I use a Greenland style paddle designed by Chris Raab owner of Tuktu Paddles. I have to admit Tuktu Paddles designs all of my Greenland paddles. At one time I was sponsored by Tuktu Paddles. Chris has always been helpful in answering questions, and shipping me and my students custom orders in a timely manner. He also makes some great traditional single blade paddles. I use an Alaskan Tlingit style single blade paddle when I go fishing. Chris did some custom artwork on it of an Alaskan Tlingit raven.
Outside of being cool and steeped in history there is a logical reason why I sometimes paddle with a Greenland style paddle than an Euro-blade design. The wet surface area of the Greenland blade is equal to or greater than the common kayak paddle. The benefit of the stretched out blade is the even distribution of water pressure along the blades’ surface. This also produces a soft glide and transition within the water. And the ability to conserve energy.
The paddler uses a stroke that matches their body, sometimes long and low – other times like a wing paddle. The technology of the paddle design requires less movement of the wrists, elbows, and shoulders. Heavy winds also have less affect on the smaller profile. Thus feathering the paddle is unnecessary. Consequently, the style of usage of this wood paddle generally reduces fatigue, decreases a potential of developing tendonitis or tenosynovitis, and is nice to the muscular-skeletal system of the human body.
Moreover, the wood shaft is warm on cold days and cool on hot days.
Some believe that a Greenland style paddle is not fast. That is not true. The paddle is efficient in transferring a paddler’s core energy into the water. Some experience a slow start with the initial plant and purchase (catch of water). However, it is like a warming up your engine. The Greenland paddle starts slow but will steadily overcome other paddles due to the Greenland design. And modern wing paddles mimic the flow of a Greenland paddle.
The paddle design does take some getting accustom to. Many first timers try to overpower this type of paddle the first time they put it into the water. The paddle will quickly inform the paddler if they are not using it correctly. There will be air pools around the paddle, or the paddle will vibrate. Or the most dramatic effect in misuse of the paddle can result in an unplanned capsize. So, a new paddler needs instruction in how to benefit from the paddle.
If you do not already own your own Greenland traditional kayak qajaq paddle then check out Tuktu Paddles www.tuktupaddles.com. They offer Greenland style kayak paddles, storm paddles and, single blade sea kayak & canoe paddles, in a wide variety of styles and options. Pick from their in stock catalog or order a paddle custom made to fit you. All of their paddles are handmade so let them make a paddle that fits you.
There are other manufactures of Greenland paddles; however, I am not familiar with the quality of neither the paddles nor their customer service. Nevertheless, here is a list of five companies that I have come across that make Greenland Qajaq paddles: Betsie Bay Kayak Paddles, Cricket Designs, Friday Harbor Paddles, Mitchell Paddles, NOVORCA, Turtle Paddle Works. And if you are looking for a traditional Aleut paddle check out Skinboats. (What is an Aleut paddle? The answer will be coming soon.)
NOTE: We offer this information here as a service. As with any products consumers should investigate and determine on their own which equipment, best fits their needs and budget.