Last weekend, Jean cinched up her tuilik and headed to Croton-On-Hudson, New York, for the 3-day Hudson River Greenland Festival. What is Greenland kayaking, exactly? Well, it’s back-to-basics paddling—like, thousands of years back for the original purpose of stealthy seal hunting with hand-thrown harpoons via “skin-on-frame” kayaks and “skinny stick” paddles made of driftwood. Plus, you get to roll a lot. (Seals are big and feisty and they tend to knock you over in their death throes; therefore, Innuit and Aleutian peoples have invented as many lifesaving qajaq rolls as they’ve got words for snow.)
In the late 20s, Europeans got to thinking this whole rolling thing was pretty cool. But it wasn’t until the 80s that a renaissance of native kayaking skills and techniques occurred within West Greenland and beyond. Read about the efforts of Qaannat Kattuffiat and QAJAQ USA to preserve and promote Greenland’s kayak traditions, ensuring that this knowledge survives to be passed on to future generations.
Please click on the slideshow, below! Highlights include a trip to Bannerman Castle (yes Alex, skinny-stick people do stop rolling long enough to go somewhere!); Greenland paddle workshop; hanging out with the uber-fit Greenland champion Maligiaq Padilla; learning from celebrity mentors Dubside, Kam and Gwen, and others; trying a forward finishing roll (as opposed to the layback roll Jean kinda figured out last fall) and staying warm in Sunday’s drizzle. Enjoy!