If you just go for a paddle than you can stop thinking about wanting to go for a paddle.

Friday, June 22, 2012

2012: Post 19 – Death of my Greenland Paddle

I sometimes say that “if you do not capsize now and then you just aren’t trying hard enough...”  I guess I can now say that “if you do not break a paddle now and then you just aren’t trying hard enough...”  I guess I tried hard enough at last night’s St. Philips Thursday evening get-together because I finally broke a GP.

I made this particular GP over two years ago and have been using it exclusively for all my paddles, pools sessions, and Thursday practices.  That would put it at more than 200 times used.  Not bad for a paddle that cost less than thirty dollars in materials and about eight hours of rather enjoyable labour.

This is what more than two years worth of wear looks like

A couple months ago I started hearing little cracking sounds in the loom, especially when digging in a little harder when paddling.  There were a couple little cracks in the loom, one of them being nearly vertical.  I decided that it would be prudent to start carrying my spare when going to the Thursday practices (often I do not as we just mostly just stay in the cove).

As I do not see the vertical crack any more, I believe the location
of the break was where the vertical crack was 

Last night I brought my spare but decided to leave it in the car… note to self and others, treat Thursday practices the same as a paddle, take the darn spare!  Anyway, when I practice high braces I will do them with both non-extended and extended paddle positions.  Well, I guess I did just one extended paddle high brace too many, and my GP decided it had had enough of that kind of abuse. It broke in two pieces, with the longer piece floating away. 

It’s funny the things you think about in times like that.  My first thought was “can I roll with half a paddle.”  I wish I would have tried to, but I had not succeeded in half-paddle rolling when I was using a Euro paddle and, never having half a GP before, I have never practiced that particular skill…

My second thought was “I should have taken my spare”. In the event that I ever lost my paddle during a capsize, I have practiced tipping over without a paddle in my hands and simply pulling my spare GP off my front deck and rolling with it…

So then my final thought was to just bail.  The other guys were alongside me and they would rescue me from the perils of the deep...  

After I was back in my kayak (thanks for the rescue, Brian) I was offered the use of one of the guy’s spare Euro paddles.  A Euro paddle now feels odd in my hands, and I just couldn’t get my mind around having to use one with my spare GP only a few hundred metres away.  So, I opted to paddle back to the car with a half GP paddle to get my spare, after which everything felt perfect again in my kayak world.

So now I have to choose one of my other GP’s to use as my main paddle.  I have two paddles out on loan and four more sitting in the basement, one of which has never been used (made last spring).  I tell people that you should have a minimum of three GP’s on hand… one to paddle with… one that you carry as your spare while you paddle… and one left at home in case you break one while paddling… and then the one at home becomes your spare while you busy yourself making a replacement... Of course, with a few extra GP’s you can loan them out to your Euro paddling buddies in an effort to coerce them over to the wonderful world of the GP!!!

GP forever, man!


  1. Dean, I'm thinking narsaq roll with one half of the GP. Might be interesting to simulate the break again and try the narsaq in case it happens agin.

    Tony :-)

  2. yeah - I was thinking to saw off the jagged end and using it to practice rolling with it (or I should say practice attempting to roll with it)...

  3. Dean: You should consider putting plastic tips on there. My current paddle was made in February 2010 and has no signs of damage on the tips. My tips are also tapered down to about 3/16" but even with this narrow edge, the plastic is holding up incredibly well. The link below is to an image I just took.


  4. I know that the narrow edge makes for a more quiet water entry, and probably a little bit more efficient paddling... I purposefully left mine more blunt... when I started making them I read someplace that leaving the end thicker will help it stand up to abuse longer... and I have little reservations about pushing off rocks of the bottom!!! But adding the plastic tip will certainly keep the ends from wearing. The next time I make one I might try adding the tips. What kind of epoxy do you use?

  5. P.S. I also like the black bed-liner spray on the ends... Would just spraying on bed-liner do the job or do you need to add the plastic first??

  6. You could also go with a plastic tip AND a thicker tip for added protection. The bed liner only protects the surface of the blades not the edges of the tips!!