GREENLAND PADDLE FAQ'S

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

WHAT SHAPE IS YOUR STANDARD TOUR PADDLE - I CAN'T QUITE SEE IN THE PHOTOS?

It's 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, lenticular in section.  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 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!). 

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.

WHAT TIMBER DO YOU USE?

I use clear quarter sawn western red cedar for most paddles.  Laminations in Australian hardwoods are sued to add stiffness and strength.
Timber is hand selected from the importers yard - I discard 9 out of 10 pieces of timber at the yard - only the best timber is suitable for paddles.

WHAT NO OFFSET?

Greenland paddles are not offset - both blades are in the same plane.  The thin blades means that feathering is not needed to avoid windage.

I HEAR THESE ARE GOOD TO ROLL WITH - HOW DO I LEARN?

Rolling with a GP is mich more intuitive than with a euro blade.  The lack of offset means you know where blades are positions when your upside down.  
If you want to learn, get some good tuition.  There are a few good Greenland style teachers in eahc state in Australia.  Have a google and find one. Otherwise join your local Sea Kayaking Club.  (Actually do that anyway.)

DO YOU MAKE SPLIT PADDLES?

Lots of peoaple want split paddles for travelling.  I've nto found a way to make a joiner in a timber paddle that doesn't concentrate stresses and lead to breaking paddles.  So for now I only make split paddles.

If you want a split paddle check out https://www.superiorkayaks.com/superiorkayaks2017store_002.htm 

They're my favorite carbon paddles, made with the Lendal Lock so a rock hard locking system.

HOW DO I PADDLE WITH THIS SKINNY THING?

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. 

  2. 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.

  3. 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. 

  4. 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.

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.

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 10 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.

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!). 


In more than 10 years of paddle making no one has sent me back a paddle asking me to shorten it, and conversely, when I've made custom short paddles for shorter people they have all been happy. If in doubt give me a call and I will guide your choices.

 

0450 361 790

©2020 by Elver Paddles.