Long Term Review: Adanac Greenland Paddle

Wednesday, 19 December 2012 11:55

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.

Adanac Paddles Logo

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.

Published in Gear Reviews

I would like to introduce you to Kiviak, a traditional winter foodstuff consumed by Greenlandic Inuits. It’s made from a seal carcass stuffed with fermented birds.

From Gizmodo:

Kiviak is relatively simply to make. First, collect approximately 400 Auks. Then, stuff them-beaks, feathers, feet, and all-into the hollowed-out body cavity of a seal, Tauntaun-style. Next, press out as much air as possible from the carcass and seal it with seal grease to prevent spoilage. Finally cover the meat bag with a large rock pile for approximately 3-18 months. During this time, the Auks ferment within the seal until they can be eaten-raw. Thanks to a layer of fat within the seal sack, the Auks soften while they ferment allowing every part of the bird-save feathers-to be consumed.

If you are into traditional Greenland kayaking it’s time to step it up a notch and make sure Kiviak is on the menu at the next Greenland paddling symposium.

Image Credit: Inga Sørensen

Published in Weird

Ontario Greenland Camp Rolling Demo

I recently just got this email that I thought I would pass along about the second annual Ontario Greenland Camp which is taking place mid September.

Any reports I heard from participants last year said it was fantastic with some seriously high quality instructors.

Hello Fellow Paddlers!

We just wanted to send out a quick note about this years Ontario Greenland Camp.  It is again at Camp Tamarack in Bracebridge Ontario. It is only a little over 2 hours from Toronto and is going to be a blast!  We currently have 21 spaces left for the event that we are looking to fill.

If you are looking to learn to roll or can roll and want to learn some fancy Greenlandic variations and tricks to add to your repertoire this event is for you.  Last year we had 53 guests come and 50 left rolling! 

Who: This year Cheri Perry, Turner Wilson, Maligiaq Padilla, James Roberts and Dympna Hayes are mentoring the event with a bunch of extra assistants coming along to help too!  Click here to find out more about the mentors.

Where: Camp Tamarack, Bracebridge Ontario

When: September 10th, 11th (Arrive on Friday night) or September 9th, 10th, 11th (Arrive on Thursday night and participate in an extra day or either paddle building or semi-private instruction)

Why?: This is probably the best chance you have this year of learning to roll or improving your rolls.  Also because it is SUPER FUN!! Last years event was a great success and so much fun, many people went away with new friends they've been paddling with ever since. We had paddlers of all abilities; some who started the weekend not wanting to go upside down and left with a roll at the end. Others who are so into Greenland rolling they sleep with their stick ended up perfecting that forward finishing roll or hand roll they've been trying to get forever.

How Much: $340+tax for the event - (Thursday evening arrivals with the extra day of private instruction with Cheri and Turner or paddle building with Tom is an extra $200+tax)

All instruction, accommodation and meals included from Friday night's dinner to Sunday's lunch.

View Photos of last years event.

Photo credit: Ontario Greenland Camp

Published in Events

Kokatat LogoAn international community of paddlers are gathering in Seattle, Wash. this week to celebrate the first annual Greenland Week, hosted by the Kayak Academy. Kokatat, the 39 year-old independent paddlewear company, is honored to support this event that is inspired by the cultural heritage of kayaking.
In 1985, the country of Greenland launched the Greenland National Qajaq Championships. The event was designed to spur a growing interest and knowledge of the kayaking culture to the younger generations of the native Inuit. Over the decades, the event has matured into the world’s premier traditional kayaking competition. To carry-on the event’s enthusiasm, Kayak Academy is proud to offer a U.S. located competition.

Published in Press Releases

Kayak Training Board Highlighted on Boing Boing

Wednesday, 15 September 2010 16:58

Kayak Balance Board

Holy Moses! Mark Frauenfelder, author and regular contributor to the amazing website, Boing Boing, just uploaded a post highlighting the benefits of building your own kayak balancing board. I don’t think that Mark is a paddler but he is a big fan of building your own stuff and editor in chief of Make Magazine.

You can read the full article yourself over at Boing Boing.

Published in General News

Ontario Greenland Camp. Photo Credit: Christa Schlosser

From what I hear the Ontario Greenland Camp was a smashing success. They had a sell-out crowd descend on Camp Tamarack just outside Bracebridge, Ontario.

The event had a real powerhouse of mentors which included Cheri Perry, Turner Wilson, Adam Hansen and Heather Lamon. On top of that they also had several local stick-heads including Dympna Hayes and James Roberts (who organized the whole thing via their business, learntokayak.ca), Kelly McDowell, President of The Complete Paddler and Paul Renaud (an instructor at Harbourfront Canoe & Kayak Centre).

Published in Events

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