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The paddle is reasonably stiff and smooth. However, it's joints don't smoothly line up leaving ridges that the hand must pass over while manipulating the paddle. Compared to other carbon fiber paddles, I find it relatively heavy. I also find that the upper portion of the blade, next to the loom is fairly wide: wider than I personally like for the size of my hands, which are pretty normal. The loom diameter is comfortable, and the edges not too wide, though they could be thinner in my opinion.
All in all, a good backup paddle but not one likely to be my go to.
I paddle a hardcore layup Tiderace Xcite; I am an ACA L4 Coastal instructor with a Traditional Skills endorsement.
I have had my NLP Greenland for about 4 months. It has quickly become my go to paddle for rolling and short day paddles playing in the chop. Paddling with the NLP is a joy for me. The paddle fits my frame and hands well. It has nice power with very little flex. When the conditions are rough, The NLP is solid and reassuring with each stroke. I have paddled with a WRC Greenland paddle that overly flexed and struggled in rough conditions. It is comforting to hit a strong power stroke and know the paddle will do its job and take the abuse.
I am an average roller at best. When rolling with the NLP Greenland,it has a reassuring glide through the water and very little flex. It just works well for me. What really separates the NLP Greenland paddle from others, is that it breaks down into 3 pieces. Great for storage and travel. Assembly and dis-assembly are a breeze with two recessed screws at each end of the loom. An allen wrench comes with the paddle.
Over all, I think the NLP GP is a great new product that fits a nitch at a very good value.
I have paddled for about 5 years using Greenland paddles, first with a red cedar paddle made by Don Beale and then with Superior Kayak carbon fiber paddles, both a one-piece and a two-piece. The wood Beale and the Superior carbon fiber paddles have almost identical shapes. The shape of the Northern Light is different in two ways that don't work as well for me. One is that the loom is a bit more oval and the shoulder is harder. My first long day paddling with it, it felt OK at first, but I later developed soreness in my thumb that I have never experienced with my other paddles. The same happened after a second day paddling. After experimenting trading off paddles, I finally figured out that on the Northern Light I was hooking my thumb around the loom enough to pull a bit with my thumb rather than just my other fingers. It happens because the combination of the shape of the loom and the shape of the hard shoulder more or less forces my hand to fall in a particular angle that isn't optimal for my hand. I have bigger-than-normal hands and long thumbs, so this may be a problem only for my particular hands.
The second difference in the shape of the Northern Light compared to a Superior carbon fiber or Beale wooden paddle is that the Northern Light blade is flatter, less convex. I found that this induced a propensity to flutter a bit with my normal stroke. Again, this may be specific to my particular stroke and not happen for other people, but it is certainly a difference from my other paddles, which I cannot make flutter even if I try.
Compared to other carbon fiber Greenland paddles, the Northern Light is an incredible bargain - the three-piece is cheaper than other one-piece paddles. And the break-down into three short pieces is really great for traveling. So if it fits your hand shape and your stroke, it is a really great deal, and the paddle seems very well made and likely to last well. However, if at all possible, I would recommend trying it before purchasing. I bought it by mail-order and was not able to return it even with a discount when I found it didn't work for me. No blame to the seller, since there were no defects in the paddle, but it doesn't work well enough for me that I will use it in place of other paddles, even when traveling.
The finish is incredibly smooth on the blades and on the loom. There is a seam at the joint where the sections slide together, but it also is smooth and hands or gloves will not catch on them. The finish is not glossy, it is a nice matte finish which plays nicely to my sense of aesthetics.
When I tried it I wasn't sure about the hard shoulders of the blades. I thought it might cause some problems with sliding the paddle for extended strokes, but my hands glided right over them and lent themselves nicely as to where my hands were on the paddle. The blades are slightly hollowed out along the center ridge which I imagine lends itself to the stiff nature of the paddle. The loom inserts slide snugly into the blades and, in a pinch, probably wouldn't require the bolts to hold the sections together. The bolts are stainless steel and fit smoothly into the recess on the blades and don't catch on the hands or gloves. Also, the bolts are easily available and can be found at any hardware store or fastener supplier.
This paddle feels great. no vibration or cavitation, no efficiency lost due to flex, and great hand feel. As I was commenting above on the shoulders, I tried going from a scull in the normal position to an extended scull and the shoulder slid past my hand nice and easy. As I tried some rolls I noticed just how stiff the paddle was. It has a little flex to it but certainly not like I've felt in some wooden paddles.
I've had the opportunity to take it into some of my favorite play spots in Deception Pass to put it to the test and all the good feeling I had about it were confirmed. After all, it's one thing to try it out in flat water, but another thing entirely to try it out in Deception Pass's Room of Doom with boat swallowing whirlpools and boils.
One of my gripes about paddling with Greenland paddles is trying to store it during transport. The breakdown design alleviates this problem entirely. Paul says, carefully in his website, that the reason he designed this paddle was for travel. Well I say bollocks to that, this is one of my go to paddles whether I'm just out for some miles or playing in the rough stuff.
Hands down a great production paddle and accessible for those interested in trying Greenland techniques without going through the hassle of a custom paddle sized specifically for them or carving it themselves.
The Northern Light Paddle is a great paddle, not just for travel. It fits nicely in the hand. The shoulders are just right. It enters the water cleanly and there is no cavitation. It is very buoyant and good for rolling. I have put many miles on mine by now and continue to love it.
I am planning a trip on the Maine coast in a couple of weeks and plan to take the NLP as a spare on the back deck and probably one as my main paddle. I tested this idea, to make sure it would work. I put the paddle on my back deck with one blade and the loom held together with one screw. The other blade was stored separately under the bungees. Normally the 3-pieces are held together with two screws. I pulled the pieces off the back deck, put it together, minus one screw and paddled with it for four miles. It was as solid as if it had both screws in place. I also rolled a half dozen times, same thing. I think it is the best spare a person could have. One could also break it down in three pieces and put it in one of the hatches.
A great deal of work has been done to make the paddle extremely durable. Time will tell, but I have every reason to believe it will give many days of good service.
It feels very nice in my hands and I have already put close to 100 km on it. Though it comes with a storm paddle "insert", a shouldered storm paddle is not for me so I expect I will only use it in "normal" mode. The 3-piece joints seem to be rock solid and the paddle is tough - carbon paddles seem much more wear and tear resistant than wood ones. If you are in the market for a Greenland paddle, this is very worth while considering.
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