Paddling Styles For Sea Kayaking

The sea kayaking paddles and their associated paddling styles fall under two classifications-European and Greenland. Let us discuss about these styles in detail.

Paddle Style

European style: European paddles are blades in the shape of spoons at each end of a cylindrical shaft. European paddle style was developed for sudden maneuvering and fast acceleration in whitewater kayaking and then extended into sea kayaking. These paddles are made of aluminum, wood, or plastic. However, the best paddles are made of costlier material such as carbon fiber for lightness. The two spoon-like blades are set at an angle relative to one another (feathered) for enhanced efficiency as in this manner one blade moves backwards while the opposite one which is moving forward through air presents edge rather than face.

Greenland style: Greenland paddle is a long, narrow, and flat wooden plank with a cylindrical grip at center. It is like two elongated cricket bats that are joined at their handle base. Greenland is the traditional paddle style of Inuit hunters due to their material constraints (driftwood). The blades of Greenland paddles are feathered as in European paddles. The Greenland paddle is narrow in comparison to European paddle and is 7 feet long. The paddling technique involves more paddle movement in the paddlers' hand and demands a huge variety of techniques for a capsized kayak by using combinations of both paddle and body movements. Many of these movements depend upon additional buoyancy of wooden paddle. Some other Greenland paddling techniques are associated with the other elements of Greenland style conditions and equipments and with the Greenland kayak design. Paddlers in modern kayaks sometimes even use Greenland paddle style.