Mid summer project: Greenland paddle for the new kayak

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This year, I want to get back on the kayak after almost a couple of years of shore fishing and exploring. As I’ve previously stated, I will be paddling instead of pedaling on the new kayak. There is really nothing wrong with pedal kayaks, it’s just that I like the simplistic approach of paddling more than pedaling. 

One of the biggest discoveries for me was the fact that with paddle kayaks, you need to choose one that suits your frame more than anything else. This means that although you might want a big, stable kayak as your fishing platform, it might not be the right fit for you.

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It was not easy even with the jigsaw, but with some patience, I got the job done

I am not by any means an expert in Kayak design or kayaking in general, but after a few years and a lot of reading, you learn a few things. Originally, a kayak was built for one single user. This means that you cannot really use another person’s boat and expect it to perform the way you want it to; the boat will do exactly what it wants – because it was made with the requirements of only one person in mind.

In the age of the plastic navy, you cannot expect a company to create a kayak specifically suited for you. They have standardised things to make mass production a reality. So you can have a standardised kayak that you can modify to give you the comforts and functionalities you want, but it doesn’t really mean that it’s the right one for you. The sad thing is, unless you have the pocket and the patience to test out different kayaks, you wouldn’t know the difference! Not a single seller here would be able to answer your question of which one is right for you because most of them don’t really know that kayaks were made that way –all they know is that they need to sell their products – so, if you go to a manufacturer and point to a 3 meter kayak that is about a meter wide, and ask him if this kayak will be perfect for you and your fishing, the likelihood of them answering “yes” will be quite high. Or they may try to sell you something else. In reality, there are less than 10 kayak models that would fit the fishing category. None of them are wider than 74cm.

I almost died in my first kayak here in Dubai – on my first trip in it! It was too big for me, yet not a single soul told me that it was not right for me. My second one was pretty good and this was only because I took it upon myself to see which one was ideal for me. Another consideration is of course the cost; a lot of people think that the cheapest one they can get is the most practical. You can’t argue with that, but if I cannot afford a brand new boat that is closest to my ideals, I would rather look for a pre-owned kayak…or look for a manufacturer that has better rates.

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After the planing I needed to cut the shape out with a jigsaw

The only thing that you would be able to dictate is your paddle; this is the reason why there are quite a few lengths available, but even the ready made ones are not a guarantee that you will get what is exactly right for you.

This brings us to what I set about doing before I even received the kayak I ordered last month. Since I was going to be traveling long distances, I wanted a paddle that would fit me perfectly and one that would slow the rate at which I fatigued. This search led me to the Greenland paddle; this is the paddle of choice for the people that invented the kayaks, with over a few thousand years behind them – it is virtually a no brainer.

A quick trip to Ace Hardware and about an hour of choosing a usable plank of wood later, I was on my way home with the straightest plank I could find and a few hand tools I didn’t already have. Mind you, I am not looking for perfection on this first build; this is a test to see if I can build one, or if I should import one from one of the expert makers in Europe or America.

After a few hours of carving out the shape, I took a break and bought two cheap power tools: a planer and a sander. This made the work faster and I was able to finish the paddle in two afternoons. After this experience, I think I will look for better wood and make some improvements.

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The very first task was to taper the edges – easy to do with a power planer

The paddle length is measured for my height, and the loom (the part where you hold the paddle) was measured according to the distance of my arms at rest. It honestly feels good in my hands.

I did this project with very few tools and I could have made it with hand tools if I had the time and patience. As you can see in the images, I made this on my balcony, and if you have a better place to do it, you will do a better job than I did for sure. If you want to make your own, email me at thefishingkit@gmail.com and I can share the resources I used for this build.

Till the next tide change,


Our fishing pro who shares his experiences and expertise with OutdoorUAE through his regular column. thefishingkit@gmail.com

Words + Photos by: Kit Belen

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