Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The sweet Greenland paddle...that darn near got away!

An extra-low tide, at Descanso Regional Park, on Gabriola Island.
Joan, innocently posing, with my new paddle. 
The next thing, she's launched and heading out to sea...with MY new paddle! 
Catching up - the paddle is back in sight...
...and now back in MY, warm little hands - finally!
So, maybe Joan should write this little review of my new Greenland paddle, since she had the first opportunity to use it! Sheesh. :) 

In a word, this paddle, created by Randy Millar at  VIPaddles in Nanaimo, is sweet. Life has been busy so I (we) didn't have a chance to give it its first test for almost two weeks. It sat, in our home, a veritable work of art, begging to be dipped into the salt water. Lightweight and made of dark, Western Red Cedar from Malcolm Island, it looks gorgeous. I opted for the two-piece, take-apart paddle as space is always at a premium and I also wanted the option of being able to "feather" it. That's the way I've always paddled - and without any wrist discomfort thus far. The perfectly fitted carbon-fibre ferrule permits feathering either way (Joan and I paddle "opposites"), or unfeathered. Choice is good.

We both found that, after many years of using the broader bladed, Euro-style paddle, the very first, (overly-enthusiastic) stroke was a little like pulling a hot knife through soft butter! ("Nice recovery brace, Joan." Haha.) It wasn't many strokes later, however, that the paddle felt right at home in our hands and in the water.

We remembered when we had Greenland paddles years ago, with our Nautiraid Expedition kayak, you felt like you could paddle all day. Indeed, this style of paddle, once you're moving, requires less physical effort than the Euro blade - a definite plus for long days on the water or multi-day trips. In a very short sprint from a "floating" stop, you'll certainly win with the Euro but once you're up to cruising speed, that's when you feel the difference in terms of effort required. The paddling style is also slightly different and, somehow, the Greenland paddle seems to actually encourage proper twisting of the torso, which ensures that the propulsive power is coming (as it should) from the "core" as opposed to simply the shoulders and the arms.

Paddle in hands and heading across the Salish Sea -
 to the mainland of Canada!
(Well, OK, that's a bit far for a day paddle.)
We were just out for about two and a half hours and, quite frankly, I (we) loved every stroke. The narrow blade functioned perfectly and felt clean and pristine. In our imaginations, the paddle provided a connection to the distant past, to the very earliest sea-going kayakers  - possibly 4000 years ago.

Back on shore and keeping the VIPaddle at close quarters.
Will I ever use my Euro paddle again? Of course. Joan and I both have graphite, Cadence "Medusa" paddles, a gift from some very special folks in Calgary. We treasure them. Again, it's nice to have choice. Having both a Euro and a Greenland, however, is like having your cake, and eating it too - it's pretty darn sweet! If you're looking for a beautifully made Greenland paddle, give Randy a call at VIPaddles, here on Vancouver Island (VI). You'll be glad you did.



  1. Geesh when I read the title I thought maybe you had dropped it overboard! Looks like a good day out on the water and a pretty cool looking paddle to boot:)

  2. Haha, no worries, L - it's on a "leash". It was Joan that almost escaped with it! Yes, it was a pretty cool day to be out. D.

  3. When I saw that paddle on the porch, I thought no way are they going to take it into the water. So glad you both survived and that the paddle is home safe and sound. Pleased you had a fun day on the water. TTYS.

  4. Thanks J. As fine a piece of work as it is, it was meant to, well, "work". That means, of course, propelling the kayak. You'll be glad to know it not only survived but came out unscathed. I'm afraid it will eventually suffer from some "experience" marks. Nothing a little sandpaper and tung oil won't clean up. :) Appreciate you coming by. D.

  5. I can hear you out there purring, Duncan - Sheila

  6. Well, I guess I have to change the way I sign off as anonymous as someone else signs off J. I may use my middle initial "O". Just letting you know ahead of time. However, on this paddle business. YOU have a Greenland. How about Joan. We need to talk about this.

  7. Thanks, S, yeah, that's the sound of a kayak pleased to be on the water. You know the old saying, "a kayak on the roof rack is safe, but that's not what kayaks are for". (Something like that anyway.) D.

    HI O, You know, I think your sympathies should lie with me. After all, I took all the risk in the decision to buy this new paddle - and, while I'm distracted, taking a nice photograph, Joan launches (with MY new paddle) and heads out to sea, leaving me in her wake! :)

    Thanks guys, appreciate your words.

  8. You've taken some nice shots Duncan. We'll make believers of them (GPs) yet.

  9. That's right, Randy. You keep making the Greenland paddles and I'll keep spreading the word! :)