Why Did I Choose a Greenland Paddle?
By Velasquez's Logbooks, Stefano Vascotto
How many times have you wondered what kind of paddle is best for you. I began asking myself this question from the start, while for some of my kayaking friends this never seemed to be an issue.
But how do we choose a good paddle that satisfies us totally? There are many parameters to consider and to choose from and once you’ve started to evaluate all those you’re hardly in the mood to buy a new paddle and stick with your old one. You could say, better the old paddle you know and is comfortable with than go down a new path with a new paddle.
But let’s put our thoughts in order and make a list of what drives us to buy one over the other or to stay faithful to the old one. Undoubtedly one of the first thoughts is with regards to budget, If the funds are very limited even before thinking about buying a new paddle, which could possibly cost hundreds of euros, I would likely desist buying.
But my birthday and Christmas are close so I start thinking about it. My lifelong friend and adventure companion and I have always argued on what paddle is most powerful, responsive and what model makes you less tired. We never come to a conclusion. He prefers the Euro blade with adjustable blade angles. I have used Greenland paddles for years and now I have two Gearlab carbon models.
I think he likes the way that his kayak responds with a large blade while I’m fine in the longer distances and I do not tire easily. But never really knowing who is right, we rely on what we feel and each one of us holds on to our beliefs. It is not wrong to say that there are two different ways to paddle and that, I agree with him, when sea conditions get worse, I find my Greenland paddle, the AKIAK model, less reactive than the Euro blade. But that’s what Gearlab thought of when offering a surf paddle, the KAYAKID, which has a shorter length and a wider blade, details that make it suitable for rougher seas.
Anyway, given my experience with Greenland paddles, I would not go back today. The Greenland paddle is the one I stick to for many reasons. A paddle like this offers little resistance to wind and less wrist movement, so since I started using the Greenland paddle my days at sea have become more and more enjoyable and with fewer ailments.
The Gearlab models, such as my AKIAK, are unparalleled over long distances. The right length, proportioned to my anthropometric measurements and the main measurements of the kayak. Its very low weight allow you to paddle for hours without feeling tired, especially in the trapezius muscles and the forearms. In addition, the option to utilised the full paddle length for manoeuvring by just moving your hands (eg support and eskimo) is another benefit.
One point, not against, but a detail to be considered in the purchasing choice, but this would also apply to the Euro blades, is the vulnerability of materials such as carbon. Super light, rigid, but delicate in the event of an impact on rocks.
This fact always makes me a bit anxious when I paddle on shallow water depths with paddles like these. And that’s why Gearlab has made the tip more robust, with replaceable plastic ends/caps. These will take the hit in the eventuality of impact against the seabed or the rocks.
The models AKIAK and NUKILIK are also available in Kevlar versions that offer greater impact resistance. It is also true that carbon is a material that can not be attacked by salt and sunlight, factors that adds longevity to the paddle.
Another important detail is the possibility to split them in two parts. This makes transportation easier and the paddle can be easily fixed to the kayak deck cords and brought as a spare paddle during kayaking.
In short, you decide what to buy, but if you have a chance to try a Greenland paddle, perhaps from a friend, I’m sure you will agree with the thoughts I’ve shared in these few lines.
- The original article is released on Velasquez's Logbooks.