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Our Paddle Making Philosophy
Native Paddle Dynamics
Paddle Care and Maintenance
We offer traditional wooden paddles of the Greenland and Aleut variety. Each of these paddles has particular strengths to recommend it. All paddles are custom made to suit your specific needs.
Show me the PaddlesIf you want to skip the testimonials and explanations and see the paddles right now, Click Here.
We could go on about the virtues of our paddles, but we think the opinons of our customers might be more convincing.
Alison Sigethy writes about her 86" bent shaft Greenland paddle:
Alison competed in the 2006 Greenland National Championships. A story on her quest is profiled here.
Marshall Woodruff commenting on his 86" bent shaft Greenland paddle. He ordered his after trying Alison's paddle (see previous testimonial):
Reiner Wuestefeld of Finland ordered a bent shaft and a grooved Aleut paddle.
How to Order
Contact me directly by phone or email so we can discuss your paddling needs and answer your questions.
Paddles are finished with several coats of tung oil. Paddle tips are treated with epoxy for extra scratch resistance. All finishes have advantages and disadvantages. We have chosen the tung oil - epoxy combo for its nonslip finish and ease of user maintenance. For more info on the standard finish and its maintenance, see Paddle Care and Maintenance
Shipping and Handling Costs
Shipping and Handling is $50 in the United States and roughly $150 outside the United States. Shipping costs are high because of the length of the package. Once a package gets over a certain length, carriers charge by length rather than by weight.
Our Paddle PhilosophyYou can get our detailed philosophy of paddle making here, but the short version is this: We strive for paddles that are light in weight and have a good amount of flex to give them a lively feel. Paddle blades are thin with sharp edges for maximum bite on the water. If you would like a robust paddle that can take a lot of abuse, please let us know and we can supply that as well. But in genreal, we aim for a paddle that will be easy on your joints and efficient to use for cruising.
Paddle Size conversion
If your previous experience has been primarily with Euro-paddles, then you probably relate to paddle lengths in centimeters instead of inches. Below is a length conversion chart for paddle lengths from 84 to 102 inches.
84" = 213cm
Proper paddle sizing means finding both the right overall length for your paddle and the length of the loom. While there are various formulas for this, such as the rule that the paddle should be as long as the distance from the ground to the tips of your fingers of your hand outstretched over the top of your head, that rule is an approximation only and should not be followed unless some other factors are also taken into consideration. The loom of the paddle should be at least long enough so that when your hands are at the roots of the blades in paddling position, they are at the same separation as when your arms hang down at your side. If your boat is wider, such as a double or sit-on-top or folding expedition boat, you may want the loom to be as long as the boat is wide so you don't bang your knuckles on the coaming and so you don't have to shuttle your hands back and forth to reach the water. A high deck also requires a longer paddle so you can readily reach the water with the blades.
However, your paddle should not be so long that pulling it through the water is a big chore that leaves your arms and shoulders aching. A properly sized paddle should allow you to maintain a nice cadence of one to two strokes per second.
The easiest way to size a paddle is to try one and see how it feels. If you have a friend with a Greenland or Aleut paddle, try out their paddle and see how it feels. If you live in the San Francisco Bay area, stop by my shop and try out any one of our paddles. We have them is all different lengths.
Many people have the suspicion that a narrow native style paddle will not allow them to exert as much power as a Euro-paddle with its wider blade and will therefore limit them to slower paddling speeds. For a detailed discussion of this topic see Native Paddle Dynamics. The short version of the explantaion is that blade area in a Greenland or Aleut paddle increases with the length of the paddle and that you can get equivalent blade area of a particular Euro-blade by adjusting the length of your paddle.
Paddle BlanksA paddle blank is basically the starting point of a paddle. It has all the wood glued up, ready for shaping into final form. A paddle blank is a good place to start if you want to make your own paddle but don't have access to good lumber or powertools to cut raw lumber into the appropriate sizes. We have paddle blanks for all of the Greenland and Aleut paddles listed below. Paddle blanks are $100 and include a manual that outlines the paddle carving process in great detail. The manual also specifies how to customize the paddle blank to fit your size, strength and boat. Click here for more details on paddle blanks.
The standard finish of our paddles consists of several coats of tung oil. The tung oil finish is clear and brings out the natural grain of the paddle to best advantage. If you want custom paddle decoration, let us know.
A Greenland style paddle is a must if you want to master Greenland style rolls and braces. Or even if you just want to hone your one and only survival roll, there is no finer paddle than a Greenland paddle to do it with.
Greenland paddles are made to the length you desire. I reccomend an 86" paddle for smaller people and an 88" paddle for larger people. Click here for more details on the design, origins, use and sizing of Greenland paddles.
Unshouldered Greenland Paddle
Unshouldered Greenland Bent Shaft Paddle
Shouldered Greenland Paddle
Breakdown Greenland Paddle
Aleut (Unangan) style paddles are particularly well suited to long distance cruising. While not specifically designed for doing rolls like the Greenland paddles, they are nevertheless suitable for rolling. The Aleut paddle has a central ridge on one side of the blade and is flat on the other side. The central ridge automatically orients the blade for optimum performance and also minimizes flutter. As a consequence, you don't have to waste any energy on a tight grip to keep the blade properly aligned.
Aleut Single Ridge Paddle
Aleut Double Ridge/Grooved Paddle
Breakdown Aleut Paddle
ContactTo order or to talk about a custom paddle, contact:
Wolfgang Brinck, 1615 Seaborn Ct. Alameda, CA 94501
Telephone: (510) 846-5488
All content copyright © 2004 Wolfgang Brinck. Personal non-commercial use permitted.