What's the differences between Greenland style paddles and the Euro blade? Pros and cons, what's better, what's worse? Usually, what I say is, one isn't better than the other. They're completely different tools for different occasions. I consider them almost as, if you will, gears on a bicycle. Some are made for lots of power quickly, and others are made for being able to last all day on the water.
If you think about it, especially for sea kayaking, you'll have lots of different shapes and sizes for paddles and blades. You'll have really large surface area Euro blades. Those are for massive, massive power, almost like what you would see whitewater kayakers using, and usually that's for high-angle paddling. And then, you'll have thin, long, narrow blades that will be for touring, usually low-angle, that allow you to pull a little bit less water with each stroke, but you can last all day, go further.
That's where the Greenland paddle comes in. If you think about it, the Euro blade has a lot of surface area, all at the very end, while the Greenland paddle has a lot of surface area, but it's distributed along the entire length of the paddle so that, essentially, with each stroke, you are pulling a little bit less. So your cadence, the amount of strokes per minute will go up, but you will be pulling a little less water with each stroke, making it less strenuous on you if you paddle out all day.
So, the way I see it is, if I wanna tour, if I need to take care of people, if I need to get somewhere quick and have instant power, I'll go with a Euro blade. If I know I'm gonna be out all day or I'm gonna be going long distances, I'll take a Greenland paddle instead.
Now two other places that the Greenland paddle is great is for rolling. Rolling the Greenland paddle is superb. It's very buoyant and it's very forgiving. When you're rolling with the Euro blade, you need to be very careful about the angle of your blade when you go through your roll because if you're not careful, it can dive on you, and you'll blow the roll.
Now the Greenland paddle is extremely forgiving. It's symmetrical, and when you hold it, you also know exactly which way the blade is facing, making it a lot easier. It's very, very long, so that also helps if you go in an arc. If you're doing a sweep roll, if you're doing a storm roll, you have a very, very long lever to do your rolls.
The other area in which I think it's kind of an even split, some people with...for surfing and rock gardening, yeah, some people that absolutely love the Euro blade because they want lots of power, almost like whitewater kayakers. They need to be able to move very quickly between rocks, or change directions on a wave. You want to be able to...or catch the wave. You want lots of power with every stroke. You have others, on the other hand, that love how forgiving and how buoyant the Greenland paddle is.
So I think it just comes down to preference. Nowadays, you'll see lots of people that will have a Euro blade and a Greenland paddle on their boat. They'll have one in their hand and the other one as the backup because they like switching, depending on what they're doing at that time.
Thanks to the "Kayak Hipster" (Luke Rovner) for use of this video!
Luke Rovner is a sea kayak instructor, with a focus on rolling and traditional paddling. He combined his experience as a photo and video professional with his love of kayaking and started Kayak Hipster, with the goal of capturing outdoor adventures and sharing kayaking tips.
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