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Submitted: 07-09-2009 by willowleaf
I had borrowed a Greenland style paddle and like the way it felt. The higher cadence technique seemed to reduce my Feathercraft Kahuna's tendency to weathercock. After checking out several sites for handcrafted wooden paddles, I settled on David Smith's Friday Harbor Paddles in Washington State. David has "stock" styles and sizes but essentially makes most to order.
I chose the "Seal" model made of 5 horizontal laminations of cedar with curved tips, no shoulder and the oil/varnish blend finish. The paddle arrived, very nicely packaged, about two weeks later. It is an absolute work of art, displaying excellent craftsmanship with lovely contrasting tones in the wood, graceful lines and a finish I can only describe as soft and smooth as a baby's bottom.
I first used it this past weekend with my new Greenland-style boat on a trip to Lake Michigan. The paddle was delightful to use. The finish offers a firm grip, with or without gloves, yet slides easily when you release. The paddle is light and well-balanced and the eccentric cross section of the loom fit my hands perfectly and kept the blades aligned. The blades enter and follow the stroke through the water quietly with far less splash than my conventional Werner produces, developing an amount of forward thrust that is surprising for their slender profile. I also tried it with the Kahuna during that trip and found that the Greenland style did, indeed, seem to correct some of that boat's tendency to waffle (we were paddling in strong chop and reflected powerboat wakes in a busy harbor).
Needless to say, I am very pleased with this paddle. In fact, it is so lovely that I "store" it on the fireplace mantle in my living room and am often tempted to take it down and run my hands over its satiny surface!
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