Frequently Asked Questions

 

 
Why should I use a Greenland Paddle?
 
Greenland paddles are:
 
  • Lightweight
  • High on flex, so reduced strain on wrists and shoulders
  • Efficient
  • Elegant
  • Offer low wind resistance in a head wind
  • Buoyant and predictable while rolling
  • Easier for a long days padding
  • Easy on your hands
  • Easy to stash on the deck as a second paddle
 
 
Greenland paddles are a tried and tested efficient touring blade. 10,000 years of use by the Inuit is often quoted. The designers of these blades used them to hunt and live – not just head out for a Saturday morning leisurely paddle, so the design has been proven in real world conditions. 
The lancet shaped blade has a similar area to a European blade – it’s the shape and perimeter length that differ. When used with a canted stroke the thin blade allows water to spill one edge faster than the other. This leads to a lift effectively working like a modern wing paddle. This lift is what leads to the efficiency.
Couple this with a subtle, but real flex in the timber and the low weight of the whole paddle, and the result is less energy used for equivalent distance traveled. 
 
My experience is that Greenland paddles offer a lower impact paddle stroke that seems to propel the boat faster with less effort. Certainly I feel less tired at the end of a days paddle than when I use a high angle stroke and euro paddle.
 
Certainly there is plenty of information on the web about the pros and cons of Greenland style paddles – I recommend the links below for further reading. The fist one is almost ‘compulsory’ for a Greenland paddle learner.
 
For explanation of the canted forward stroke:
 
 
For one supposition as to why the canted stroke works:
 
 
 
How do I order a paddle?
 
Either give me a call on my mobile number or email me. See the contacts page for details. 
 
Can I arrange a test paddle?
 
Test paddles can be arranged. There are paddles in Victoria, NSW and Queensland.  Call me to arrange a demo.  I am located in Emerald Beach just north of Coffs Harbour.  Drop me a line to borrow a paddle or come out on the water with me.
 
I can post paddles around the country for a test paddle.  Tester pays all costs though.  Email me for shipping costs.
 
What options are available?
 
The options are wide open. Tell me what you want and I’ll see if I can make it for you. Common requests include:
  • Laminated with hardwood for strength,
  • Custom lengths,
  • Alternate timbers,
  • Hardwood edging for chip protection,
  • Marine spar varnish for a glossy finish,
  • Ultra light (but delicate) builds,
  • Heavy weight builds,
  • Addition of shoulders at the loom / blade transition.

I don't make two part paddles.  Why?  Because I've not found a way to make them that will not break during normal use thats a reasonable cost.  Others make them in production machine made paddles. They still seem to break at the end of the joiner though..

What shape is your standard Tour Paddle - I can't quite see in the photos?

Its incredibly hard to photograph paddles so the important bits people want to know are visible, so:

The standard Tour has 'soft shoulders', and a symetric 'airfoil' cross section - oval in section, not flat nor round.  Blade tips are pretty thin, and near flat.  I try and avoid installing a dihedral cross section anywhere but up near the root of the blade, as the dihedral shape needs more cant in use to avoid flutter.  Dihedral shapes near the loom though are quite nice for holding.

The bade edges are crisp and not very rounded.  Edges are probably less then 4mm in width. This makes for a fast silent paddle.

So what length do I need?

There are numerous ways for working out paddle length.  I find the 'armspan plus a cubit' method works quite well for most.  Loom length can vary, but some thing like shoulder width is about right for most, assuming you paddle am average width boat (say less than 60cm in width at the widest point). 
 
There are many sites on the web discussing paddle lengths, and lots of different permutations for calculating length.  I think length of paddles is not as important as many people make out.. especially as many calculations are based on imprecise measurements such as cubits and handspans, where different people may measure a cubit in different ways, with results varying by multiple centimeters for the same 'cubit'.  My 2 cents worth is that few people can actually feel a difference of say 5cm in paddle length with a Greenland paddle, so don't get too hung up on the length issue.  The most important thing is your paddle feels good for you.   
 
The Tour is sized around what I like, and I find this a good starting point for many average to tall men (like me!). 
 
 
Can you deliver and what does it cost?
 
Delivery by courier can be arranged.  The costs vary depending on location and is around $35 to $45 for Sydney / Brisbane / Melbourne, $60 to Perth, and $70 to Hobart.  Prices for other locations vary so email me to get a costing from the Courier first.
I pack the paddle in a strong 100mm diameter PVC pipe securely padded, so that it doesn't get damaged in transport.  I don't charge for the packing and tube.  The tube makes a handy paddle protector for you too - you can mount them on your roof racks etc.. 
 
 
How do I paddle with this skinny thing?
 
The Greenland style stroke – a ‘quick start guide’
 
The Forward Stroke is relaxed and low, and slightly faster than your normal stroke. Think low, fluid and efficient movement. 
 
  1. Start by grasping the paddle at either end of the loom, resting the little finger on the start of the blade. 
 
  1. Reach forward and slide the blade into the water from the tip, with the top of the blade canted forward of the bottom of the blade – don’t poke it in, slide it into the water side first.
 
  1. As the blade is buried begin drawing in the blade towards the rear of the boat. Use a ‘squeeze’ rather than a ‘grab’ to start the stroke, accelerating the squeeze to the end of the stroke. Keep you hands at all times below your shoulders. Remember to rotate your torso to provide the power. 
 
  1. Exit the water by slipping the blade up and out. The blade will be set up for the stroke on the other side.
 
An efficient stroke is almost silent – keep practicing until there is no air trapped behind the blade and near silent paddling.
 
If you feel flutter during the stroke, cant the top of the blade further forward. Try keeping your wrists flat see the link below for more details http://www.seakayakermag.com/2000/june2000/JuneHeath2.htm
 
It feels different from a ‘Euro’ style blade. Don’t be put off – paddle for a while and after a few minutes paddling and you should begin to understand the benefits available from these paddles.
 
 
Can you laminate a paddle for me too?
 
Sure – I can laminate for you in many different species and materials.  I prefer Jarrah for lamination and tend to use a lamination of Jarrah some 2mm to 4mm thick between two pieces of cedar.   I also laminate paddles from three pieces of cedar which allows me to make light hollow cored paddles that feel very buoyant.
 
 
Will it break?
 
My paddles are made from natural timber. I select the timber to gain the best quarter sawn, clear, defect free timber I can find. (This results in me rejecting about 9 out of 10 planks from my suppliers). However, these paddles are timber – timber has a lower strength than the equivalent section of carbon fibre or fiberglass laminate.
Of course you can break them – they’re wood, and just like any other paddle surfing, hard rolls, rock gardening, levering off the beach and sitting on you paddle can break them.  
In general use though, (paddling, rolling, etc) these paddles are certainly proven in terms of reliability. 
If you break a paddle, and it’s clear you didn’t abuse it I will replace it, as long as you send me all parts of any broken paddle. BUT If you break the paddle doing things like rock gardening, levering off the beach, levering up your car to change the tyre or something silly I won’t cover it.
 
If you dent you paddle severely, or split the tip, or just want a spruce up and  refinish, call me for a quote on the work – I’ll be pleased to help.
 
 
Aren’t laminated paddles stronger?
 
Laminations can increase the strength, if done with thought and care. However the place where extra strength is needed is in the loom and shoulder of the paddle. This is the point of most breakages during normal paddling. Laminations offered by most paddle manufacturers rarely cover this part, and seem mostly done to use up small slivers of timber and reduce waste.   I feel that laminations are not required, but they can look pretty spiffy and can add insurance with a bit more strength.  They also allow me to make hollow cored paddles and retain more strength.
I will laminate paddles for you if you want, but the end product will cost more than a solid paddle.
 
Paddle Care - Do I need to re oil it?
 
I use a pure tung oil finish blended with citrus oil.  It forms a long lasting waterproof but breathable finish.  Once it dries on (and in) the timber, it plasticises to form a flexible coating far superior to varnish or epoxy - it flexes and does not crack like they do.  The citrus oil is a solvent and promotes drying to allow me to get my paddles out to you faster.  
 
My favorite paddle is now about 6 years old, has done a huge amount of work and I've never re oiled it.  It's developed a nice patina of age..  If you don't like that, and want to keep your paddle fresh and new looking re apply PURE TUNG OIL whenever you feel like it.  It takes about 2 weeks to dry, so perhaps this is a winter job?   If you dent the paddle, scratch it or split the tip, the western red cedar will not get damaged by water ingress, so re oiling is not required, but can be nice to freshen things up.
 
To re oil, get some pure tung oil. Pure is very important - do not buy tung oil from a major hardware - they sell stuff called tung oil, but its been severely diluted and will wash off!!  I've not found a hardware that sell the good stuff yet.. I have tried tens of products sold as tung oil but they have all disappointed.  I buy mine from https://www.thewoodworks.com.au .  I can ship you some pure tung oil if you prefer (without the citrus oil in it - that makes it flammable and shipping is just crazy expensive.)
  1. Wash the paddle with fresh water, then let it dry completely.  If you like sand off or smooth the edges on any dents with 240 grit sandpaper, then dust off the paddle.
  2. With a rag, wipe on some tung oil.  Its not toxic stuff - its just oil pressed from the Candle Nut tree (a native to northern Australia and SE Asia), and is fine to apply sans gloves etc. Make the paddle glossy with oil, but not dripping.  
  3. Stand the paddle aside against a wall. In an hour or two come back and wipe off the excess oil with a dry rag and let it stand for two weeks.  
  4. Go paddling :)

In total its about a ten minute job.

Contact us on elverpaddles@gmail.com