Gordon Brown on Greenland kayaks

January 17, 2007

Gordon Brown author of Seakayaking, in a interview with Simon Willis published as a podcast said:

“There is no place within modern seakayaking for [skin on frame kayaks and greenland paddles]”

He calls Greenland paddles “lollipop stick paddles”. I think he is being deliberately provocative and it is said with some affection as he uses both and can roll like a greenlander but it bugged me for two reasons

Firstly what is the point of limiting the sport? Why define edges or classes? Yet even the term ‘sport’ or ‘modern seakyaking’ gets up my nose, for me sea kayaking is about being on the sea. In what doesn’t really matter. I think of this as a ‘club’ mentality which sadly is a british disease.

Secondly I am not sure it’s factually true. It reminded me of an article by a greenland kayak expert on the most famous greenlander out there Maligiaq Padilla:

Using a Greenland paddle and a borrowed touring kayak with no rudder, he competed against kayakers who used racing kayaks and wing paddles. He made a respectable showing in the top ten, in spite of having to paddle a lot on one side to compensate for side winds.

Later, in Miami, using a borrowed surf ski and a Greenland paddle, he won first place in his category and second place overall, beating several kayakers who used wing paddles.

The full article here.

Anyway I apprecaite Gordon Brown as a sceptical calvanistic Scotsman and its this sceptisicm that made Scotland great (a nation of inventors). A subject blogged about by Douglas Wilcox today too.


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