Pic of the Day

The East Greenland Kayak

IMG_0507Dick Mahler's new "East Greenland replica" kayak is living at my house now.  I tried to get in it this morning, looking forward to taking it on the water.  It's supposed to be a rolling demon, but there's no way I can fit in that thing!  I tried twisting and turning and going in sideways.  

I'm thinking about doing some modifications so I can get in it.  It would require moving the masik forward rebuilding the deck, enlarging the cockpit opening, and reskinning it--basically rebuilding it. But it would be a shame to mutilate it. Such fine craftsmanship!




Man, I would LOVE to try to get in that thing! Maybe Harvey will bring an East Greenland kayak to Qajaq Training Camp as I'm itching to try one out.

GR Fitton

How tall are you and what do you weigh? I am 5’9” tall and weigh 150 lbs. do you think I would fit in it? I would have to know for sur before I built one. Thanks

Andrew Elizaga

Hi GR Fitton,

The Greenland style kayak is traditionally custom built to fit the individual paddler, based on anthropometric measurements (one's arm span, width of the hand, foot length. etc.) It doesn't make a lot of sense to build an exact replica of a museum kayak for general use, especially if there is a good possibility that you won't fit in it.

Anthropometric measurements are a good place to start, but you should always take into account what you intend to use the kayak for as well as your experience paddling kayaks of different sizes and designs. The design for a touring kayak will prioritize volume and strength, for example, while a design for a kayak intended for day trips might prioritize light weight construction. The length of a kayak is often determined arbitrarily by the size of the builder's workshop or garage.

If you are interested in building Greenland style skin-on-frame kayaks, I highly recommend getting hold of two books on skin-on-frame kayak building: Robert Morris's "Building Skin on Frame Boats", and Christopher Cunningham's "Building the Greenland Kayak". Another one of my favorites is Wolfgang Brinck's book, "The Aleutian Kayak".

Thanks for your comments!

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