Monday, April 01, 2013

The Winning Greenland Roller Paddle Review

My good friend Duncan Winning is a long term exponent of the Greenland paddle in Scotland. When he heard that Ian and I were going to the Small Isles he asked if we would care to review his new paddle the innovative Greenland Roller.
Ever modest, Duncan said that the original idea had come from Alistair Wilson, former K1 Olympian and founder of Lendal Paddles. However, Alistair had left Duncan to do all the development work as he was about to retire from Lendal.

Ian and I have pretty catholic tastes when it comes to paddles, we use Euros, GPs and Wings interchangeably and we have never understood why some people restrict themselves by limiting themselves to paddling just one type. For example if I want to do some rolling practice and muck about bracing in an Anas Acuta, I will take the GP every time. If I want to do some rockhopping in the Delphin then the Euro is a much better tool. If I want to cover distance or paddle-sail fast downwind then the Wing is the natural choice.
Anyway Duncan has been trialling the Greenland Roller for about 18 months now and thought it was ready for some wider exposure. He has designed it to be more powerful and faster than the traditional GP. One of the problems with the GP is that you don't get the nice laminar flow across the blade that you get with a Wing. If you attempt to load it too much it develops flutter and looses power. You can overcome this by canting the blade but this looses further power and efficiency. To address these problems Duncan and Alistair have come up with an innovative solution. The Greenland Roller has a slightly bigger blade area and inset into this are three rotating balls. There is a 2mm gap between the ball and the circumference of the hole within which it sits.

As the blade is drawn through the water the balls rotate and water can pass through more easily on only one side of the ball, depending on which way the ball is rotating. The beauty of the design is that the balls can rotate in either direction and you end up with a wonderful in built auto-correct mechanism that almost completely eliminates flutter and ensures smooth water flow.

Ian and I were sceptical at first but we each used the paddle for about 50 km on our 100 km paddle round the Small Isles. It really was a revelation...

...especially on the roughest day, crossing from the south coast of Canna and Sanday to Rum we had to cross the tide race and it was springs! An evil mixture of swell, clapotis, tide and wind created a confused sea. Ian was using the Euro I was using the Greenland Roller. It was noticeable how I was having a much easier time of it. In fact I had to slow down as Ian was falling behind as he had to put in so many brace strokes. A great advantage of the Greenland Roller is that it auto braces while you carry on with power strokes, the volume of the balls definitely helps here. Lastly, the Greenland Roller is the best rolling paddle I have ever tried. If you are having difficulty rolling this is the paddle for you. Paddling in a wind is also a breeze. The Bernoulli effect round the balls all but eliminates wind snatch and aerial flutter in stronger winds of about force 6.

So Ian and I award the Winning Greenland Roller 10/10 for both innovation and function. Patents are currently pending and licences are being negotiated with a number of well known paddle manufacturers. It is hoped that production models will reach the shops in about a year's time. We were sorry to hand it back.

A longer review of the Winning Greenland Roller will appear in issue 36 of Ocean Paddler magazine.