Upside Down and Backwards
West Coast Sea Kayak Symposium Third Annual Greenland Rolling Demo (2007)

A Conversation with Derek Hutchinson

A Conversation With Derek Hutchinson from Baby Seal Films on Vimeo.

While looking for famous kayaking personalities on the demo beach during the 2007 West Coast Sea Kayak Symposium Richard Lovering and I cornered international sea kayaking authority Derek Hutchinson, considered by many to be the “Father of Modern Sea Kayaking”.  He was gracious enough to grant us a fascinating interview on camera where he shares his thoughts about the British Canoe Union, kayak and paddle design, Greenland Style kayaking, paddling in England, and the origin of the modern sea kayak.  Kayak designer Matt Broze of Mariner Kayaks also makes an appearance. 

Derek Hutchinson is a Senior coach (BCU's highest award) for the British Canoe Union.  He is most known for his crossing of the North Sea in a single kayak (without any support vessels).  Derek wrote the first book about kayaking on the open sea, Sea Canoeing, now titled The Complete Book of Sea Kayaking, in 1974.  His other books include The Basic Book of Sea Kayaking, Expedition Kayaking, and Eskimo Rolling.  He is also featured in the video Beyond the Cockpit, produced in partnership with University of Sea Kayaking founder Wayne Horodowich.  That video is where I learned how to perform a low brace turn while holding the paddle behind my neck and my hat in an outstreched hand!



I enjoyed the the interview, Andrew. Thanks for recording and posting it.
As a sidenote, the James Caird, a 22-foot whaleboat in which Shackleton with five companions crossed 870 miles of Antarctic winter waters and then crossed the unexplored glaciers and peaks of South Georgia, in order to summon help to the crew of the Hms Endurance, marooned on Elephant Island, was only in temporary display at National Maritime Museum in Cornwall.
Its permanent place is at the Old Library at Shackleton's alma mater, Dulwich College, where the boat is in the memorial to the Alleynians killed in the Boer War.


Great stuff Andrew! There's some classic Derek Hutchinson lines in there for better or for worse. Matt Broze cracked me up and I think I'd like hanging out with that guy.


Thanks guys. There was an interesting exchange between these two personalities that I left out, where Derek asked Matt when he was going to get a shave, and Matt confronted Derek about his damaging criticisms of Matt's kayaks, and also why he was telling everyone his self-rescue wouldn't work. It was hard to tell if they were just joking with each other or being serious.


Then Andrew, I beg you to release it.
Oooh, please, please.

Andrew Elizaga

Sorry, Wenley. It's just not the same on camera. You really had to have been there.


I'm sorry I missed the SKS, but glad that you recorded this interview. I'm currently reading Derek's book, which will now seem more personal and real with a clearer picture of what he sounds and speaks like. Thanks!


Very interesting interview. He seems to have some pretty sharp opinions.


Hi Andrew; Cool interview and thanks for posting it. During BCU Week down here in OR in August, I did a Coach 2 training, and I specifically asked Shawna and Leon if there was such a thing as a "Senior" BCU Coach. They said no way! I have mixed feelings about DH . On one hand, he's done alot for the sport and at times seems amiable, and I like his books; on the other, he can be pompous and opinionated. Incidentally, his Tooksook paddle weighs a ton.

Rerto Jordans

The blog article very surprised to me! Your writing is good. In this I learned a lot! Thank you!


You made some good points there. I did a search on the topic and found most people will agree with your blog.

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