We build custom Greenland Paddles

These are some of the questions I get asked most frequently...

Are the paddles really lumpy?

People either laugh or give me a funny look when they first discover what my paddles are called. The Lumpy name came about totally by accident and is tied in with how I came to be making paddles for others in the first place.

It started when I made paddles for a couple of friends just for the fun of making a couple more paddles. When they were finished I emailed them both to let them know their paddles were ready, and (just for fun) mentioned that they were a little on the lumpy side. One of them became a bit worried about her new paddle and wanted to know just how lumpy. I just said "you'll see" and left it at that until I could get them their new paddles a week or so later.

It was wonderful to see their faces change from a look of concern to delight when I was finally able to give them their new paddles. What was even more gratifying were the comments as we went for a bit of a paddle to test out their new but not so lumpy paddles.

So we've got Dawn and Kristen to thank (or blame...! ) for the name as they jokingly continued to refer to their new paddles as their lumpy paddles.

To continue the story, within just a few weeks of them getting their paddles, others were asking if I'd make them a paddle too. Before I knew it and totally out of the blue, I had a growing list of people waiting for one of my "lumpy" paddles.

Word of mouth can be a mighty powerful thing, and in less than a year there were lumpy paddles in over half the states on the East coast and the list keeps growing.

It's a strange choice of name for a paddle, but most seem to enjoy it, and a few have even gone so far as to call themselves lumpy paddlers now. But there's no need to worry as the paddles themselves aren't lumpy at all... : )

Where’s the logo?

Many people, especially my friends in marketing, hound me from time to time to emblazon my paddles with the Lumpy Paddles logo. But truth be told, I honestly prefer them just the way they are. These are meant to be very unpretentious tools, and placing my logo on them won't make them any better than they already are.

As to my marketing friends, they know the power of word of mouth advertising can trump just about everything, and they've been amazed by how rapidly word of these paddles has spread.

That said, I have found a way to put the lumpy name on my paddles in a way I can be happy with, and so I may change my mind someday. But for now, I'm happier with them just the way they are...

My partner says...

I've really gotten this comment a few times, and thought I'd mention it...

After showing off their new paddles for the first time to their significant others, several people have mentioned that their partners have informed them that their new paddles were too handsome to use. I tell them that the paddle belongs in the back of the the truck waiting for the next chance to go paddling again.

I do know of a couple of paddles that grace peoples walls, but most of them quickly gain most favored paddle status and so get to hang out with the rest of the gear in the back of the truck.

So go ahead and use it. You may get a special look or two when you arrive home with the first ding or two, but they'll get over it.

What do you mean dents and dings?

Western Red Cedar is a "soft" wood, and will pick up dents and dings a bit easier than a harder wood. Most people accept this as character building and a sign that they've been out paddling. For those who may have a paddle that is "too pretty to use..." once it's acquired a little of this extra character of it's own, you won't have to worry about it quite as much...!

My paddle is looking all dried up!

This is normal... the more you use these paddles, the more they will start to look dried out. Re-oiling the paddle is a quick fix if you feel the need which will take only a few minutes to do and can have it looking great once again. It will also have the benefit of coating out any of those dents and dings you might have picked up along the way. But it's not something to be too concerned about. Some people prefer to never oil their paddles at all...

So where do I get some of this oil?

I use 100% Tung Oil on all my paddles. Pure Tung Oil is a natural product extracted from a nut, and is considered food safe by the FDA. I go through a good bit of it and so prefer it for this reason. You can find pure Tung Oil at many good woodworking shops, or online at places like Lee Valley or The Woodworking Shop.

If you can't easily find the pure stuff, Formby's Tung Oil "Finish" can be found at almost any Lowes or HomeDepot, and for a better price. It will do basically the same thing, but has added thinners and driers, and may contain relatively little Tung Oil at all.

Be especially sure whichever oil you choose that you follow the directions. If you wait too long to remove the excess oil you may have a mess that can takes hours to fix. Trust me on this one...

Also... MAKE SURE to follow the directions regarding disposal of the rags, as these oily rags can be very combustible!

Epoxy would make a harder, more durable finish. Why don't you use epoxy?

A harder finish, especially something as hard as epoxy would definitely create a more durable finish. But the wood underneath would still be soft and prone to dents and dings, though a little less so. Should you hit your paddle hard enough to break through the surface of epoxy, water could then wick into the surrounding wood, and it might have a harder time escaping. Also... an epoxy finish would be a good bit harder for you to repair yourself when something does happens to it.

Besides... Most prefer the natural warmth of wood over the hard plastic feel of epoxy in their hands.

But the biggest reason is that I've worked with epoxy over the years and have developed a slight sensitivity to it, so it's something I now try to avoid.

If you'd like to put a different finish of your own on a paddle, let me know and I'll ship it to you ready to go, but without the oil finish.

Do you make laminated paddles?

I have been asked if I make laminated paddles. The quick answer is no. They would take a good bit of extra time and cost quite a bit more.

A well-done laminated paddle can be a true work of art. If you are having a hard time finding laminated paddles, send me a quick note, and I'll try to point you towards a couple of people who should do a good job for you.

Do you make storm paddles or shoulderless paddles?

Yes to both, and for the same price as a full length shouldered paddle.

Do you ever sell seconds or blems?

Sorry, but I try not to produce any seconds in the first place. If I make a mistake, or discover a serious flaw inside of a stick of wood, those paddles are either trashed or finished as one of my personal paddles.

Every stick of wood is different. Some will have tighter grain, and others may have grain that is slightly less than vertical, but all will make good paddles.

Every once in a while I may have a stick of wood I really wish I didn't have. These sticks I'll put aside and someday consider selling for a slightly reduced price. They'll paddle just as well as the better stick of wood for someone on a bit of a budget.

I’ve got a new paddle! Now what?

The Greenland style paddle can seem almost magical when used right, and most who give the skinny-stick a chance will never think of going back.

Most will find these paddles more intuitive to learn to use well, and some have found that with just a bit of experimenting the paddle itself can help you learn how it's best used.

There are minor changes in technique that will allow you to get the most out of your new paddle. Techniques such as the canted blade angle used with the forward stroke, and getting comfortable using the paddle in an extended position.

The best way to learn will be messing about on the water with your new paddle. Experiment with the canted blade angle and the forward stroke. Become comfortable using the extended paddle. People are usually amazed the first time they discover how easy turning their boats with an extended sweep can be.

Find out for yourself the differences between bracing, sculling and rolling with the GP vs the old paddle, and you'll likely discover a whole new place in which to play. One that's not quite right-side-up.

Old habits can sometimes be a bit harder to break for some than for others, but once you've figured it out, the skinny-stick is one heck of a paddle.

To learn a bit more about the minor differences in technique you can start by checking out this Qajaq-USA page, Strokes, then experiment to discover what works best for you...

Is it really easier to roll with the GP?

Most people find this to be true, but the GP won't be the silver-bullet that can have you magically learning to roll in no time flat. It will still take learning the right sequence of moves and a bit of practice to achieve an effortless roll.

That said, many do find the Greenland style paddle easier and more intuitive to learn to roll with. There are plenty of stories about those who've struggled mightily while trying to roll with "that other paddle" who've become believers after discovering the skinny-stick.

Many can get their first roll by watching DVD's and figuring it out themselves. But for most it can be quicker and less frustrating if they can work with a friend or instructor who's familiar with the sweep roll.

I’m not sure I’m doing it right!

If you're the only skinny-sticker for miles around and you've questions about technique, your best bet is to visit the forums at Qajaq USA. Use the Archive search feature to search thru old posts, or better yet ask the question yourself.

You'll find the folks who frequent the forums welcoming to newbies with questions about technique, and you'll likely get a variety of responses from which to find what works best for you.

Just beware... Before you know what's happened, you may find yourself one day paddling a skin-on-frame kayak while wearing a tuilik, and introducing others to the magic of the Greenland style paddle...

How much do your paddles cost? And how do I order one?

Both full-size and storm paddles are $175 plus shipping and packaging. To order a paddle, contact me as we'll need to discuss your measurements and any preferences you may have, and I'll then be able to put your name on the list. My phone number is at the bottom of the page, and my email is at the top.

Where’s Benson NC?

Benson is about twenty five minutes east of Raleigh NC, and that much closer to the coast. If you're in the RTP area and have time on your hands and a boat, drop me a quick note. I'm always looking for a good excuse to go paddling.

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