Tips for Transitioning to a Greenland Paddle
By Gearlab Outdoors
Some experienced paddlers may be put off by the thought of starting from scratch with a new style of paddle, but in reality the Greenland paddle is exceptionally easy to learn, for both beginners and veteran paddlers alike. The grip is slightly different, with your hands gripping the loom closer together than with a Euro-blade, your elbows lower and your hands wrapped a lot more loosely around the paddle. When you watch an experienced Greenland paddler you will notice they barely seem to grip the paddle at all, but rather let it almost rest in a semi-open hand.
The paddling action is extremely relaxed as well, a fluid and gentle rotation which does not require the more forceful stabbing of the blade into the water during the catch or ‘popping’ it out during the release as commonly seen with Euro-blade paddles. Paddlers also tend to end the stroke slightly further back, as power builds throughout the stroke and reaches its peak during the final phase. So your stroke will feel longer and more flowing with your blade exiting well behind your hip. You may initially notice less power during acceleration, but will learn to compensate by slightly increasing your cadence to build speed. Remember, the idea of using a Greenland paddle is not to increase the raw power of each stroke by hauling, but rather to conserve energy by gradually accumulating cadence and speed.
One common question a new convert to the Greenland paddle will have is “What angle should I canter my blade to?” In reality, this is a difficult question to answer and you will need to experiment to find the “sweet spot”. Angling the top edge too far forward will lead to a wobble or flutter in the water and you may suddenly feel unbalanced. So start off with only the slightest forward angle and increase gradually until you find the perfect angle. Take your time, relax and let the paddle speak to you. There are a number of fantastic resources online regarding the proper technique for various strokes that become possible with a Greenland paddle. You can find links to a few below.
A beginners guide to Greenland paddles
by Cape Falcon Kayak
How to paddle efficiently with a Greenland paddle
by Online Sea Kayaking
Manke Kayak Courses