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Submitted: 01-27-2009 by sk
This is not from a multiple GP owner(in fact never tried one before) or written from the standpoint of a true Greenland paddler. This review is for others like me considering a first GP at an affordable price, just for the sake of having it to play around with...
I am not a "Greenland paddler" and have no plans to own a Greenland boat (I have a kevlar CD Solstice) but I was interested in the paddles. Being a new kayaker (just the last 7 months or so) I did not even know about Greenland paddles when I decided to modify my recreational paddle & reshaped the blade into a smaller symmetrical shape. I did this with the mindset that the reduced area would make paddling easier over long distance. Lo and Behold, it turns out that Greenland paddles have worked off this concept for thousands of years before I cut up my plastic paddle blade (which now has a Catalina Island crossing and many open ocean miles to it's name, so I know reduced paddle size works fine and helps over long hauls).
Therefore it was a no-brainer that I had to at least own one GP... well in my search I was not looking for an expensive wall hanger,and had no plans to paddle with hardcore GP paddlers, plus budget was an issue, so basic working paddle was what I wanted. I found that Ken's paddles were some of the most affordable laminated paddles and as a bonus he carries basic sizes in stock, so I didn't have to make phone calls or wait on a custom builders waiting list..
I am not saying custom sizing to perfection is not important, but for me to have an affordable play paddle the sizing was very close to my measurements anyway (I got the 87 inch for my CD Solstice and it works great).
Anyway the paddle is very nicely made (again I can't compare to other GP's) and was smoothly finished. Everything is very symmetrical (I measured most all point to verify this). The laminations are tight and clean and look good. The tips are not protected in anyway, but I don't usually hit rocks where I paddles, so we will see how it holds up there.
As one would expect of Cedar, it does ding pretty easy. It arrived in bubble wrap with a few small dings from shipping (I admit it hurts to see a ding on your paddle, but it is much easier to ignore on a $150 paddle than the average cost of $250 for some others).
The last reviewer mentioned thickness. Though I can't compare to other GP's I will say that being a euro paddle owner it was strange to see the thick blade of a GP, but I prefer a more durable paddle anyway, so any sizing difference from a more expensive GP is not an issue at this point of my GP experience.
From the stand point of a new GP paddler I had a chance to take it out today in perfect test conditions for a GP. Today there was a small craft advisory in California with 15-20 mph winds and 30 gust. I did 4 miles in the Los Angeles Harbor and about 1 mile round trip on open ocean (much windier and rougher out there) and the paddle performed great..
I just used the paddle the same way I use my euro and used my high angle stroke. The paddle worked great. I also tried the lower GP style and it was fine. I am not trying to emulate Inuit paddlers anyway so I am sticking to what I prefer since it works for me.. there is not as much bite as my small modified blade rec paddle, yet I still made my paddle back thru very strong headwind in about the same time as my euro takes, and just as they say I was not as fatigued doing it...Plus the wood paddle has the advantage that it only makes a dull thump if you hit your boat, unlike metal or carbon shafts)..
There is a noticeable difference in head on wind since the narrow blade does not even feel like wind catches it..remember I cut my rec paddle down fairly small and I feel the wind, so if you have a stock paddle you will really feel the difference going to a GP.. even if you feather a regular blade you have side winds to worry about, so overall GP wins here.. I will admit in bracing the euro seems to give more immediate support (obviously having a larger blade and my lack of GP skill at this point probably make the difference)..
One area that most surprised me was extended paddle sweep turns. I have tried turning in heavy winds with a euro with little affect in my straight tracking boat, but the GP really turns amazing.. The extended strokes felt so easy yet I made turns in the heavy winds today, that felt impossible with my euro. I can't explain it, but it was noticeably easier..
Overall for the price and the in stock options I could not be happier. Ken was also great about letting my know when he was shipping it out...For a first GP, this is a great affordable paddle (one of the more affordable laminated models I found).
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