Paddles and Speed

Question: I love my thin stick, but in the reading I’ve done, I’ve not been able to establish if they are faster than a fat blade. Do the Greenlanders use them only because they enjoy them or because they are faster as well? They are so delightful to use and easy to make I can’t understand why more people don’t use them. Thanks for any help you can give.

Answer: The speed of a kayaker has to do with many factors; including the kayak itself, but mainly, the technique of the person paddling it. The three main types of paddles are traditional paddles (Greenland sticks), European paddles (the Euro blade) and wing paddles. It is believed by many that of the three types, the wing blade is the fastest. Of the other two… it depends who you ask. I believe that it comes down to technique.

When I was in Greenland I only saw Greenland paddles. The purpose of the Greenland National Kayaking Championship is to preserve the traditions of the Greenlandic culture, and therefore, only traditional gear is used. However, the Greenland paddle is a remarkable tool, and so my thought falls to the common saying, “If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.” This might be part of the reason that the European blade hasn’t become popular in Greenland.

As you said yourself, “they are so delightful to use and easy to make.” I have found that my Greenland paddles works well in everything I paddle in, from flat water to surf, and I don’t use any other kind of paddle. Hope this helps.

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