Let’s face it: If G-Style is going to grow it has to become more commercialized. That means mass produced off-the-shelf standard-sized GPs and kayaks for the masses. Forget about making things by hand! For one thing, it takes too much time to make things to order and to get the fit of a kayak or paddle just right. For another, there are too few commercial builders out there for them to develop a meaningful relationship with every person who wants a Greenland style kayak.
I'm sure most of us first started Greenland style by purchasing or carving a simple wooden GP. Yet you can't just go to your local kayak shop and pick one up. The last kayak shop I stepped into, located in the heart of Seattle, had dozens of carbon crankshaft Werner paddles but only one GP, a clunky laminated wooden Mitchell. How hard it is to stock a few standard-sized cedar GPs? They didn’t even have a copy of Dubside’s video for sale. By the way, if you haven’t noticed already, the video doesn’t have an ISBN or UPC code -- which makes it impossible to sell in bookstores.
It seems that the spread of G-style is inhibited by the resistance of its own members to growth and commercialization. For example, a lot of G-Style instructors do not charge, or feel that it is not appropriate to charge, for paddling and rolling instruction. The unfortunate result is a scarcity of G-Style instruction outside of the symposium setting. Another example: attendance at the South South Traditional Inuit Kayak Symposium reached a little over 100 in 2006. The Qajaq USA regional advisor told me that 100 people is about as many people as the symposium can really handle, given the venue. In other words, they would like to keep it small and really don’t want a lot more people attending. Then there was the interesting suggestion to adjust the registration fee according to income and ability to pay. Am I wrong in sensing some anti-capitalist tendencies here?
In any case, interest in G-Style continues to grow, maybe despite the nonefforts of it's hard core participants. So there's lots of untapped commercial potential here! The next logical step following the commodification of traditional kayaking of course is the sexualization of G-Style. That's right. In fact it's already started. A recommendation for Dubside: follow the lead of the black rubber-clad Goddess of G-Style and get some corporate endorsements. Contact Feathercraft or another manufacturer who is willing to build you a low-volume roller. Then sell it in ads that feature you half-clothed and surrounded by girls in bikinis like an Abercrombie and Fitch commercial (G-Style desperately needs more girls in bikinis, like they have in the hot rod and power yacht magazines). Then again, the sex appeal of Dubside to all the old guys that make up the vast majority of the G-Style crowd is probably pretty limited...
I also have a recommendation for the rest of us: whenever you post pictures of your new skin-on-frame kayak, display it with a girl in a bikini in the picture. Never mind that the water is cold and they risk hypothermia. Nearly naked girls really set off the rugged masculinity of these hunting craft. It will show G-Style as the cool, fun, sexy, youth-oriented sport it aspires to be!