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Submitted: 05-29-2007 by cooldoctor1
The Mitchell Horizon Greenland paddle (GP) is a wonderful addition to any kayaker’s paddle quiver. The Mitchell Company, located in New Canaan, NH, has been in business for 30 years making wood canoe and kayak paddles, and they have recently added wood-carbon fiber composites to their product line. As a Massachusetts native, I had always heard about Mitchell Paddles during my youth, but only recently was I able to own a Mitchell Horizon when Paddling.netter billinpa sold me his wonderfully refinished GP. I was immediately struck by the smooth finish, the lovely lamination, and the gentle stroke of this paddle. I understood that Greenland style paddling necessitates the use of the entire paddle, and the paddle dimensions must be precise for the paddler. Doug Van Doren, featured on cackletv.com and with his own set of Greenland videos, has many suggestions about getting the most from any GP. Using this as a guide, plus the experience of Greg Stamer (featured on the Nigel Foster DVD series), I ordered custom Mitchell Horizon paddles, and have found the service and caring of the company second to none. Yvonne Mitchell and her team have, through telephone calls and emails, secured all of my desires for the paddles: custom blade width, loom length, total paddle length and even materials selection. The price is highly reasonable given this special attention to such a personalized product, and Paddling Perks members receive a 15% discount, and there is even a deeper discount for larger orders. Mitchell Paddles is part of the paddling.net community and you will notice their top page banner at times on this site.
The paddles are always laminated, including the shaft, and the importance of this cannot be underestimated. Lamination is not only attractive, but serves the purpose of preventing bends, twists and warping as would a solid paddle, and also permits the paddle to be very thin, and thus lightweight. As Mitchell brand paddles are made with hardwood (walnut, ash, basswood, cherry) rather than softwood (cedar, pine), they have to be thin to maintain light weight. The strength despite thinness is achieved through lamination. The purchaser selects the wood type for the paddle.
The performance of the paddle is outstanding. Its reinforced, rounded edge it can handle some bumps and beach push-offs and still remain intact and elegant in its presentation in the water. Please note that, although some paddlers prefer a self-made paddle with a more gradual taper from loom to blade (i.e. thicker in the area of hand placement), the Horizon GP is soft shouldered (has a gradual transition from loom to blade), and one might select a narrower than expected loom length so that the palm of the hand contacts a “fatter” portion of the inner blade rather than all on the loom. I selected a 13-14 inch loom, which still provides me plenty of comfortable hand placement on the inner blade (the “effective” loom width is likely 17-19 inches). The balance of the paddle, with weight distributed over the entire length as opposed to a Euro paddle with weight at the blade ands, makes the Horizon GP seem even lighter when in use.
Any good Greenland paddle should perform well with hands at any point on the paddle, such as for extended paddle bracing. The Mitchell is thin at the blade ends, and thus takes some “getting used to”, but in no way is uncomfortable to the grasp.
In summary, I find the Mitchell Horizon GP to be a fabulous product with top notch care put into a custom, hand crafted paddle at a reasonable price. Anyone paddling with me is welcome to try one out. I own plenty of Werner and Epic carbon paddles, and yet the earthy warmth and graceful performance of the Mitchell GP has made it the first paddle I grab when I head to the lakes.
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