Wrist injury- would a Greenland style paddle help

Hi. I’ve paddled for over 20 years and have always used a Euro style paddle. Last year I had a wrist injury and currently am being treated for tendonitis in my wrist. I wear a velcro wrist brace while paddle and try to be conscious of keeping my wrist from flexing and using my core. I’ve wondered if a Greenland style paddle would help, but haven’t been able to find one to try. Any advice? (my usual paddles are 2-3 hours). Thanks.

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Where are you located?

Have you tried a bent shaft paddle? Made a big difference for me.

Los Osos, CA on the central coast. We paddle all year.

Not yet, but thanks for the tip!

I’m not convinced a GP paddle would help, but it would interesting to try if you could borrow one. I make simple greenland paddles using hand tools, and that would definitely be hard on your wrist if you are not supposed to flex it. Maybe someone here in the Morro Bay area could meet you to try one out, I know several surf kayakers in that area, but I don’t think any of them are into GP paddles.

I definitely flex my wrist in controlling the boat quite a bit with a GP. They would have the advantage of less force being applied for each stroke, but tendon problems are often over-use injuries and you make up for less resistance in the stroke by taking more/faster strokes than with a Euro paddle.

Not Greenland, but move your indexing to zero. Try that and see if it helps. If it doesn’t, not sure if a GP would help.

This gets esotoric, there is a small chance that a GP may help in that the “canted” stroke of a zero offset GP does put your wrist at a different (more neutral) angle than a zero offset stroke of a Euro (which has your wrist bent slightly upward). But, we taking talking small difference in wrist angle in the stroking process between a zero offset GP and zero offset Euro.


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It seems that wrists are impacted most on changes in feather and on bent shaft vs straight shaft. GPs seem to have more impact on shoulders.

Yes I was going to suggest low to zero feather and a bent shaft paddle as others have said.

Just my own experience so I won’t claim it is relevant to anyone else – I have broken both wrists (ice skating falls both times so I had a Colles fracture on the left in 1987 and a reverse Colles on the right in 2008 which required surgery and left 3 screws in my distal radius).

I have used GPs almost exclusively for 15 years and never have wrist pain in either joint when using one. But I do usually carry a Euro style paddle as a spare and in some cases I switch off to that depending on conditions – also at times use Euro paddles when renting when I am traveling without my own gear.

That said, I have noticed some right wrist discomfort when using a Euro for extended periods (these are always non-feathered and reasonably light glass or carbon shaft paddles.) It may be that my technique with a Euro is not optimal though I did use that style of paddle for 6 years before adopting the GP, but that was before the more serious injury.

Thanks to you all for your thoughtful replies. In response to some suggestions/questions: I do not feather my paddle, and use either a flat or vertical stroke depending on wind and how fast I want to go. I’ve found multiple ways to compensate in the past 7 months (and on guitar as well- left wrist, right handed). I’ll try your suggestions. Thanks again.

I did find that a fingerless compression glove with a pad that put pressure on the damaged wrist area helped when I was still in the recovery stage. I did kayak 90 days after the right wrist surgery and used that glove set up at the time. Might have helped because it supported the joint and somewhat limited overflexing of it.

So the Greenland Paddle grip for a canted stroke may (or may not) help you. Look at this video by Greg Stamer (Qajaq/USA founder):



You can make one in 4 hours, and that’s doing most of it with hand tools

Back when it was pnet I told me tale of woe. Radial tunnel syndrome. 2006 the summer of a billion strokes. Used a bent shaft paddle Kaliste all summer. The wrist flex on the r arm (dominant side) paddling coupled with learning to roll with “the kayak roll” diemer? technique which emphasized the wrist flex right at the end of the sweep when using euro blade. It tore me up. 10 on the scale of acute care . Almost a 911.
I rehabed and when I paddled again I used greenland sticks. (edit 2: I was rehab paddling and I made an effort not to flex my wrists, it was 10 on the pathetic scale)
If the loom is too narrow i.e. 18’ loom on a 23" beam you can get wrist problems
Maliqiaq pointed out to me that your loom has to be as wide as the beam of your boat regardless
of anthro measurement results. (edit: keeps your wrists on a neutral plain, they will break if loom is to narrow) It is true in my experience.

Peace J

Thanks. Fine video.

Considering this tact. Thanks.

Glad you made it back on the water. Good tips.

I am making a GP for a friend. I have made several and missed out on making the loom the width of the boat.
This one will be that way.

You might also try keeping the loom considerably larger in diameter than a commercial paddle that you are used to. You can always take off more wood later, and a thicker loom is easier on wrists.

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