It appears to me that the art and science of Inuit kayaking reached it’s highest development in Greenland and the Aleutian Islands. The Aleutian paddle is based on sound engineering. The power face of the paddle is the ribbed face. The rib had two big advantages. As the ribbed power face is pulled through the water, it creates turbulence and increases drag. Therefore less surface area is required to achieve the optimum ‘bite’ or resistance. The rib creates a strong T shape so the necessary strength is achieved with a lighter construction. I have used my Aleut paddles for over 100 days of kayaking on Vancouver Island and Baja. The weight varies from 850 to 950 grams. The tips and edges are yellow cedar which is strong and wears well. The Aleut has become my favourite paddle for touring.
This layup is made from one piece of yellow cedar for the blades and one piece of red cedar for the loom. The loom is egg shaped and fits the hands perfectly. The base of the blades provides ‘indexing’ for hands that are accustomed to a Greenland paddle.