Archive for the ‘Paddles’ Category

Well it is now less than seven weeks to Christmas and I am starting to look around for gifts for friends and family. Of course while shopping for them I am beginning to assemble my own list, just in case someone asks. Unfortunately not all of the items I discover make it to my list, some just get bought (lol!).

So with that confession let me recommend a great DVD called Simplifying the Roll with Helen Wilson¬†from Although I paddle a Euro blade and while the DVD does concentrate on layback rolls and advanced rolls using a Greenland paddle, it offers excellent advice for anyone who is trying to learn to roll or is trying to troubleshoot their on again / off again roll. In the section “Troubleshooting the Roll” Helen Wilson does a great job at pointing out some of the obvious mistakes we make and¬†some of the not so obvious ones that cause our roll to fail. The techniques in this section of the DVD are applicable to both disciplines of paddles.

This DVD is available directly from or if you are in the Tampa Bay area, from Sweetwater Kayaks at 727-570-4844.

Happy Rolling, Chad M.

Sometimes it is necessary to take a class after we buy a new piece of gear to add to our kayak kit.

A good friend and student of mine recently purchased a new paddle.  He was surprised to discover that after paddling with it that he had less control over his boat in heavy winds.  He paddles a Titan by Atlantis Kayaks normally with an old Scotland made Lendal Kinetik 215 cm paddle.  His new paddle is a Werner Cyprus 215 cm paddle.

forward stroke werner cyprus

I know from experience that both paddles are designed to enter the water at a high angle.  The Cyprus is lighter in weight and has a more aggressive concave spoon shape than his Lendal.  His Lendal is about 10 years old.

This past weekend I discovered a few things about his paddling.  He was accustom to a strong purchase when he paddled with his Scottish Lendal.  And he was trying to get the same feel from his Cyprus.  Consequently he was over powering the paddle and finishing each stroke in a stern rudder position.

After an hour of practicing he is back to taking short strokes and is loving the quick catch and firm purchase of his new Cyprus.  Granted he still says that he misses the strong grip that his Kinetik has in the water.


I use a Greenland style paddle designed by Chris Raab owner of Tuktu Paddles.  I have to admit Tuktu Paddles designs all of my Greenland paddles.  At one time I was sponsored by Tuktu Paddles.  Chris has always been helpful in answering questions, and shipping me and my students custom orders in a timely manner.   He also makes some great traditional single blade paddles.  I use an Alaskan Tlingit style single blade paddle when I go fishing.  Chris did some custom artwork on it of an Alaskan Tlingit raven.

tuktu_paddles_sponsorOutside of being cool and steeped in history there is a logical reason why I sometimes paddle with a Greenland style paddle than an Euro-blade design.¬† The wet surface area of the Greenland blade is equal to or greater than the common kayak paddle.¬† The benefit of the stretched out blade is the even distribution of water pressure along the blades’ surface. This also produces a soft glide and transition within the water. And the ability to conserve energy.

The paddler uses a stroke that matches their body, sometimes long and low Рother times like a wing paddle.  The technology of the paddle design  requires less movement of the wrists, elbows, and shoulders. Heavy winds also have less affect on the smaller profile. Thus feathering the paddle is unnecessary. Consequently, the style of usage of this wood paddle generally reduces fatigue, decreases a potential of developing tendonitis or tenosynovitis, and is nice to the muscular-skeletal system of the human body.

Moreover, the wood shaft is warm on cold days and cool on hot days.

Some believe that a Greenland style paddle is not fast.¬† That is not true.¬† The paddle is efficient in transferring a paddler’s core energy into the water.¬† Some experience a slow start with the initial plant and purchase (catch of water).¬† However,¬† it is like a warming up your engine.¬† The Greenland paddle starts slow but will steadily overcome other paddles due to the Greenland design.¬† And modern wing paddles mimic the flow of a Greenland paddle.

The paddle design does take some getting accustom to.  Many first timers try to overpower this type of paddle the first time they put it into the water.  The paddle will quickly inform the paddler if they are not using it correctly.  There will be air pools around the paddle, or the paddle will vibrate.  Or the most dramatic effect in misuse of the paddle can result in an unplanned capsize.  So, a new paddler needs instruction in how to benefit from the paddle.

If you do not already own your own Greenland traditional kayak qajaq paddle then check out Tuktu Paddles  They offer Greenland style kayak paddles, storm paddles and, single blade sea kayak & canoe paddles, in a wide variety of styles and options.  Pick from their in stock catalog or order a paddle custom made to fit you.  All of their paddles are handmade so let them make a paddle that fits you.

There are other manufactures of Greenland paddles; however, I am not familiar with the quality of neither the paddles nor their customer service. Nevertheless, here is a list of five companies that I have come across that make Greenland Qajaq paddles: Betsie Bay Kayak Paddles, Cricket Designs, Friday Harbor Paddles, Mitchell Paddles, NOVORCA, Turtle Paddle Works.  And if you are looking for a traditional Aleut paddle check out Skinboats.  (What is an Aleut paddle?  The answer will be coming soon.)

NOTE: We offer this information here as a service.  As with any products consumers should investigate and determine on their own which equipment, best fits their needs and budget.

I choose to sometimes use a single blade Tuktu Paddle when I go kayak fishing for one reason.  Paddling should stay simple.  When meandering through the mangrove trails in Tampa Bay Florida it is a simple maneuver to use a single blade kayak paddle, also known as a canoe paddle, for it does not get easily hung up on low hanging branches.  Nor do I need to worry about dunking my fishing reel into the saltwater to break down a two-piece kayak paddle.

It is an easy trick for me to quickly transition from paddling to casting.  The Tuktu Paddle silently slides neatly under the bow compartment straps of my Ocean Kayak Prowler 13.  In addition, because of the paddles convenient size it makes a great backup paddle when it is stowed on the port side of my kayak under a bungee strap.  This old yet tried and true paddle technology of the first anglers is a great type of paddle.  It is compact, easy to use, and a great part of fishing history.  Go to to get you piece of fishing history today.


The paddle has a traditional Tlingit raven design on it