Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Greenland Thing

When I received my email from Gail regarding the classes and who was teaching what, she said there was some room to change things a little bit after things got going. Once the symposium started, it became apparent that changing things around was going to be the norm, and not the exception! The traditional classes were full up, along with rolling. Both of my favorite subjects! I had been first assigned to the beginner classes, and by all rights that was where I should be, given my short tenure as an instructor. But I couldn't help wishing I could have the opportunity to help teach the traditional classes with Doug Van Doren. I could hope, right? At the instructor meeting at 8am on Saturday morning, when it was asked if anyone could help teach the traditional classes I raised my hand and was ready to give it a go. but to be honest I had to tell the lead instructors that .. yes, I've been paddling with a gp for the last 5 years, but if you want me to teach high level skills, and the like .. I will be in over my head. Doug assigned me with Lynn and Lynn for the first half day. This was perfect! I had the opportunity to work with two skilled instructors, with students who were just getting into Greenland paddling. Fun stuff to see people start to understand how the Greenland paddle works! My teaching assignment for the class was draw strokes .. I think I did OK. For the afternoon class, I fully expected to again help with the beginner class. But to my surprise Doug had me tail along with him and Mark Rogers from Superior Kayaks to help teach the advanced strokes class .. was I over my head to teach advanced Greenland strokes? Maybe. I was there to observe, and help as asked. But with Doug leading the class I was able to model after him and things went really well. He is a skilled teacher! It is amazing how well he can hold the attention, and keep a large class together while we drift in the wind across the bay. What I found I liked about the class was the practical use of the paddle. Nothing complicated, just the common sense way to use a tool in the water, to its fullest potential.
What I do find interesting though is the use of the Greenland paddle in just about any kayak. My little blue skin boat with the little white globs of silicone sealant to plug leaks was the only one on the beach all weekend. With the exception of Mark Rogers display boats. Greenland paddling is becoming all about the paddle. I'm not sure if that's the right way to go.


Silbs said...

Nice post. I like seeing folks use the stick, even in glass boats. It, for me, maintains some connection to the roots of our sport and, besides, some of those folks eventually end up at a QAJAQ camp.

Ron said...

I guess when I paddle the skin boat I should use the wood paddle instead of the carbon fiber Novorca.
The good thing, there does seem to be an increasing interest in tradtional paddling.

RoyM said...

I like to think that Greenland paddling is more about the mentality and the approach to paddling and with the water , than about any one piece of the equiptment.

But then I too was using a Carbon Greenland paddle .....and was in a Glass Nordkapp in the North Atlantic a couple of days ago.....felt perfectly normal....felt no guilt at all.

Just got back from Iceland last night. Flew right over Greenland on the way home ....they did ignore me as I waved, so maybe I'm in the wrong with the mentality thing.

Best Wishes

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