Measuring for a Greenland Paddle
These are some guideline for measuring yourself for a Greenland paddle. This is a starting place for your first Greenland paddle, with experience you may find that variations upon these measurement work well for your personal paddling style.
Determining the Correct Length
The length of a Traditional paddle is determined by standing up straight and extending your hand up over your head. Your finger tips should just be able to wrap over the top of the paddle. With experience you may find that a longer or shorter paddle is best for your boat and body. I like to go about 1-2" longer when making a touring paddle for myself. Measure from the ground to the end joint in your middle finger when your hand is extended over your head to determine length. You will find there is geometry to the relationship between your body size, boat beam and paddle length that may come into play if your body indicates a very long or short paddle. I will make what ever size you want however I recommend that a Greenland paddle be no shorter than 82" and not longer than 92".
The loom width of a Traditional paddle generally ranges from 17-21". To determine loom width stand up straight with your arms at your side. Keeping you elbows relaxed and down, raise your fore arms to 90 degrees so that your hands are out in front of you. Make the "ok" sign with each hand as though you were holding a paddle horizontally in front of you. Then, have someone measure the distance between the between the outside of each of your first fingers.
The blade width should be small enough for you to grasp easily but not so small as to become ineffective as a paddle. The range is generally 3" to 3.5". Below 3" the effectiveness of the paddle is diminishes quickly. Above 3.5” the paddle feels cumbersome in the water and you start to loose the qualities that define a Greenland paddle.
With all this said, if you have a boat with a wide beam you may wish to add an inch or so to the length. If you are doing a lot of touring you may also wish to increase the length. Some paddlers like to increase the length and decrease the width for touring.
Loom diameter can vary a bit and remain functional and with in safe tolerances. I make a few loom sizes ranging from L 1 5/8" x 1 1/4", M 1 1/2"x 1 1/4", and S 1 1/2"x 1 1/8". other sizes are available but these sizes are comfortable standards. If you would like a round loom rather than an oval as described above I can do that for you. Some paddle makers ask for hand/finger measurements. Over many years I have found that these measurements do not predict a good fit or a comfortable fit any better than knowing your own relative hand size. If your hands are larger or small than average that is enough information to estimate a loom size that will fit you.
For more information about loom shape see the image below.