TRADITIONAL / GREENLAND KAYAKING
Traditional / Greenland Kayaking with Sea Kayak Carolina
Kayaking has been around for thousands of
years, originating with
the people living in the Arctic. Used primarily for hunting,
kayaks were made from driftwood frames covered with skins of
the seals that fed the hunters and their families. Europeans
“discovered” these kayakers in the 1700s and were amazed by
the skills they demonstrated by rolling their kayaks.
Modern kayaks are based on these traditional skin-on-frame (SOF) kayaks. The modern kayak paddle is patterned after the European canoe paddle — one reason for the large (lollipop shaped) blades — rather than the traditional long, thin (skinny stick) blades.
Rarely made from seal skins now, traditional skin-on-frame kayaks are light weight and are usually made from nylon or cotton canvas and coated to make them waterproof. Traditional paddles are carved from wood and are unfeathered. True greenland paddles are sized to fit the kayaker: the blade to the hand grasp, and overall length to the beam of the kayak and the kayakerʼs height. The cross section of the traditional blade is oval (like a helicopter blade), and symentical — having no power-face or back. And the techniques for using the traditional paddle differs somewhat from those used with the modern paddle.
Fiberglass materials instead of skin on frame are used by such outstanding companies as Tahe Marine, keeping the beautiful lines and performance of the greenlandic tradition, while offering a highly seaworthy and functional kayak to enjoy performing the 36 competition rolls and other maneuvers on the open water (given the lack of walrus to hunt).
Excited about Traditional kayaking? Be sure to take a look at the Zegul/Tahe Marine Greenland Kayaks! We stock and can order any Tahe kayak of your dreams.
Please check Greenland paddling videos.
Upcoming Greenland Kayaking Events
Skills Workshop with Cheri Perry & Turner Wilson
Where: Hosted by Sea Kayak Carolina, in Charleston, South Carolina.
When: Optional Friday, October 24, customized training for $175 per person. Saturday and Sunday, October 25 and 26 - 2-day workshop for $350 per person.
Greenland strokes explored: forward canted, bow and stern sweeps, bow and stern rudders, draws, and bracing. Greenland rolling variations: both layback and forward recoveries with the paddle will be demonstrated as well as norsaq, hand rolls, etc.
With a maximum student to teacher ratio of 4:1, there is much opportunity for reaching your individual goals. The course will run with 6 students, maximum of 8. Register by calling Sea Kayak Carolina at 843-225-7969.
Greenland Kayaking Events
Inuit Paddlers of the Southeast
Date: Stay tuned for information on the 2015 event!
This is a Traditional Paddle (those skinny sticks) experience for water-loving attendees of all levels.
Fran Symes and Fern White are proud to offer the first annual Traditional Inuit Paddlers Retreat for the Southeast and beyond. The event is non-profit and sponsored by QajaqUSA. Paddlers and paddlers-to-be of all levels are welcome to attend and participate!
Modeled after the Delmarva Paddlers Retreat, this is our first local event with a focus on sharing and mentoring Greenland skills, culture, history, and just plain fun in a relaxed atmosphere for a weekend. All meals and lodging are included!
If you’ve ever been curious about using a Greenland paddle, or have used one and want to learn a new skill or become more proficient while in a warm community of paddlers, this is the place to be. A special workshop will be held on May 9th to make a Traditional garment you can use, lead by a special guest and Greenland artist!
For details and registration, visit our website at http://www.traditionalpaddlersretreat.org or contact Fern@ traditionalpaddlersretreat.org or Fran@ traditionalpaddlersretreat.org Take advantage of this new opportunity to learn from masters, mentors, and each other!
Traditional / Greenlandic Kayaking Resources
QajaqUSA is the American Chapter of the Greenland Kayak Association. The website site has extensive information (both written and videos clips) on technique, equipment and references, in addition to several forums. Though they are a volunteer organization, membership provides funds to maintain the website, publication of a journal and e-magazine.
Cheri Perry and Turner Wilson believe that the traditional kayaking skills and tools of the Inuit seal catchers offer valuable lessons for modern kayakers. In addition to teaching greenland paddling and rolling, their schedule includes traditional kayak building and yoga workshops. Both are Greenland competition champions. View a trailer of 'This is the Roll' by Cheri Perry and Turner Wilson.
Alison Sigethy's Arctic Adventures
After many years in the corporate world, Alison is now pursuing her love of art and traditional paddling. She has successfully competed in Greenland. Visit her website and view her rolling videos. View Alison's video clip on our videos page to see kayak ballet with her graceful rolling style.
Helen Wilson, from Arcata, California, paddles the open ocean in her skin-on-frame qajaq. Never far from water, she enjoys being underwater as much as being on the surface. She also has competed successfully in Greenland. Her DVD Simplifying the Roll is now available. View Helen Wilson's trailer on our video page.
Fostering a SC Kayak community of
paddlers – Sea Kayak Carolina is proud to provide
sponsorship for activities like Charleston's East Coast
Canoe and Kayak Festival and the Berkley
Blueways Paddlefest in addition to sponsoring the
1,110+ member Charleston Sea Kayaking MeetUp Group.
We have tide and weather information on our resources page. We're also pleased to present boat landing information for anyone who wants to kayak South Carolina and our many beautiful waterways. Don't hesitate to contact us if there's other local paddling knowledge we can share.