I have over a dozen different Greenland paddles. Every time I pick up a new paddle I find it teaches me something. Earlier in the year I got a solid cedar shoulder-less paddle from Joe O and this led me to have Novorca build me a new paddle. Several design elements make this unique amongst the paddles in my collection. The paddle has a flat cross-section at the tip with very little curve. The cross-section where my hands rest is shaped like a diamond. There are no shoulders. The loom is oval. The paddle takes apart into three equal length sections.
By the numbers the paddle is 86 inches long, with a 3.25 inch maximum blade width and a twenty inch loom length.
As I have advanced my Greenland paddle skills I have found that the ability to quickly slide the paddle to extend it is a necessary practice in order to turn aggressively, brace effectively and roll easily. Shoulders inhibit my sliding stroke. I have found that familiarity with a shoulder-less paddle’s width allows me to judge where I am holding the paddle without the need for a shoulder to act as a datum.
I use a canted stroke for my forward stroke with a Greenland paddle. This means I hold the paddle at a slightly tilted forward angle of entry. I have found this to be an efficient low angle way of propelling the kayak. By providing a diamond shape to the cross-section where I hold the paddle my hands and fingers now naturally hold the blade at a slight angle that automatically causes the blade to cant.
With my fingers resting on the diamond face the loom shaft crosses my palm and exits between my thumb and index finger. This area is roughly oval in shape. I found using square shafts to be uncomfortable; thus the new paddle design has an oval shape to fit into my hand.
The extreme ends of the paddle are flattened out more than my previous paddles in order to create a very smooth powerful catch (catch is the term used to describe how the paddle feels as it enters the water and provides resistance and thus propulsion). Additionally the end shape was flattened from my traditional semicircular design. This has provided a blade that appears to provide a faster performing paddle and one with less turbulence upon entry into the water.
My wife and I like to travel a lot. We have frequently taken our own paddle gear on airplanes. Multipart paddles make the cost of air travel much more reasonable. I have usually traveled with two part paddles, and these generally require a special bag. I have used a ski bag and filled it with my paddling gear. This new design is a three-part paddle. One aspect of this three-part paddle that sets it apart from others is the uniform length of the three sections. By making each paddle section of equal length the overall size becomes the minimum possible for the same overall length. The other unique feature is the patent pending design for locking the sections together. I have seen the internal workings and they are an engineering marvel.
As with all Novorca carbon fiber paddles the construction method uses a structural foam core of material that is impenetrable to water, thus preventing weight gain through submersion in water.
Novorca now can customize the weight of paddles. Obviously there is a minimum weight. Uniquely I am not just talking about overall weight I am also talking about weight distribution, so if you want greater mass nearer the tips, then that can be created. If you want greater mass in the loom section, that too can be accommodated. This design was uniquely designed to mimic the weight distribution of my previous fastest paddle.
Underway, the paddle feels very different from my 86B Novorca. It enters the water differently. The canting angle comes naturally when I hold the diamond and it seems to be a very efficient paddle. Rest assured it also fits neatly into my suitcase. When sculling I noticed immediately the difference the diamond shape made. Instead of needing to angle the blade it just needs to be held flat. The same is true during sweep rolls. The blade naturally climbs. It is almost as if the paddle teaches you how to paddle with a canted stroke and how to scull or sweep during rolls.