Thursday, March 12, 2015

Jonas' Experimental Grip Design

Fellow paddle maker, Jonas from Sweden (see post here), has been busy documenting his creations over on his new blog, Paddle Reflections. He has been working on a very interesting experimental design which features an elongated Northwoods style grip with asymmetrical notches for the grip thumb.

  Shaft length: 80cm (31.5")
Blade: 74cm (29")

 Jonas' experimental grip design

At first glance, the notches reminded me of another grip design, the Battenkill Grip. Many years ago, I started a whitewater paddle with this grip design, but as my interest in whitewater paddle designs faded, I never ended up completing the paddle. For anyone interested, the April 1997 issue of Wooden Canoe Journal (Issue 80 - Vol. 20 No.2) has an article describing the Battenkill grip in more detail. Basically it is a fusion of two popular styles, the standard pear and T-grip. In theory, the flattened portion of the half pear cradles the palm more comfortably and the half-T portion allows the thumb to curl around into a more natural position while still providing a positive hold on the paddle. Here's a schematic:

Source:  Wooden Canoe Journal (Issue 80 - Vol. 20 No.2)

Jonas' creative design looks to have alternating Battenkill grips to allow for a more comfortable angle when using this lateral grip style. Here's a pic from his blog post demonstrating the grip position. It looks quite comfortable to my eyes.

His blade design is interesting as well. ..

Some Cree paddles have an indented paddle blade reminiscent of this style. Also, in the Historic Paddle Art archive page, is an undated image featuring a French trade canoe and a paddle with similar curves (original post here). I wish there were more details about this print in order to find any tribal affiliation, if any.

Undated Canot d'Ecorce Illustration

Paddle Closeup

Keep up the great work on your paddles and blog site, Jonas!

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