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Instructional Offerings - What is Traditional Kayaking


Kayaks have existed for well over 2,000 years. Originally, these skin–on-frame boats were used in the stalking and pursuit of seals, walrus and whales, as well as for hunting caribou in inland waters, fishing, and ferrying people across rivers. Nimble and graceful, these crafts were essential to the survival of many native northern cultures. Today, except for a few northern communities, kayaks are no longer used for hunting, but primarily for recreational paddling – all over the world.

The Greenland styles of kayaks are a work of art, as well as fun to paddle. These traditionally designed boats offer a range of characteristics that work well for recreational paddling. Generally, they are fast, lightweight, maneuverable and usually quite easy to roll. In Karen’s Basic Greenland/Traditional Kayaking Skills Class, students will be exposed to the skills associated with paddling these kayaks, the traditional equipment used and an overview of the history of the Inuit culture. Some of paddling skills covered will include the touring and sliding stroke, sculls, balance brace, rescues and the different rolling techniques used. It is recommended that students have a roll for this class.

For those who are interested in building a traditionally designed skin-on-frame kayak, check out Bob Foote’s website under kayak building. In his three-day Skin-On-Frame Kayak Building Workshop, he teaches and helps novice and experienced builders alike to build one of these crafts at a reasonable cost, in a reasonable amount of time, using modern equipment and materials

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