Qajaq USA Board Members
"Bart was dragged into Greenland kayaking kicking and screaming. He had long correspondence with John Heath, and had seen several demos from Greenland kayakers. But he knew that water didn't like to travel around edges, and so that kayaks shouldn't have chines. Paddles shouldn't "slip" through the water. And he figured that all the rolling stuff was pretty clever and impressive, but took a long time to learn and were really party tricks. Once you had a good C-C roll, what else do you need?"
"That was until someone talked him into building a replica of a Greenland hull. It became Bart's favorite kayak. And he admitted to himself (and to others) that he thought he had been designing boats wrong for over 30 years. He had not put a Greenland deck on his kayak, and never got used to the paddle he made. But he began to recognize the power and grace of the technique. He suspected that by double guessing the people he began to refer to as the 'real experts' -- seal catchers -- he was actually going backwards, as he had with his kayaks."
"Bart was my mentor. He charged me with learning what I could about Greenland technique and helping him understand it. That kayak and that assignment led to the Walden Qajaq Society, at Walden Pond where Bart had taught rolling free of charge for decades. Members of the Society often would demonstrate for Bart before he died. Bart never let up on us during these sessions; no matter how good we thought we were, he knew better and made us better. In Bart's honor, mentoring remains a tradition at Walden. Information flows free."
"I didn't know much, and I still wish I could learn much more. Others - Greg Stamer, Harvey Golden, Vernon Doucette -- were willing to share. I tried to take what information I could from them, and with the help of other like-minded folks, we help each other learn."
I try to help others get as much pleasure out of this game as I do. Some members of Qajaq USA have worked with me at various events around the country and have helped me get more pleasure still. It's give and take.
"That seems to be what Qajaq USA is about: learning what can be learned about kayaks and how they have been used; building on that knowledge so that our own technique can improve; helping others do the same."
Dan was elected to the Qajaq USA board in late 2004.
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