I'm officially announcing the Dash Point Pirate TV Channel. For the big kickoff I'm releasing a new video, Harpoon Throwing With Maligiaq! Look for me in there: I'm the guy in the Smurf outfit near the end.
Chris Cunningham made the harpoon, by the way. His impressive collection of hunting implements was on display for the event.
I spent all day yesterday with Dubside, Maligiaq and George Gronseth of Kayak Academy doing the Greenland Style Kayaking thing. It was a good review of paddle strokes, and I learned quiet a few things too! Maligiaq and Dubside worked with me on my forward finishing rolls. The key is a really powerful "hipsnap" (more later). Right now I need to lie down and watch a movie because I'm so sore!
Recently I asked fiberglass guru and kayak builder/designer Sterling Donalson if I could demo the IceKap. I had sat in Dubside’s shiny black IceKap quite a while ago and rolled it a few times in a pool but never actually paddled one. Sterling graciously allowed me to borrow an IceKap for the weekend, so Saturday I was up early in the morning driving to Bellingham to pick it up.
Sterling's Kayaks & Fiberglass is a nondescript big metal shed off a country road. For a boat shop, the smell of wood was conspicuously absent -- instead the strong smell of epoxy resin was everywhere. Another customer happened by the same time I was there. He was getting the leaky skeg box on his Impex Force 5 fixed.
The IceKap I got to use was the standard volume demo model. It is a highly rockered, hard-chined kayak with a pointy upswept bow and stern, 16 ft 11 in long and 19.5 inches wide, weighing 38 pounds (down to 27 pounds with a carbon composite construction) and designed for paddling in challenging coastal conditions. It has full perimeter gab lines and recessed deck fittings, end toggles, rubber SeaDog hatches, a long keyhole cockpit, a retractable skeg, and an optional day hatch compartment. So it’s American, but is really similar to the “British-style” kayaks. Sterling calls it “Greenland-style”.
Sterling’s standard lay-up is a state-of-the art resin infusion technique used with layers of unidirectional cloth. It results in a hull that is stronger and lighter compared to typical hulls built with fiberglass mat. The resins are measured precisely and weights of his boats come out within a pound of each other. All these kayaks are custom built. The design is usually tweaked to meet individual needs: custom bulkhead footrests, cockpit coamings, seats, and deck artwork. The deck can be lowered an inch to cut the standard volume down to a low-volume model. And then the back deck can be lowered even more as in the super low-volume "Dubside model".
Tom Banks said he “literally tried out some 30 different kayaks” and found the low volume IceKap fit his criteria the best. Tom is a BCU-trained rough water paddler, Greenland-style enthusiast and rolling nut!
John Day says that the IceKap is “light, maneuverable, easy to roll and totally forgiving in the surf! It punches out through big, breaking waves better than any boat I've tried. I have used this boat in every condition imaginable….” He also says that it is the best surfing sea kayak next to the Mariner Coaster. John is a ACA certified open water instructor and paddles in insane conditions on the Oregon Coast.
In last year’s Deception Pass Dash, the paddler known as “Kiwi” came in first in his division with an IceKap.
Sterling told me that Heather Nelson did her BCU 5-star in the very same white IceKap I was taking out for the weekend.
So… wow! I don’t think I had ever been so excited about a fiberglass kayak in my entire short paddling life. With that kind of introduction to the IceKap, how can anyone not be totally impressed? I was just itching to put her in the water to find out for myself what the whole IceKap experience was like…
[to be continued]
I have just received word that the trailer for Dubside's latest movie, Modern Greenland Kayaking is out on YouTube. I saw an incomplete version of this movie a few months ago over pie and coffee with Dubside and Tom Sharp at Anderson's General Store on Guemes Island and it sure was exciting. It had interviews with some of the big names in Greenland Style kayaking and incorporated a lot of footage that Tom and Dubside took at the Greenland National Kayaking Championships. Some of this stuff has been shown in bits and pieces at kayak symposiums all over. I'm glad they finally made a feature length film out of it. Unlike the This is the Sea series and Pacific Horizons, this movie has less action and more talk, and even some great historical footage. It's interesting nevertheless and a "must see" for enthusiasts of Greenland Style.
Rumor has it that after the initial public screenings some members of the BCU crowd got their panties in a bind about someone in the movie suggesting that using a standard kayak paddle (the so-called "Euro-blade" for lack of a better name) would eventually rip your shoulder to shreds or something of that nature. So Dubside actually ended up putting in an interview with an internationally-recognized local BCU expert to dispel all those nasty misconceptions. Well, I love a good debate. Controversy is good for the sport. It keeps people interested and engaged.
My only criticism is that they really didn't have a lot of coverage of the American do-it-yourself skin-on-frame kayak building subculture. Well, that could probably fill an entire movie all by itself!
I can hear it already: "Oh no -- not yet another Greenland rolling video!" Yes, it's true! But this is better than any rolling demo you've ever seen -- really! In this video, The West Coast Sea Kayak Symposium Greenland Rolling Demo 2007, Leon Sommé of Body Boat Blade and Greenland rolling guru Dubside (in his shiny new custom Sterling Kayaks IceKap) are at it again with even more ridiculously difficult and impossible rolls, along with Shawna Franklin and Cathy Miller in a NDK Triton double sea kayak, and 10 year-old McKinley rolling with a bowling ball in her skin-on-frame Yost Sea Flea.
I was lucky enough to record the 1st annual "Roll Off" featuring Leon Sommé and Dubside at the West Coast Sea Kayak Symposium in 2005, not knowing at all what to expect. That show totally blew me away! It was a unique event, unlike any Greenland rolling demo I'd seen before, with Leon performing with a NDK Romany and Werner Ikelos paddle, and Dubside in a variety of boats, including his black Feathercraft Wisper. It was informal and friendly, with a great vibe coming from the crowd, many who knew Leon as kayak royalty and Dubside as the new rock star of Greenland-style. Dubside even used a few seconds of my video in his Greenland Rolling with Dubside -- look for my name in the credits!
The Whatcom Association of Kayak Enthusiasts (WAKE) held their annual Demo Day in Bellingham yesterday. My friend Dick Mahler talked me into coming along with him, instead of paddling around Lake Union for the Opening Day of boating season at the Seattle Yacht Club. He wanted to sell some of his old gear and also his unique green wooden kayak Evolution#1 at their swap meet.
There were quite a number of kayaks for sale, including a couple of meticulously crafted skin-on frame baidarkas and a skin-on-frame Greenland boat by the same builder. The skins were cotton canvas coated with linseed oil.
I had an interesting conversation with one of the owners of a kayak outfitting/guide company who was lamenting the pressure to give big discounts on slightly used and even new kayaks. Apparently people have learned to wait to go to a kayak symposium to buy their kayaks and gear, because they know they can pressure dealers to sell them at a discount. In fact, they’ll even wait to get all of their on-water kayak instruction at an annual symposium. In addition, symposia have really expanded here in recent years, so small outfitting/guide/instructor operations are feeling pinched between attending all the events and operating their own business.
Once in a while I’ll flirt with the idea of buying a “real” boat – you know, a long, fast fiberglass monster I can pack a barbeque grill in for that big expedition, but I keep gravitating to the low volume boats. The one that caught my eye yesterday was the Ice Kap built and designed by fiberglass guru Sterling Donalson. It was designed to compete directly with the NDK Romany. It’s just under 17 ft LOA, has a 20 1/4 in beam, and weighs 38 pounds. It’s highly maneuverable. I thought the cockpit opening was big, even for a keyhole cockpit.
According to Donalson, the British manufacturers have some excellent designs and safety features, but their construction process is stuck in the 1970s. Specifically, their use of fiberglass mat rather than cloth soaks up lots of resin, resulting in a heavy, brittle layup. Their use of hand layups also results in manufacturing inconsistencies. In contrast, Sterling Kayaks uses all cloth and a “resin infusion” technique, where a vacuum is created in a closed mold and the resin is then injected into the mold. This results in a precise resin to fiber ratio, a stronger and more flexible hull, and reliable, consistent construction with finished boats weighing within a pound of each other. He offers to demonstrate with a 6 pound sledgehammer on any part of the boat.
A while ago Brian Rhody commented on this blog that Dubside used to be a one-man reggae band in Philly. Yesterday I was able to get confirmation from Dubside himself: he built a custom electric guitar with three base strings and three guitar strings and controls for a drum machine. In fact he is having it taken out of storage and shipped from Philly. Back in his previous life he would play in the corners of small clubs and at frat parties. He could play for three hours without a break, but according to him the act would get old after about ten minutes. Those frat guys were too drunk to care anyway.
Watch on YouTube
I have republished this video of Dubside's rolling demo at SSTIKS 2006. It was originally published on Google Video years ago, because back then Google did not have a time limit to the videos you could upload, and the time limit on You Tube was 15 min. Google Video was eventually retired and all the videos were moved to YouTube. Originally it was shot in standard video and uploaded to the low quality video format available at the time. I have upscaled it to stunning 1080p HD video and added a few subtitles for the rolls. This required a complete re-editing of the video from the original tape. I recommend watching it on YouTube on the highest quality format on a large screen.
This video is representative of an era when both Greenland Style kayaking and Dubside were growing rapidly in popularity, just before Dubside went on to publish first his ropes video, then his rolling videos. I hope you agree that it merits preservation for its historical value.
May 5, 2013
A video clip of the "Scarecrow Roll", not to be confused with the true "Crucifixion Roll", attributed to Pavia Lumholt and Freya Hoffmeister, where the paddle actually goes through the sleeves of the tuilik.
I was cutting some video of Dubside's rolling demo at SSTIKS 2006 this morning and thought I would share a clip of the Opposite Arm Roll which is a hand roll using the opposite arm. I've been to a number of Dubside's rolling demos and each time he comes up with something new.
This roll can also be done with the paddle or norsaq -- probably simliar to the cross arm roll (tallit paarlatsillugit paateqarluni/masikkut) . I gotta try that!
[NOTE: This video has been updated. Orginally shot in standard video, it has been upscaled to HD 1080p]
The posts from Greenland are coming in as the Games are about to begin. Pictures can be found on Tom Milani's blog, qajariaq. Tom Sharp has been posting Commando Communiques on Dubside.net, and on the Qajaq USA forum. Some headlines:
Freya gains marathon advantage due to rough water -- Alison Sigethy and Freya the only two women to finish.
Greenland teenagers check out Dubside's hair.
The international team dines on dolfin and seal -- at a Chinese restaurant.
[PIC from Greenland Rolling with Dubside]