes a canted stroke
…with keeping, if I understand it correctly, the lower edge of the blade slightly closer to you than the upper edge, lessening the paddle “wiggle” and using the paddle as more of an aerodynamic “wing” like on a plane.

Is that right, Greg?


– Last Updated: Feb-26-07 2:28 PM EST –


The link and site is a good source in understanding the technique.

I'll add that it is a combination of events (technique) that come together and should take the flutter out of the paddle. Try more of a full torso rotation stroke with the arms more outstreached and sending the end of the paddle more to the side, combined with the top edge of the paddle tilted a tad forward (canted) and use a shallow (low angle) stroke. You will probably initially feel the paddle wanting to dive due to the canting of the paddle. The full torso rotation should minimize this feeling initially. Also try slowing it down a bit, the canted stroke has a power of it's own and you need to try and get the feel of it.
Look at the video link above, then go out give it some time. Eventually, even after a few days at it your stroke may just click into place and you will realize the paddle is fine as is.


Another one edges to the dark side

Hand position, carving, etc.
In addition to the push vs pull, stroke angle, and cant stuff - I find hand position matters too. Actually the foundation of all the other stuff.

Thumb and forefinger around that rounded over rectangle loom, and the palm and rest of you fingers out on the blade root. Shoulder shape and cross section in root area becomes important and should be adjusted to suit your hand and paddling needs. I prefer rather soft shoulders and fat oval roots for speed/distance and overall comfort. Others like to carry the diamond all the way up, like more angular shoulders, etc.

For blades I like some diamond/ridge - beginning after the shoulder area and blending back in before the tips (flat oval). Fairly sharp edges on blades/tips for cleaner strokes/better power - but still comfortable enough to grip at full extension.

The ability to adjust these things or make new ones as your preferences/skills develop is what makes carving your own so great.

I still don’t recommend it for first paddles - as you won’t really know what you like or what the shapes all do. You risk carving what you think (based on little or no GP experience) vs what you need. Your odds of getting something fairly good is decreased even though the woodworking is pretty easy/straightforward. Combine less than optimal gear with the subtleties of learning all the new stuff a GP can teach you and it can be worst of both worlds.

Though plenty do just fine, I’d recommend something custom sized by a good carver like Don Beale, or a Superior if one or their standard sizes is pretty close and your budget is higher (their kit may also be a more reasonable option - as it’s basically fully carved [CNC] and just needs personalization and final finishing).

Paddle like these serve as a great benchmark. Once you have many miles on a decent GP (and have compared several), carving becomes a means to a more custom/tuned paddle rather than just a cheaper option.

There are many different styles
of greenland paddles and they can be used differently to get the best performance for each one. I personally prefer the style that allows me to grip my last three fingers around the root of the blade. This gives me very good feel for what the blade is doing. When you get a good feel for the greenland paddle you’ll find that you usually always have the blade at some kind of an angle while using it. The flutter that you experienced is due to pulling the blade straight back while being perpendicular with the stroke. As others have noted, you can eliminate the flutter by canting the blade so that the top edge is forward of the bottom edge while paddling. This will make the paddle want to dive and to eliminate the dive effect you simply push down and across with push hand. This is how to get a greater amount of bite from the paddle and give you more power. If you have the opportunity to spend some time with other paddlers who use greenland paddles you will get to see different paddles and techniques and find out what works for you.

Thanks to all
who have responded to my post.

I believe I’ll try to locate a decent GP made by someone who knows the art.

I’d REALLY prefer a two piece paddle, due to my storage situation. If anyone knows of a resonably priced two piece paddle, please clue me in.

Thanks again!


Feathercraft Klatwa

You could try Peter may have a few for $175/each

I believe Don Beale offers a two piece options. His are my favorite greenland paddles.

Not anymore

– Last Updated: Feb-27-07 3:48 PM EST –

But I have 2 of his twigs. I am really liking the narrow one he made for June. Real easy on the shoulder.

Superior Kayaks now makes a…
two piece carbon greenland paddle that has the Lendal Paddlok joint in it. The paddle is great, and the Paddlok joint is one of the best out there. Check the Superior Kayaks website:

Sweet stick, Roy


Rutabaga guy, P&H team member, Lendal enthusiast.

Best Wishes


Have some patience
study the canted stroke and give it some time! Better yet, find someone to give you some on the water instruction - it makes all the difference. Paddlers are so impatient…it’s a different paddle and takes different technique.

Cedar Addict

He no longer makes a two piece.
I tried to order one a couple of weeks ago.

Now you tell me
I just ordered one last week and the price is now $284 plus $15 to ship it to CA.

Ordered it from the Feathercraft dealer in CO.

I’m Learning the GP
Bill Bremer made mine. He told me:

Canted forward

elbows down

put the blade deep in the water

pull past the hips

That little bit of information got me off to a pretty smooth start.

I feel your pain!
I did the same thing! :frowning:


According to Greyak…
the GP carries the virus. And I believe his theory is as good as any. Soon you will be in a Tuiliq, building your own Skin on Frame, and frequenting the symposiums where old bearded guys will mentor you without insisting on certifications. If it gets really bad you wil start wearing druid type black robes in between paddles.