Long Term Review: Adanac Greenland Paddle

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

About a year ago Jill Ellis from Adanac Paddles contacted me to see if I would be interested in testing a new prototype Greenland paddle design she was working on. I quickly yes so when the paddle was ready I was invited to come and visit her woodworking shop in the booming city of Dover Centre, Ontario (population 11 people).

One of the things that I learned while visiting Adanac Paddles world headquarters was that every single paddle is custom made to order. When an order submitted, Jill contacts the buyer and asks for a variety of measurements including the arm span, elbow to wrist length, elbow to fingertip, as well as the diameter of your first finger and thumb when doing the "OK" symbol.

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Though it sounds pretty precise, these follow the traditional measurements that would be taken from a Greenland or Inuit paddler for a new paddle. The advantage to this is that you receive a paddle that is custom built to your size. It also ensures that the overall length isn’t too long and unwieldy, the paddle shaft (or loom) isn’t too thick and the width of the blade at the end is just wide enough for your hands to grip when rolling or paddling with an extended blade. Long sentence short, you get a paddle that just fits.

As mentioned before, the paddle that Jill made for me was a prototype model she had been working on. The overall shape of the paddle itself was similar to other traditional Greenland designs but what made this Western Cedar unique was the bone like material added to the blade tip for protection from rocks and ice. At the time, Jill was testing the material as well as a new way of attaching it to the blade itself.

One of my goals over the past year was to take the paddle out in a wide variety of conditions including large surf, rocks and ice and try to break the tip off. A year later and I’m quite pleased to say I haven’t busted it yet.

How do I like the paddle? The short answer is that I love it. The finish on the wood is a mixture of oil and wax so it’s super smooth on the hands. It will also be easy to sand out and scratches and buff up with more oil down the road.

While the new tip did add a very small amount of extra weight, the trade-off is a very strong paddle for playing in and amongst rocks. Overall I think the addition if it is well worth it considering how rough I am with all my paddling gear. For example, the photo below is one of the rough water tests I put the paddle through here in Toronto.

Welcome to Canada! (We like you already)

The first time I took the paddle out on the water I was also quite pleased to discover that there was very little blade flutter when pulling the paddle through the water. Also, when it comes to rolling, the blade sliced through the water very smoothly and since this particular one is made of Western Cedar it’s super buoyant making rolling that much less work.

When ordering, Adanac offers several different paddle models available in different wood options (from domestic to exotic) so you are going to be able to get exactly what you are looking for. If you choose to "pimp your paddle", Jill will carve a very cool graphic (of your choosing or design) into the tip. My friend Rob got this very nice design carved into his paddle when he ordered it. Did you know that Jill was a champion bird carver? Highly detailed finches were her specialty so you can be confident that the design will come out perfect.

Adanac Paddles - Paddle Pimped

If you already have your own Greenland Paddle and interested into building your collection of Greenland paddling accessories Jill also builds very nice Norsaqs as well as Harpoons. The Harpoons are custom orders so contact Jill and she can give you full pricing and order details.

Adanac Paddles Norsaq's.

Adanac Paddles Harpoon

They really are a work of art.

More info: Adanac Paddles

Rough Water Photo Credit: Andy Barrow
Norsaq Photo Credit: Adanac Paddles
Harpoon Photo Credit: Chris Johnston
All other photos taken by myself.

David Johnston

David Johnston

David Johnston has been introducing people to the sport of sea kayaking for the past 15 years. He is a senior instructor trainer with Paddle Canada and teaches for several paddling schools in Ontario, Canada. Full Bio.

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