Thursday, November 22, 2007

Fourth Adam Hansen Interview

I've uploaded the fourth of the Adam Hansen conversations with Cheri Perry to YouTube recorded at this year's Delmarva Paddler's Retreat. This is a particularly interesting part as they talk about the Greenland Kayaking Championship and how it got started. When a few people in Greenland realised their traditional kayaking culture was either going to disappear entirely with the appearance of an imported motorized hunting technology, or be relegated to a few dried out museum specimens. Instead they had the foresight to evolve parts of the old culture into a new sport, which has since spread around the world. Not only has the kayak design been copied and developed nearly everywhere, but today the old rolling skills have opened up new vistas for many kayakers far beyond the fjords of Greenland.

The Championships have also provided an opportunity for Greenlanders, both male and female, to come together each year in a different community. These gatherings promote a sense of pride and self-esteem for all who attend. They have also provided a setting for the continued development of the Greenland style kayak. For example, the keenness of the competition has served to refine the 'rollability' of kayaks to the point that organizers had to step in and dis-allow some designs with negative free-board! As well, the hull shapes of kayaks are changing in the search for lightness and higher racing speeds. To say that the competition has raised the self-esteem of young people is to understate what is happening. For some it has provided whole new futures, from kayak guides, like Adam to kayak ambassadors like Maligiaq Padilla.


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