C&K Hero Dubside

Dubside photo by John Bolivar.

Dubside photo by John Bolivar.

5 REASONS DUBSIDE IS A KAYAKING HERO

By Conor Mihell

1. He invented Commando Kayaking. "I didn't own a car, so I came up with the idea of using public transit to go paddling. It only works with a folding kayak. I had all the bus stops figured out and could put my kayak together in less than 15 minutes. People seem to find the Commando Kayaking thing interesting but I still haven't found anyone else who's full-fledged into it."

2. He's all about the working class. "It's too bad kayaking is a middle- and upper- class sport. My pitch on the commando thing is that the initial expense of the kayak is high, but you're better off with a kayak than with a car."

3. Pro paddling ain't easy. "People say they admire what I'm doing, but the truth is it doesn't pay very much. I float around because I can't afford a house with a garage and a yard.”

4. He avoids the Euro vs. Greenland debate—or tries to. "I don't want to get into it. But it's a peculiar history of how sea kayaking got stuck on the Euro paddle. The Euro paddle works fine, and you can certainly function that way, but the traditional paddle was developed over 1,000 years ago to be the ideal paddle for sea kayaking."

5. There's no Berlitz for Greenlandic. "I'm studying it because there's a real need for a traditional kayaker in the U.S. who is fluent in Greenlandic. I'd like to be able to hold kid-level conversations when I go to Greenland next summer."

This story first appeared in the March 2009 issue of Canoe & Kayak magazine.

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