Monday, May 15, 2006

Qajaq Montreal

Last weekend a group of Greenland style kayakers had a booth at the Outdoor Festival and put on several demonstrations for the Montrealais who showed up. Saturday it rained so hard the site, (part of the old Expo 67 World's Fair on an island in the St Lawrence) was rapidly disappearing into the river. Mud was the order of the day, glorious mud. However once in the pond next to the site the people along the shores were entertained watching various rolls and braces. Nicolas Bertrand managed to do a stand up paddle until a kid in a bath-tub plastic kayak bumped into him. All in all a fun day and a chance for many people, both spectators and Euro-style paddlers to get an idea of what Greenland-style kayaking is all about. I think one interesting thing was that of the many people who went out to paddle during the two days, only the Greenlanders rolled their boats, suggesting that this critical skill is not given much value among most of the paddling public. Is that a good thing? I don't think so...

This was our little sancturary from the rain on Saturday. We had a larger crowd on Sunday after the rain let up and were able to show a lot of people how our boats are made. As most people think only of glass or plastic kayaks, it opened a number of eyes. After all, SOF kayaks are where it all began and in Montreal, it is beginning to return to its roots. More and more people are building boats and developing new skills. Is a good thing? I think so!


clairesgarden said...

hi, good kayaking posts! those wooden boats are beautiful. I paddle a valley norkapp heritage, I have been paddling for about 15 years and I just don't know what you mean by greenland and euro-style paddlers?

Michael said...

Hi Claire!

The main difference is the shape of the paddle blade used by Greenlanders compared to the spoon shaped paddle used by Europeans, Americans etc (check the pic). The Greenland blade is long and narrow. It allows for a different paddling style. Their boats are also designed to easily do lay-back rolls of various kinds. A good place to check all this out is where you'll find lots of info.

Enjoyed reading your blog!