Use the Contact form to ask me a question

How do I maintain my wooden paddle? 

Why do you recommend a Greenland Paddle rather than a Euro-blade?

  • Greenland paddles are kind to yours hands. The hands contact more surface area and reduce pressure points. My hands used to hurt after long trips with a Euro-blade paddle.
  • Greenland paddles are kind to your joints. The peak loads on shoulder joints are reduced because of the lower surface area of the blade. Many people have switched to a Greenland paddle because their joints hurt when using a Euro-blade.
  • You can move your hands and extend the paddle for powerful sweep strokes and braces.
  • You can practice the 35 braces, sculls and rolls in the Greenland rolling competition.
  • When you master the forward stroke with a Greenland paddle, it raises kayaking to a new level of grace and efficiency.

Greenland Paddles are Superior in Every Way

 Why Does The Greenland Paddle Work?

Why is the blade so small? Does that really work?

  • I measured the surface area of typical Greenland and Euro-blade paddles and found that there is less difference than most people think. Greenland paddles have about 85% of the surface area of a typical Euro-blade.
  • The blade of a Greenland paddle is the optimum size for a kayak paddle. A smaller blade would not provide enough “bite” or resistance in the water. A larger blade would provide too much resistance, increase weight and reduce efficiency.
  • One of the advantages of a custom wood paddle is that the surface area of the blade can be adjusted to the requirements of the individual paddler. A 130 pound female may need a smaller blade than a 200 pound male.  A Greenland paddle for surfing and rock gardening can be made with a larger blade for greater acceleration and bite in aerated water.

 What do the numbers on the paddle mean? IMG_9249

  • RW = RavenWoods
  • 87 = number identifying the paddle
  • 47 = the length of the loom in centimeters
  • 870 = the mass (weight) of the paddle in grams

baidarka 1 Bow stem with oak

Why does a baidarka have a split bow? Does it have a function?

The split bow of a baidarka has puzzled a lot of people. I think the answer is very simple.  Look at the bow  of a Romany or other Brit style kayak head on. The sides of the kayak are concave. The narrow keel slices through the water and the wider deck profile at the top provides “buoyancy and bounce”. When the bow slams into a wave the wider part at the top provides floatation and a wider surface that planes upward toward the surface of the wave. Think of a skin stretched over a bow stem on a skin on frame kayak. The best way to create a concave surface is to split the bow stem and stitch through the split to pull the skin together.

baidarka bow

The low bow of a baidarka catches less wind than an upturned bow. It also dives into waves more. My experience surfing a number of different kayaks indicates  that concave bow profiles will plane up to the surface much better than bows with flat V shared sides.

I found similar explanations in both Baidarka by George Dyson and Qayaq by David Zimmerly.

One disadvantage of the split bow is that kelp and sticks can get trapped in it. Some Aleuts blocked the split with a piece of wood. I choose to leave the skin covering the split so it does not become a ‘kelp catcher.