Greenland style paddle view

Hi Guys

Nearing completion of my Shearwater 17, very excited however would like to know your view point my paddle choice

Do I go for a greenland style paddle or glass fibre more modern style.. Are the Greenland that much better. If I choose the Greenland I will make it if I can source the wood as availbality is not great in the UK for Western Red Ceder.

Welcome your thoughts


10 replies:

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RE: Greenland style paddle view

Better? That's pretty subjective. I definitely prefer Greenland paddles, but there's nothing wrong with a well shaped ergonomic carbon fiber Euro.

But, you can build a GP in 3-4 hours with simple hand tools, for only the cost of a 2x4x8' board. Do some research on the net, or get Brian Nystrom's book. It's easy, fun, satisfying, and you end up with a great paddle and a new building addiction.

Many woods are suitable for paddle making - light weight is why cedar is usually used. Find whatever is lightest in your area (other than balsa!) and try it.

 Good luck!

RE: Greenland style paddle view

I found enough info online to carve a Greenland Paddle.  One good tip is start with a 2x10 or 2x12, then rip a 2x4 out you will have a much better time of finding a 2x4 that is knot free.

this is what I am using as my guide, about 50% done :)

as for preference, borrow one of each and give them a try.  If you cannot borrow, then carve a GP, and if you do not like it you have not lost much money.  Also they make a great spare strapped to the deck.  If you get into long tripping, the common recommendation is to use both as they each work a different set up muscles. 

RE: Greenland style paddle view

I'm working on carving a Greenland paddle using the instructions from Chuck Holst (printed instructions) and Matt Johnson (video link)  found on this web site:

It's a fun project.  Have never tried one before, but for the cost of a clear cedar 2 x 4 (found 2 nice ones at a local lumber yard - one advantage to living in the Pacific Northwest) I figure it's not a big deal if I don't like it.   I have a very nice, expensive Werner carbon fiber bent shaft paddle that I also like.  I've found that a lighter paddle really helps, so I decided it was a good place to invest the money - I did get it used, but it was still very pricey.


RE: Greenland style paddle view

Hey Coop...  I have built two Greenland paddles so far.  The second one has spooned blades and custom drip rings.  I laminated mine using spruce & fir with mahogany edges & tips.

I prefer the Greenland design to the more modern european design because of the reduced windage.  It might take an extra stroke or two to get going from a standing/floating start, but after that it seem the same motivation for less effort.  My only complaint is they are much wetter.  That is why I devised custom drip rings and all is now well...   Both paddles took me about 8 hours total (each) to build and they are VERY good looking. I applied unthickened epoxy to the bare wood, then sanded & applied 4 coats of varnish.

 Please feel free to email me and I'll send a few photos back.  My email name is tugbruce and my server is Gmail with a dot com.    ~BRUCE~ 

RE: Greenland style paddle view

After you break a couple store may want to make your own.  I'm happy owning a few gps I see for sale at $300 which I made out of a $25 2x4.



RE: Greenland style paddle view

They are easy to make and lets face it they are so much cooler then those other paddle thingies

RE: Greenland style paddle view

I've paddle my Shearwater Hybrid with both but after a long day I feel better with the Greenland stick. I made one of paulownia wood and it came in a 19 oz., about the same as a commercial carbon one that would have cost $300 +. It has a little too much flex so I'm building one with a layer of 6 oz. carbon tape laminated in the middle. If you can get paulownia use it, it's the lightest thing around. SEEYA Jack

RE: Greenland style paddle view

I made my paulownia thick for my larger hands and long.  28 oz.  Compared to 45 oz. red cedar.  I let a friend borrow it and he jokingly complained he had to use too much force to sink it in the water.


RE: Greenland style paddle view

The GP just goes great with your wood kayak.  If you've got the skills to complete a boat than a GP will be easy for you!  Google Greenland Paddles For Sale and you can see some of the great designs out there.  I think the paddles made from laminating pieces of cedar, pine, cherry, etc into a 'blank' 2x4 then making the paddle are so much nicer.  I like that you can accurately customize the thickness and shape of the paddle shaft to match your grip!  Be careful, you'll get hooked!   TIM

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