NOTE: The essay you are reading now shows the thinking behind this paddle. Go to Building an "Inspired by the Greenland-Style Paddle." to see the actual construction of the paddle.

"Inspired by the Greenland-Style Paddle"

A small, light canoe like the Yaquina is most easily powered by a double-bladed paddle (commonly called a kayak paddle.) A traditional style of kayak paddle comes from Greenland and is expertly described in this PDF on How to Make a West Greenland Paddle

The Greenland-style paddles are short and stout, excellent for getting out on rough waters, fending off icebergs, and clubbing seals for days on end. The Yaquina canoe is a calm water canoe and doesn't require the stiffness of a Greenland-style paddle.


The Yaquina lends itself to a long, paddle - about 8 feet. The length helps turn the canoe and it also allows the paddler to use a stroke with a lower angle of entry than the stoke used in the picture above.

Wood selection can be a problem - paddles are subjected to stresses so the shafts should be as knot-free as possible. Larger boards tend to have fewer knots - mostly because they are cut from bigger, older trees. A Greenland-style paddle can be made from a 2x4, but the lumberyard didn't have any good cedar in 2x4, but they did have a nice 8' 2x6.

Carving a Greenland-style paddle from a 2x6 will result in a lot of waste.

A paddle with wider blades will use more material . . .

. . . but there is still a significant amount of waste.

Instead of carving the paddle from a plank, the board can be ripped into (2) shafts and (8) blades . . .

. . . glued together . . .

. . . and shaped as needed: Two paddles for the price of one.

Building an "Inspired by the Greenland-Style Paddle."