Bill Bremer and I have been conversing for a while about building a prototype learning aid. The commonly adopted name for the aid is a Transitional Paddle. Bill has called this the Stumpy Lumpy due to it looking like a shrunken version of a Greenland Paddle. Bill crafts wooden Greenland Paddles under the company name Lumpy Paddles, and so this explains the Lumpy part of the name.
The Stumpy is hand carved from a beautiful cut of wood. In my hands it feels silky smooth. Bill spends hours with a plane and sand paper producing this shape, followed by applying a whole lot of love with the Tung oil finish. The shoulders are some of the finest I have seen or felt, they have no pressure points and naturally allow my fingers to hold the blades at the angles I need.
Even though the Stumpy is not meant to be a paddle it still has the exquisite profile of a Greenland Paddle, the blade shape has a gentle articulated curve which is helpful when sculling as it decreases the sensitivity to angle – one of the attributes that make GPs such great sculling supports. The edges are a fine (not sharp) round shape.
Last weekend I had a chance to use it afloat for the first time. It is not really a fair trial for me to use the Stumpy as I am able to complete all the rolls I did using it without a paddle, but I thought it worth sharing my experiences. When I have some practical experience of using it to help others I will also share that but to begin with I just wanted to try myself.
And for the shotgun roll I was able to vary the length by sliding the paddle up and down my forearm to vary the support the Stumpy provided.
The Stumpy is designed to help people move from paddle dependent rolling to rolling using a norsaq and eventually using just the paddler’s hands. There is a school of thought that suggests that transition paddles are not necessary as rolling is all about body position. While I agree that rolling is all about body position it is also all about mental fitness. I have found numerous times that paddlers don’t realize that they don’t need the support of their paddle, in fact they just don’t believe it. Using gradually smaller paddles allows me to wean them from the mental dependency. I used to go from their regular paddle, to a storm paddle to the norsaq. The storm to norsaq transition is a big leap. The Stumpy now will allow me to bridge that length change and take people from regular GP to storm to Stumpy to Norsaq. Bill has created a beautiful and effective tool, which should allow people to advance their (mental) rolling skills.
You can contact Lumpy Paddles here