I love Greenland paddles. They are kind to the hands and shoulders. You can move your hands and extend the paddle for powerful sweep strokes. You can practise the 35 braces, sculls and rolls in the Greenland rolling competition. I use them for long touring trips, When you master the forward stroke with a Greenland paddle, it raises kayaking to a new level of grace and efficiency.
Inuit kayakers from Siberia to Greenland tested and perfected the design of these paddles over a period of about 6000 years.
The Inuit in the Mackenzie delta call a Greenland paddles a pautik (pow-tic). It translates literally to 'double' which refers to the double blades. Some people call them sticks.
Wooden pautiks made from western red cedar are very light . At 3000 strokes per hour, every gram counts. I like the feel and look and tradition of wood. The wood I use is old-growth western red cedar from a local Vancouver Island sawmill. Old growth cedar has 40 - 60 rings per inch which makes it stronger, harder and more stable than second growth wood. The wood is graded 'Clear Heart' which means that it is all heart wood with no sap wood. The grain must be vertical and straight with no hint of a knot. Only a small percentage of the wood milled from any tree meets these criteria.
I make traditional rounded ends because they are less likely to chip. The tips and edges are hardened with epoxy to prevent denting and splitting. The tips can be re-coated with epoxy as they wear to maximize the life of the paddle. Epoxy is waterproof and bonds well to red cedar despite it's naturally high oil content.
I work to a tolerance of 1 mm or less and measure, weigh and balance each paddle to unsure balance, symmetry and uniformity before the sanding stage.
The finish on the paddles is 3 coats of tung oil. Varathane finishes are not recommended. It is better to let the paddle 'breathe' and re-oil it occasionally.
PRICE = $150 + shipping
Regular and storm paddles are $150 each. Norsaws are $30. A set of all three is $300. The dimensions of all paddles can be adjusted to your preferences.
CARVE YOUR OWN = $75 + shipping
Many paddlers want the satisfaction of making their own paddle but don't have a band saw and planes and access to top quality wood and the time to experiment.
I can sell you a paddle blank cut to your requirements and planed to the final rough dimensions. You need a good top quality low angle block plane, a sharp knife and 3 sheets of sandpaper to finish the carving. Finish with 3-4 coats of tung oil.
- Some paddlers like a wider blade for more bite when surfing.
- Some paddlers like a narrower blade to fit a small hand for rolling.
- Some may need a stronger or armoured blade for rock gardens.
- Some paddlers want a lighter paddle and will accept the risk of breakage.
- Small hands may require a narrower loom.
- I am happy to adjust my standard design to meet particular needs and preferences.
To measure the best loom length for you, stand with your arms hanging down at your sides completely relaxed. Bend your elbows 90 degrees, knuckles facing up, maintining the same width between your hands. Form a circle with your thumb and forefinger on each hand. This is the distance for a custom loom length. I normally build looms in the range of 48 cm to 60cm.
60 cm (23.6 in) is about the longest anyone would want the loom ( measured from shoulder point to shoulder point on the paddle )
I find a 55 cm loom works well for me. I can really get my back into the stroke with a loom that long.
Many people prefer a shorter loom around 50 cm ( 20 in. ) Find what feels right for your body and your paddling style. The ultimate test is how it feels to you.
- The width of the end of the blade is a trade off.
- My standard blade is 85 mm (3.4 in ) wide and works well for most people for all aspects of paddling.
- Wider blades around 90 mm (3.5 in ) provide more surface area for fast acceleration when surfing.
- The last 15 cm of the blade can be tapered so that the paddle provides both a larger surface area and a narrow grip for the hand while rolling.
- A modified hand grip can be used for rolling so that smaller hands can grip a wide blade.
Traditional Paddles by Harvey Golden
Greenland Paddling Technique
I use a storm paddle as my spare paddle. It fits well on my front deck where I can reach it even if I am upside down under water. You cannot imagine how effective and comfortable the sliding stroke is until you spend a few hours using it. Watch Kevin Floyd in action with his storm pautik:
BRITISH CANOE PADDLES?
ROLLING INSTRUCTION WITH CHERI AND TURNER
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