Has anyone kayaked with a Greenland paddle? The small blades supposedly stress the shoulders, etc., less than a regular paddle blade. I have Rheumatoid Arthritis, so this is important to me.
@lisch - No, I havent, but it is one of the things I will be looking at as I get back into this. I dont know if it is arthritis.. yet, but there are a lot of years free climbing poles and doing things better left to hydraulics left both shoulders popping and alieve a constant companion.
What I have done so far is refined my technique, bought a carbon fiber paddle, and exercise. Paddling correctly puts most of the stress on the core and you arent putting pressure on the shoulders as much. Try a low angle if raising the paddle to a high angle hurts.
@lisch, I have paddled with a Werner Euroblade for years, but two summers ago, when I started learning to roll, my rolling instructor put a Greenland in my hands as it's easier to learn the roll with a Greenland than a Euroblade. (I did learn to roll with my Euroblade as well as the Greenland.) I'm now the proud owner of a GearLab carbon Greenland style paddle. Haven't really gotten to use it as with all the shipping and supply issues it came at the kayaking season was about over on the Great Lakes (unless you put way too many layers under your dry-suit), but I'm looking forward to getting to know it this summer. I'm not giving up my Euroblade as there are a lot of cool things you can do with them that I haven't figured out with the Greenland yet, and I also do a little instructing but I'm looking forward to using my Greenland. And rolling is a blast and I want to learn some different ones this summer and the Greenland will help with that.
I agree with @GregA that proper paddling technique where you rotate with the stroke and really use your core takes a huge amount of stress off your shoulders. A low angle stroke does help as well. If you are not sure how to do a proper stroke, look into taking a basic kayaking class or go to one of the many kayak symposia held each summer. Lot's to learn and lots of new friends. No matter what kind of kayaking you do, rec, or sea kayaking, a proper stroke is essential to save your shoulders.