Sea kayaking enthusiasts looking to save money on their kayak paddles and interested in learning how to roll a sea kayak with less strain on their joints do well to carve a Greenland paddle.
The job is not that difficult and is not beyond the abilities of the average hand tool user. There are a number of resources to turn to, including Charles Holst’s free and downloadable pdf file on Greenland paddle carving and Brian Nystrom’s comprehensive self-published book.
Brian’s book includes detailed photographs that cover building a Greenland paddle, from choosing a cedar blank to modifying the design to finishing the paddle with tung oil, fiberglass and epoxy.
Another helpful resource is web designer Matt Johnson’s video on the process. He’s made it widely available on the web in both long and short versions. If you’re interested in carving your own Greenland paddle for sea kayaking (or kayak fishing, for that matter), Matt has since stored on YouTube an eight minute clip from his useful video.
He shot the video with a digital video camera. Matt mentions but mumbles Chuck Holst’s valuable and free pdf, which gives specs on how to carve from a blank, including how to make the first crucial rough cuts.
Due to youtube storage and compression issues, the video quality is a little herky jerky, but not too distracting, and the sound is somewhat out sync with the video, sort of like a dubbed action film, but still you get the point.
In the segment Matt describes some of the tools you’ll need to make your own Greenland paddle, and how to choose a good piece of cedar. His full scale version of the video, available in two files sizes, is smoother and cleaner, but takes a while to download.
Matt’s video is already widely known and has been heavily viewed through a number of outlets, including his own website. Carving a Greenland sea kayaking paddle is a lot easier than you might think. And using a Greenland paddle for sea kayaking, including how to roll a sea kayak, can be an eye-opening experience. Nice about the paddles is that since they are wood, they are re-shapeable. Paddle your first one for a season, discover it’s too long or too thick at the blades or the shoulder, and all you have to do is take a sander and reshape, applytung oil, and you’ve got a new paddle.
Also a Greenland sea kayaking paddle can be reinforced in crucial spots such as the tips and the blade edges with fiberglass, plastic inlay, or thin strips of oak. Greenland paddles are handy and fast once you get used to them. And they create less stress and strain on the wrists, elbows and shoulders because of their softer feel and tendency to flex at the shaft and blade.
Finally, many sea kayaking enthusiasts find Greenland paddles easier for rolling and bracing. Because the four paddle sides are symmetrical and identical, you don’t need to twist your wrist so much to present the power face to the surface of the water.
To read more about sea kayaking and kayak fishing, see the content-rich blogs Sea Kayaking Dot Net and NorthAmerican Kayak Fishing