Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Greenland Paddle, paddle!

I have recently been trying out a few paddles, although I have only taken out a set of wings from Rockpool on one occasion and in fairness I need to try them for a lot longer in order to give any constructive feedback. Ten minutes and also in a strange kayak doesn’t pass as a fair evaluation. The selection of paddles presents as many challenges as the choice of boat and the opportunity to test them for a suitable period is difficult. The use of these paddles has been to look at a future purchase but also to enhance my kayaking experience, a well respected paddler advised me regarding the advantages of trying as much kit as possible. So to Greenland Paddles and my thoughts to date, I started off as perhaps many in that I was very cynical and thought they were for seal hunters, bearded weirdo’s, folk who dress up like huge black condoms and experts in rolling and yes I have identified my weaknesses and have had a diversity course, I’m being open and honest and mean no offence to such. So my first experience was less than 10 mins in some very choppy sea at Dafarch, Anglesey at a symposium, where a good friend handed them to me and stated they were crap. Not a good start and I agreed on his evaluation, which I find quiet funny now. Anyway some years later about three and my introduction and friendship with Belly as in Mike Bell, he has started to produce such and although they appeared on the scene and my admiration as to his skills I didn’t rush to try them. What I did find with amazement is that those using them were or appeared to paddle alongside effortlessly and this was some surprise as I have a set of Werners Corryvreckens . This occurred on a number occasions and I was forced to have a go, again a quick 5 or 10 mins but the more I did the greater my desire and respect for these pieces of wood grew. I have had them for about a month now, only because Ga wanted to try them in fact he was converted some time ago but he’s unable to put them into his vehicle. So when I have gone out I have dipped in and out of the water with them and also given others the opportunity to try. One of the turning points for myself as to their performance was last Friday, 10th August the trips on my blog where Ga used them throughout, he had no choice his other blades are damaged and we had a great trip but to my amazement was the speed that he maintained, on some occasions I had to drop a gear, ok types of boat, my shorter Delphin to his Rockpool but that difference changed yesterday on the Puffin Island trip as I was in my Rockpool GT. The conditions were great and I decided to use them for the complete trip, Ga is now the proud owner of the carbon set. Unfortunately the batteries packed in on my GPS after some 5 miles but on tracking at home the journey was just under 18 miles. We appeared to maintain our usual Jones head down mode and on our return we had wind against tide, a slight breeze just enough to get the hulls slapping. It took me a while to get into the swing, I was endeavouring to reduce the entry impact of the blade and also the amount of bubbles produce, excuse my technical knowledge. It’s a different stroke and I discovered that pulling the blade and going past my hip area helped. I usually pull and push with the Werner’s. The main advantage I found was the reduction and the very minor impact they have on my body and arms. The only effect was a slight ached on my left hand, very minor as I held the blade on a thicker part of the shaft, a great deal thicker than the Werner’s. The other observation was the amount of water that came from them onto the spray deck, and again as it was a very warm day I had no hesitation in being sloppy and allowing my hands to get wet .This would not be feasible on a cold winters paddle.. The wind picked up and on stopping to fish well attempt to fish, that’s Ga by the way, the wind would take us back towards Puffin, I extended the blades fully and did the biggest sweep strokes in the World very effective. Early days and it would be interesting to see what they are like in rougher conditions, I’ll keep you posted. So there you go my first full day with Mike Bells Formby Finger, also it’s the 001 so again some what special.
Batteries went after 5 miles I have overlay-ed it manually17 1/2 miles

Oily seas heading out to the Ormes

Beautiful conditions

Puffin ahead

Looking towards Conwy

A sunny Ormes

This was on our return

This was the view I met on my arrival 

We were buzzed by a large and very cheeky flock of Manx shearwaters, they flew so close to both us and the surface don,t recall seeing them before, also saw a large group of Gannets and their young

A massive gathering of sailing vessels

Lunch stop

Meal with a view

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