Paddling with a Greenland paddle differs from paddling with a “Euro-blade” paddle. It’s easier/ergonomic! The Greenland paddle does not stress the paddler as much as a “Euro-blade” paddle. Its tapered shape allows the Greenland paddle to “catch” the water more gradually than a “Euro-blade” paddle, which is fully loaded all the way through the paddle stroke. Greenland paddles exhibit approximately 90% of the surface area of a Euro-Blade and they are very streamlined allowing them to move a kayak forward with less effort.
During the stroke the Greenland paddle is held low at the roots of the blades while the upper arms hang close to the ribs. Positioned at right angles to the upper arms, the forearms remain bent throughout the stroke. Rotating your torso in the direction of the stroke, while pulling through with your arms, produces the basic paddle stroke. The paddle blade, tipped/canted slightly forward, is dipped into the water towards the feet while the arms swing back and forth with the torso. Paddlers using the basic stroke find it relatively quick, and circular, with a cadence of about 60 strokes a minute.
Some paddlers, new to the Greenland style, feel an annoying vibration while making the stroke. This can be corrected by holding the paddle correctly, palms facing each other and the lower arms held at right angles to the upper arm and the paddle loom resting on the soft spot between the thumb and index finger the top edge of the blade will normally tip slightly forward. This is the angle (or “can’t”) that the blade should enter the water. Once you have determined the “cant,” grip the root of the blade while maintaining that angle and make the stroke. If a vibration is felt during the stroke the top edge of the blade is simply not being held/tipped forward slightly.
You don’t have to paddle a Greenland style kayak to benefit from a Greenland paddle. I’ve been using a Greenland paddle exclusively for eight years. My upper body and arms never tire. The Greenland paddle offers maximal endurance.
Greenland paddles are a centuries old tool used by Inuit for transportation and hunting across the arctic. These highly efficient paddles are experiencing a renewal by kayak paddlers around the world and VIPaddles produce some of these creations in a small shop in Nanaimo on Vancouver Island, Canada. Paddlers in Australia, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Spain, Greece, Singapore, and across Canada and the USA have purchased VIPaddles and some have even been used in Greenland.
Beautiful, old growth Western Red Cedar Greenland paddles are hand-crafted, hand-rubbed with several coats of Tung oil. A spar varnish will be applied if requested. VIPaddles blades are tapered from a unique soft shoulder to a round tip approximately 8.6cm (3&3/8”) wide. The semi/almost round looms range from approximately 54cm (21″) long for people with a narrower boat to 66cm (26”) in length for paddlers with wider kayaks. Some VIPaddlers with small hands have smaller diameter looms. Cedar Greenland paddles weigh less than most composite and plastic “Euro” paddles used by paddlers who aren’t familiar with the benefits of Greenland paddles. The light weight of VIPaddles impress many paddlers; some touring paddles weigh as little as 0.6kg (22oz). Over all lengths vary from approximately 208cm (82”) and up.
Probably the best method to determine the length of your VIPaddle is to measure the distance your arm span (the distance from finger-tip to Finger-tip, approximately 72 inches) plus the distance from your elbow to your fingertips. There is no hard and fast rule; some Inuit paddles were 12 feet long.
The length of the loom is usually determined by the distance between your palms, parallel and facing each other, with your arms held loosely by your side at right angles from your hips. This distance should be adjusted upward if you have a wider kayak.
We endeavor to produce quality Greenland paddles appropriate to their application. Paddlers wishing to practice technical skills such as rolling may want to consider ordering a heavier more rigid VIPaddle whereas touring paddlers may wish to paddle with a lighter paddle. All of our paddles are made from natural products and as such their strength may vary and failures may occur under certain conditions such as rolling as demonstrated By Christopher Crowhurst/Qajaq Rolls in his Blog on VIPaddles. We will be pleased to assist you in selecting a paddle most suitable for your type of paddling.
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“I was out for a good paddle today. After about five minutes of flailing around a bit, I locked into a good ‘blade tip’ angle and I was off to the races. What a great paddle. The length and balance seem perfect and the feel is incredible. It’s shocking how much momentum you can get out of such a narrow blade. I wish I had tried one long ago. Very happy with it. I may be back to you for a one-piece at some point soon.”
— Mike from Radium Hot Springs, BC
“I used the basic Greenland paddle almost exclusively this weekend and just loved it !! It worked like a dream in surf. I had no problem accelerating to catch the waves or with low /high bracing into the waves. Further, I never missed a roll once this weekend. You make a fantastic paddle.”
— Mark Erina from Coquitlam, BC
“I absolutely love the Greenland paddle – I had no shoulder pain whatsoever and its comfortable to use. It’s a great paddle and a godsend to someone like me with shoulder problems!”
— Diana from Parksville, BC
“I have had my new paddle on a three day trip. Day 2 happened to challenge us with the roughest conditions I have ever met in open sea. The VIpaddle did it’s job. The finish and grip worked excellent with bare hands. With neoprene gloves the varnish surface appeared somewhat slippery, so for the most confident paddling pogos and bare hands is the right thing. I am particularly pleased with the performance of the ferrule. The connection is very tight with no experienced play, and if I had expected the ferrule to be some kind of a weak point, there was nothing as such. The overall strength of the paddle is good, and I see no problem using it for rolling. Though, using the paddle as a tool for entering and exiting the kayak from/to land care must be taken. The light weight of the paddle is just fantastic. The blades are not as wide as on my regular paddle, but that did not affect experienced performance. All in all I am very pleased with the paddle, both in esthetic appearance and in use, thank you so much.”
— Øystein, from Sande i Sunnfjord, Norway
“She was singing and paddling ‘Row Row Row Your Boat.’ It was a big hit. As I was taking both out of the box she said ‘One for me and you, Daddy.'”
— Craig from Cold Lake, Alberta