I researched the best paddles for bad shoulders. The internet, in all its wisdom, kept mentioning "Greenland Paddles". The Greenland paddles didn't need the high position needed with Euro paddles. I was intrigued. I decided to look up if there were any proof to the fact that the Greenland style paddle was better for touring and low impact on shoulders than the Euro blade. Low and behold I found a study in Sports Engineering by Pascal Hémon called "Hydrodynamic characteristics of sea kayak traditional paddles" published in 2017. Hémon, a research professor from the Centre national de la recherche scientifique compared the traditional Greenland, Aleutian and European paddles independent of a kayaker for performance.
According to East Pole - the Aleutian paddle has asymmetrical blades with two distinct sides - the sculling side and the power side. The ridged side was for powerful charging on a hunt while the flat side was for quieter paddling. They claim it's a 2-in-1 paddle.
The best part was that shipping was included in the price to the U.S. Originally I was looking for a two-piece Greenland Paddle to lessen the hit of shipping such a long product. Somehow East Pole Paddles is able to incorporate it into a great price. I paid $308 for the paddle and 3-layer bag shipped to Michigan. Margus was to hand pick a paddle and went right to oiling it.
The process took about a week and then they shipped out. I was elated to see the long one-piece paddle arrive unscathed and in perfect condition. I'm sure the very nice and practical 3-layer paddle cover helped pad the paddle during shipment as well. The workmanship, or machining, was very nice. The length is 225cm, the shaft is oblong (almost rounded triangles in cross section) with a width of 1.6-inches (4.1cm) by 1.1-inches (2.8cm). The widest part of the blade is 3.1-inches (7.9cm). The thickest part of the blade at its end is .36-inches (.9cm).
The paddle features very smooth cedar wood with a looser grain of cedar as Christopher had mentioned. The two layers of carbon were evident and looked a bit high tech from my perspective - yet still traditional to all but the eagle eyed. According to East Pole Paddles, "the carbon lamination on this paddle uses innovative material and processing science developments from the University laboratory." High tech indeed. They also state it is "probably the best cruising paddle ever." Quite the claim - looking forward to the specs.
The paddle had a tag that listed the weight as 725g. Just what I was looking for. I weighed it a few months later and it came in at 731g. Most likely a bit heavier after the layers of oil were applied. The weight was very-much in line with the Gear Labs Kalleq - now it was time to try it out.
I practiced with each side of the paddle, but preferred the power (non flat) side. It seemed to provide more "umph" to each stroke, and didn't seem to flutter as much, especially when paddling harder. I couldn't be sure if that was just a feeling or fact.
Originally I was looking for a 2-piece paddle. Joe O's Greenland paddles are mostly 2-piece. Since I already have the one-piece, either I live with it this way or try to retrofit it. I see East Pole Paddles now has a split system for Greenland paddles to retrofit a Greenland paddle to a 2-piece for about $33 US (Not sure if that would fit the Aleutian though). Duck Works has a carbon fiber ferrule for Greenland paddles that is state side for about $32. My guess is that the East Pole Paddles 2-piece kit will be a closer fit for my paddle if I chose to go that route.
I may also be looking at a second Greenland style paddle for dedicated rolling and noticed East Pole Paddles has a new 2-piece Nanook 2 that was introduced in August of 2022 after I purchased my Aleutian. Not sure why it doesn't have the bone edge as an option, but the paddle may be next on my list. It would be nice to have a two-piece paddle so a second paddle could be stored on the kayak as a back-up, for travel and overall convenience.NOW organic linseed oil to the paddle and it has its original appearance again. This is the same linseed oil that was highly recommended for Swedish Gränsfors Bruk axe handles. I highly recommend this paddle for anyone looking to take some stress off of their shoulders. This Aleutian paddle is very lightweight, yet by all appearances, very strong as well. It is a beautiful piece of functional art that gets many positive comments whenever it comes out of the three-layer soft case.