Why should I switch my euro-bladed paddle to a greenland stick, you may ask. Could some historical “stick” perform better than modern hi-tech paddles? These are all very logical questions. There are some ideas, why we consider greenland paddle to be a good choice:
*It is proven over the time. Most people today believe in “technological Darwinism” and a priori think that new things are always better than old ones. But inuits have been paddling for hundreds and maybe even thousands of years. Their life depended on their equipment, which had to work flawlessly. They just can't be wrong...
*It is efficient and silent. Greenland style paddling and paddles can be describe by taoism concept wu wei, which can be translated as “without effort”. The ideology of greenland style paddling is to achieve maximum results with minimum effort. This concept is not always typical for our culture. It is easy to estimate greenland paddle wrong as you use less power with it, it causes less stress to your muscles and joints and it is silent. But if you find the natural way of using the greenland paddle, you will be amazed how well it works. Just go with the flow and enjoy how efficient, precise, natural and elegant your paddling can be.
*Wooden paddle feels very natural. Most of the greenland paddles are not covered with hard coat like lacquer, epoxy etc. Normally they are only oiled and paddle treated that way feels natural and warm in your hands.
*You can endlessly evolve your paddling skills with it. It is very simple and short process to learn the basic technique of greenland style paddling. But you can evolve and learn new technical aspects even after tens of years. And it is common that paddlers who have started learning greenland style paddling also improve their rolling, bracing and other techniques as well.
There isn’t much information about the beginning of kayaks and paddling. The kayak is a Greenlandic invention. The name is the original Greenlandic word, qajaq, which most of the world has embraced. All the equipment was made of natural materials, so it rots over time and leaves no waste. There is reason to believe, that 2000 years ago the boats looked quite the same as today. But it is much more difficult to say about the paddles. Again, there is reason to believe that earlier inuits used longer paddles with leaf-shaped blades. But at least during the last couple of centuries, the most common Greenland paddle has been looking like today.