The Greenlanders have been building kayaks and paddles for thousands of years to hunt seals. Seals were center of the economy, providing food, fuel, and clothing. Hunters would paddle for miles to get to the seals, stalk, and hopefully harpoon them. Once the seal was dead, a float would be attached to it and it would be towed home. The kayaks, paddles, and gear of the hunter had to perform well in all conditions, over long distances, or the hunter and his family might go hungry.
I was a strong believer that if the Greenlanders had the technology to build a modern spoon shaped paddle, they would have. I argued that modern technology allowed better and more efficient designs. Once I actually looked at what the Greenlanders made, I saw that they tried about every possible option for a paddle. They had the ability to build about anything, and they tried everything. Over thousands of years, they kept returning to the Greenland style. There are plenty of variations, but the basic shape and design has been perfected.
In my experience, I’m typically at the front of the pack of kayaks, and even after a 25 or 30 mile paddle, I’m less tired than I would be with a European style paddle. I’m 140 lbs, so I’m not out muscling them 😉