Lew Plummer's Reproduction
of the blade is added as a person follows through the stroke.
At the end of the stroke the entire blade is buried.
Because of this I tend to rotate my body trunk later in the stroke;
basically finishing the stroke with some “snap.”
It is a most comfortable cruising blade and not too bad for racing.
novices don’t immediately like the paddle because the short loom
requires a confident stroke with good rotation.
Most novices don’t bury the blade.
Good paddlers who use trunk rotation and bury the blade at the end
of the stroke usually like it.
original Helsinki paddle was made of Western Red Cedar. My red cedar
reproductions usually weigh about 24 to 26oz about the same as a good
carbon fiber paddle.
I think the original weights about the same if not less (original
used my lightweight paddle for two seasons before a fall from my truck at
40mph caused an early retirement. All the others are in their 4th
or 5th season.
If the blades get a little fuzzy I just sand to reshape the edges,
tip and then refinish.
I use spray paint for the black areas, leaving the loom and, if the
wood is really red, the artwork natural.
I seal the wood and the painted areas with a couple of coats of
boiled linseed oil.
neoprene gloves can really wear the loom surface at the grip area if the
wood is left natural.
If you use neoprene gloves and paddle often then it would be best
if the loom area were protected with a good varnish or varathane.
Red Cedar blades are, in some respects, more robust than carbon fiber
paddles and they are easier to repair.
I have split the blades on occasion but Gorilla waterproof foaming
urethane glue makes them good again.