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Re: Paddle ergonomics
By:Rick Rubio
Date: 8/25/1998, 5:16 pm
In Response To: Paddle engineering (Timothy - Toronto, Ontario)

> Does a greenland paddle need a "shoulder" where the
> shaft meets the blade, or not? My knowledge of engineering is just
> about zero, but it seems there would be a concentration of stress
> where the two meet. Would a shoulder help by strengthening this point,
> or would a smooth transition from the shaft to the blade do a better
> job?

> Below is a link to an article that provides a detailed drawing
> of a how a shoulder is made (see Step 4 in the diagram). An equally
> convincing article says there is no need for a shoulder. Any thoughts?

The shoulder is important for ergonomic reasons. Your thumb and forefinger wrap around the loom at the base of the shoulder, while the rest of your fingers wrap around the root of the blade. This makes for a very positive grip with excellent control of blade angle. Your hands always come back to the home position by feel alone. Commercially available "Greenland" paddles don't have shoulders because their loom lengths have to be "one size fits all". You have to build it yourself if you want a real Greenland blade. I built my first Greenland paddle according to John Heath's article in Sea Kayaker, complete with the specified shoulder. I have built several others since, with variations such as wider loom, less pronounced shoulder, longer and shorter overall. Number one is still my favorite, and has a few hundred miles on it. As for the strength of the paddle, not to worry. Mine is made of redwood, which is not a very strong wood, and has survived extended paddle rolls, surf landings, paddle float rescues, etc. Just make sure the grain is straight with no knots, and it will be strong enough.

Rick Rubio

Messages In This Thread

Paddle engineering
Timothy - Toronto, Ontario -- 8/24/1998, 9:03 am
Re: Paddle ergonomics
Rick Rubio -- 8/25/1998, 5:16 pm
Drip Ring
Jon -- 8/24/1998, 9:44 pm
Re: Paddle engineering
Nick Schade -- 8/24/1998, 3:14 pm
Re: Paddle engineering
Mark Kanzler -- 8/24/1998, 11:48 am