Kayaking Technique Forum

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Re: Greenland stroke (long)


This helps very much. While the strokes among the greenlanders exhibit a continuous variation in for instance angle and length of stroke, it is important to get a correct mental image of one particular technique, to work from that point onwards.

Yesterday i did some net surfing and revisited this site:


and looked more closely at the paddles in the pictures. Great variation in all properties, no standard model could be seen. Now, which is it? Is the paddle the chicken, and the technique the egg, or vice versa?

Just as a "Chuck Holst design" seems to want to settle into a certain kind of stroke if held loosely and listened to, and not forced into any particular style, surely all the other designs - well, at least the sound ones - tend to do the same? So that in choosing one or the other, one in fact should be aware that they come as a pair?

It seems from your description that the tilt for instance is something that follows from the way the paddle is held with fingers over the blade at the shoulder, and its increase at the end of the stroke is simply caused by the change in the angle of the arm, not by any conscious cocking of the wrist. So that if the shoulders of the blade are correctly formed, the lift and kick at the exit follow as a natural bonus, with little drill needed.

When referreing to the newness I was thinking about the western kayakers' awareness of this technique, general awareness, not the age of the technique in Greenland. But I have noticed that the shouldered blade is not so common in descriptions of inuit paddles - could this be explained by relative newness or by geographically limited use? After all, without those shoulders it seems that tilting the blade would require a concious effort and be more difficult to maintain (death grip). But of course the shoulder may be just a refinement to an older technique of tilting the blade, previously arrived at by forming the shaft cross-section. Again, chicken and egg. :)