Last weekend, I had the pleasure of being invited to mentor at the Traditional Inuit Paddlers of the Southeast Greenland Retreat, TIPS for short. TIPS is held in South Carolina near the city of Columbia. This year it was held at the Youth Leadership Center, a facility...read more
As a card carrying member of the traditional paddling community it seemed that it was about time I took an important step and construct my own skin-on-frame qajaq. During the past few years I have built five kayaks. Two were skin-on-frame designs. The first was a...read more
The qajaq was developed by the Inuit to allow them to move amongst the sea mammals and hunt for their family and village’s survival. The qajaq is not a boat, it would be more accurate to describe it as a prosthesis, an extension of the hunter’s body enabling them to swiftly and silently approach, harpoon and recover their prey. Qajaqs fit the hunter just like a prosthetic limb is custom made for its owner. The width, length, height are all custom made to envelope the hunter and allow them to move the qajaq as if it was a part of their body, literally swimming with their qajaq.read more
However hard I try I cant seem to prevent it. There is a certain inevitability or destiny about the damage that ocurs to the tips of my Greenland paddles. Whether it is scratches, bruises, chips or cracks, over time the paddles wear. Carbon fiber and wooden paddles...read more
It was natural that I would kayak, just as it was inevitable I would sail. When you are born into a water family, being afloat rapidly becomes your happy place. I am as happy lying outside the break, waiting to take a ride in the Green Room, as dipping my Greenland...read more
The Inuit know a thing or two about staying warm and dry afloat. The modern spray skirt evolved from the ancient Inuit design for their summer spray skirt the akuilisaq (a-cool-y-sack), the modern spray cag descended from the Inuit tuilik (to-y-leak). Other than changing the materials from the original seal skin, the designs have remained very similarread more
Qajaq Rolls is dedicated to passing on the traditional art of Greenland kayaking. Greenland kayak rolling can be a relaxing, yoga-like exercise. Rolling is also a tremendously valuable self-rescue technique, and should be the go-to recovery for any serious kayaker. Greenland kayak rolls are steeped in the history of the Inuit people, whose very survival depended upon their ability to roll up and recover while hunting. But Greenland kayaking encompasses much more than just rolling, qajaq building, paddle carving, throwing the harpoon and rope gymnastics are just some of the many skills that make up this ancient subsistence culture. If you are interested in learning more about all aspects of Greenland kayaking consider supporting Qajaq USA and Qaannat Katuffiat:
Qajaq USA is a nonprofit membership organization that is officially recognized by Qaannat Kattuffiat (The Greenland Kayaking Association). Qajaq USA is committed to supporting Qaannat Kattuffiat and their efforts to preserve, study and promote the traditions and techniques of Greenland kayaking while seeking to further the appreciation and development of Greenland-style kayaking in the United States.
Please consider joining Qajaq USA and supporting the organizations efforts.
If you are looking to prepare yourself your equipment and then learn your first roll please follow this link to a series of articles put together to help people get started: Getting your first roll. Nothing beats in person training, especially one-on-one training. If you are looking for mentoring check out the Qajaq USA Events where you can become immersed in the culture of traditional paddling.
Rolling with Sticks® started as a project to document the progress I was making as I learned the different Greenland style kayak rolls. This work evolved into the water proof guidebook and DVD. The project has paid for the costs of production so I decided to make them freely available for download in English, español – Spanish and 中文 – Chinese. Please download and share them with your paddling friends, and help to promote the art of Greenland rolling.