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!
Sent from my iPhone
Thanks, J!!!! WE HAVE TO CATCH UP ASAP. How are you??
Where do you post forthcoming events? If I have the energy to attend. Bin a tough year. Two funerals in UK. But I have become a grandpa Nick Clarke
Sent from my iPhone
Hey, N! Congratulations on becoming a grandpa. Will you email us, please? We’d love to catch up. Jean & Alex
The group pushing themselves in a circle in the grass – is that a work out or instructing on stroke technique? That’s a fun video to give a nice flavor of the festival.
Hi! Thanks for visiting 🙂 Jean’s pretty sure they are doing a Greenland paddle stroke exercise, as you’ll notice the shifting hands from center of paddle shaft at each turn, to create an extended paddle as needed, on each side. Glad you like the video. Do you paddle with a skinny stick?
I don’t actually but I’ve heard they’re awesome and really want to try one, especially with a Pygmy wooden kayak…. 🙂 Do you normally need to create an extended paddle by shifting your hands? If so, silly question, why not create a longer paddle?
It’s about extending the paddle where (and when) you need it. Fortunately, the greenland paddle is made to shift side to side. 🙂 Are you (have you) made a Pygmy kit kayak?
Good to know! And no, haven’t yet. Thinking about trying to this winter. Summers are packed between travel and paddling (in addition to the whole work thing of course) 🙂 Have you made one?
No, that “whole work thing” does get in the way! To be honest, we are more interested in using Greenland paddles/kayaks than we are in building them. Our friend Jim is totally into it, but then, he has a garage (we’re apartment dwellers). Where to you paddle most?
Within driving distance of Seattle mostly, whether it’s small Green Lake or a little out on Puget Sound, we’re trying to paddle a lot of different places. We only have a recreational (but have still done multi day camping trips) tandem but want to get touring kayaks so we can go further and not worry about flipping (it takes a long time to pump out). We’re going to do San Juan island for the first time in September. What about you?
Loved it! Looks like a blast. I hope I can catch it next year. You know it’s been crazy lately. So when you guys went to the castle, did you paddle with a stick?! Loved the forward finishing roll. For me the key to that one was thinking about that driving knee wanting to come out of the water. Hope to see you on the water soon!