-- Last Updated: Apr-07-13 3:30 PM EST --
I started WW with a GP because my roll was not that good and the GP allowed me more of a safety margin at the time. So perhaps, for someone with a shaky roll a GP might be better. It was for me. But I only ventured in easy white water at the time. If I had issues with my roll I would try to avoid roll or die situations by walking around them. But read further - not having to roll (i.e. staying upright) is even more important IMO in those critical situations.
Today, now that my roll has improved enough to not matter what paddle I use or if it is just half paddle or sometimes no paddle, for White Water use, I find a proper WW paddle to be decidedly superior to a GP. Yes, I see folks use GPs for rock gardening or WW, but for me the GP simply lacks the support you get from a nice wide short paddle. Yes, rolling with a GP might be easy, but going over in the first place is also a lot easier as bracing and support strokes are not as effective, especially in turbulent white water. The GP does not give me quick enough instant response to avoid obstacles or to brace or to draw sideways with power and solid stability like a WW paddle does. Over the last week I took my new GP on my usual WW circuit to test it. While it is great and easy to use in the easy sections, I switched to my AT 2 Flexi (0 offset) for some real play and hard paddling. The foam core AT 2 has just as much buoyancy and being a bent shaft is always easy to index (but rolls fine upside down or left side right too).
Just like I could but would not want to paddle with my WW paddle on the flats, I won't pickup the GP as my first choice paddle for the rough stuff either.
Deck Rigging Gear
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