Dubside's "first roll" experience, resulting  in becoming a "roll-a-holic", how teaching rolling is a lot harder than it seem, Helen Wilson's secrets to teaching rolling, plus more Greenlandic music!



The Greenland Paddle Forward Stroke

Helen Wilson at

The South Sound Traditional Inuit Kayak Symposium

Listen to Stinne Jacobsen's Ikioniarpinga on Amazon!

Stinne Jacobsen at

Greenland Rolling with Dubside (2006)

Modern Greenland Kayaking, a film by Dubside (2008)

Check out the University of Sea Kayaking for more Greenland rolling instructional videos by Dubside and Greenland National Kayaking Champion Maligiaq Padilla


Dubside playing pool


Buying a kayak for the first time, how to go kayaking without owning a car, kayaking gear you do not need, George Gronseth’s Kayak Academy, six ways to steer a kayak, plus Dubside performs The Qajaq Song.



George Gronseth's KAYAK ACADEMY

Greenland Rolling with Dubside (2006)

Modern Greenland Kayaking, a film by Dubside (2008)

Check out the University of Sea Kayaking for more Greenland rolling instructional videos by Dubside and Greenland National Kayaking Champion Maligiaq Padilla

THE DUBCAST WITH DUBSIDE EPISODE #1: Changing the Sport of Sea Kayaking

As a longtime fan of Greenland style sea kayaking I am thrilled to announce the release of the DUBCAST WITH DUBSIDE, a new podcast I am producing with Greenland style expert Dubside where he shares his personal insights on Greenland style sea kayaking, kayak rolling, urban paddling in Philadelphia, the Greenland National Kayaking Championships, and Greenlandic language, culture, and music.

Dubside has eight episodes recorded so far and we plan to eventually include other guest speakers to share stories about sea kayaking and especially Greenland style. If you enjoy this podcast please comment and us know what you think and also consider helping support Dubside through PATREON. Thanks so much!


George Dyson: The Floating World

George Dyson: The Floating World from Baby Seal Films on Vimeo.


I'm thrilled to announce the release of our latest documentary, George Dyson: The Floating World.

Best-selling author and science historian George Dyson spent his youth living in a treehouse on the water’s edge outside of Vancouver, British Columbia, building aluminum-frame kayaks based on the traditional Aleut design known by the Russian term baidarka. In this short film, Dyson discusses his years living in Canada and traveling by sea kayak along the Inside Passage. We follow him as he gives a presentation on traditional kayaks at the Alaska Native Day celebration at Fort Ross, California, an historic early 19th century Russian settlement which had a sizable population of Alaskan natives whom the Russians had conscripted to hunt for sea otter all along the Pacific coast. 

Dyson is the author of Baidarka: the Kayak (1986), Darwin Among the Machines (1997), Project Orion: The Atomic Spaceship 1957–1965 (2002), Turing’s Cathedral (2012), and Analogia: The Entangled Destinies of Nature, Human Beings and Machines (2020).

I've been sitting on the footage for this film for years and only got around to editing it very recently. My son Joel and I shot the interview with Dyson and Richard Lovering at Dyson's shop, "Dyson, Baidarka, and Co." in downtown Bellingham in 2014, and my partner Katya Palladina and I followed Dyson down to the Fort Ross Alaska Native Day event later that year. This film is similar in size and scope to our documentary The Last Baidarka of Prince William Sound, which was shot around the same time. Since then Katya and I have completed several films and I feel like I finally developed the skills to put the George Dyson interview together in a way that is both informative and entertaining. We had visions of making a much longer film where we actually build an aluminum frame baidarka with Dyson's help. After completing this film, my interest in building one of these exquisite kayaks has been renewed!

Wolfgang Brinck, the author of the book, The Aleutian Kayak: Origins, Construction, and Use of the Traditional Seagoing Baidarka appears briefly in one of the shots. He also attended the Fort Ross event and he let me borrow one of his baidarkas so that I could participate in the kayak race. I got a copy his book (now out of print, unfortunately) when I first starting building kayaks years ago and found it very inspirational, although when I did build a baidarka I used the cedar strip technique.

The History of the Greenland Style Sea Kayaking Movement


In 2008, filmmakers Tom Sharp and Dubside released a documentary about the origins of the Greenland style sea kayaking movement in the United States. The film was titled Modern Greenland Kayaking and was only available on DVDs purchased through their website, Dubside cut a short version which screened at a few sea kayaking events and paddling symposia. At the time, the fringe Greenland style sea kayaking movement benefited from having an ally in the editor of Sea Kayaker Magazine, Chris Cunningham, a builder of wooden boats and Greenland style enthusiast who had written a book on how to build skin-on-frame kayaks, titled, “Building the Greenland Kayak”. Tom and Dubside were hoping to get some publicity for the film in Sea Kayaker but unfortunately, the film was released just before the magazine's demise and it never had wide distribution.

In addition to Chris Cunningham, the film features George Gronseth of Kayak Academy, former Qajaq USA president Greg Stamer, Greenland kayaking historian John Heath, Greenland National Kayaking Champion Maligiaq Padilla, kayaking championship head judge Kamp Absalonsen, and founder of the Delmarva Paddler’s Retreat, Cindy Cole. Sea kayaking legend Freya Hoffmeister even makes an appearance!

The origin of the Greenland style kayaking movement in the United States can be traced to a gathering of about 30 sea kayakers at Camp Arrowhead on Rehoboth Bay, Delaware during the late 1980s, an event which would later become known as the Delmarva Paddler’s Retreat, now the premier Greenland kayaking event in the country. Interestingly, “Delmarva” was not originally an all-Greenland style event, and during the first gathering only a couple people even knew how to roll. When kayak historian John Heath first attended, he showed people how the Greenlanders taught kayak rolling. Eventually he brought 16 year-old Greenland National Kayaking Champion Maligiaq Padilla to Delmarva, and a strengthening connection between this group of paddlers and the Greenlanders resulted in the formation of Qajaq USA, the American chapter of the Greenland Kayaking Association, Qaannat Kattuffiat. Qajaq USA went on to host a number of annual events which brought Greenland style experts, kayak builders, and sea kayakers together for rolling instruction, paddle carving, and kayak building workshops all across the country.

Rolling compRopes

During the second half of his film, Dubside gives us a look inside the 2006 Greenland National Kayaking Championships in Sisimuit, including footage of the rolling competition where Greenlanders compete in sleek, low volume skin-on-frame qajaqs and wear traditional sealskin paddling jackets called tuiliks. Unfortunately Maligiaq Padilla was unable to compete, since he had been badly injured in a boating accident the day before.

The film spends a lot of time covering the Greenlandic ropes gymnastics competition, an event which Dubside says actually requires a lot more strength and skill and involves a great deal more maneuvers than the kayak rolling competition. This emphasis on ropes gymnastics is not surprising given Tom and Dubside’s earlier effort to popularize ropes gymnastics in their first film, Qajaasaarneq, an instructional film of "1000-year-old exercises for strength, flexibilty, balance, and coordination". Although seemingly unrelated to the modern sport of sea kayaking, ropes gymnastics is an important part of the Greenlandic kayaking tradition, and a competitor's performance in this sport makes up a large part of their overall score in the National Championships.

Modern Greenland Kayaking is an important document on how traditional Greenlandic kayaking techniques were enthusiastically adopted by paddling communities in the United States and spread all over the world. Over the years since I began sea kayaking, I have noticed how the general skill level in kayak rolling has increased, and I attribute that to the popularity of Greenland style, the availability of instructors who could teach these techniques, and of course to the availability of a great deal of information on the internet. The sport of sea kayaking owes a lot to the enthusiastic pioneers who forged a relationship with the Greenlanders at Qaannat Kattuffiat in order to spread this knowledge. Without the contributions of the Greenland style movement, sea kayaking would be a far less interesting sport indeed!

I am happy to be able to share the entire film here with the permission of Dubside.

Modern Greenland Kayaking, a film by Dubside (2008) from Baby Seal Films on Vimeo.

Paddling from Cypress Head to Eagle Cliff, San Juan Islands

Lummi at sunset

I'm excited to share this montage I put together with the help of Katya Palladina of her first time touring in her beautiful new Pygmy Kayaks Pinguino Pro 150 out to Cypress Head and Eagle Cliff, San Juan Islands. It's an amazing kayak and a real pleasure to paddle!

Music: "Secret" by Kenneth Ward Lovell Jr., licensed through Audiosocket.

Cypress Head to Eagle Cliff, San Juan Islands from Baby Seal Films on Vimeo.

Maiden Voyage

Katya in kayak 600

I love the look of Pygmy's wooden "stitch-and-glue" kayaks and always thought they looked like furniture. My first kayak was a Pygmy Osprey Standard (15.8 ft long, 24 inches wide) that I bought at the West Coast Sea Kayak Symposium that was held every year at Port Townsend, the regional mecca for wooden boatbuilding. I used to dry if off lovingly with a clean soft cloth after every trip. When I mentioned to Katya that I thought her new Pygmy Kayaks Pinguino Pro 150 looked like a cabinet, she commented that it did actually remind her of the plywood furniture they had in school in the Soviet Union. So now she can't help thinking of her kayak as a cabinet or wardrobe. A lot of builders report thinking exactly the opposite: after working on a wooden kayak for so long, preoccupied with bringing out the beauty of the wood finish, when they finally put it in the water they suddenly realize it really IS so much more than a piece of furniture!


Maiden Voyage from Baby Seal Films on Vimeo.