Kayak Community Gears Up For Week of Traditional Greenland Training, Competition

World-class traditional paddlers to join hundreds of kayakers from Pacific Northwest and beyond
for Kayak Academy’s first annual Greenland Week competition and training

greenland-weekIssaquah, WA – Paddlers from across the region and the world are traveling to the Seattle area this October for Greenland Week, a celebration of traditional kayaking skills being held from Saturday, Oct. 30 to Sunday, Nov. 7 at Lake Sammamish State Park in Issaquah, Washington. Lessons and training run from Saturday, Oct. 30 to Thursday, Nov. 4, and the competition itself takes place from Friday, Nov. 5 to Sunday, Nov. 7. Paddlers are traveling from as far away as Japan and Greenland to participate in the competition, which will include racing, rolling, ropes and harpoon throwing contests.

The event was inspired by the Greenland National Qajaqing Championships, which began in 1985 as a way to pass the cultural heritage of kayaking on to younger generations of Inuit. In 2000, the Greenland games were opened to foreign competitors — spurring a growing global interest in traditional kayaking skills and lore. This international event is drawing a growing number of competitors coming from across the world.

Those international participants include Greenlander Maligiaq Padilla — eight-time Qajaq Man of the Year in his homeland, the highest individual award possible in the Greenland National Kayak Championship, the world’s premier traditional kayaking competition. Maligiaq is this year’s featured guest for Issaquah’s Greenland Week.

A growing number of competitors from North America, Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand make the pilgrimage to Greenland’s traditional kayak contest, but the high cost of traveling there excludes many of the most talented and enthusiastic paddlers. At the same time, informal rolling, racing and rope gymnastics competitions have been held sporadically outside of Greenland, but the planners of this fall’s Greenland Week Competition believe the time has come to hold a formal competition in the U.S. The event is hosted by the Kayak Academy and organized by George and Barb Gronseth, along with renowned paddler Helen Wilson and rolling impresario Dubside.

“These traditional skills have served kayakers since the birth of kayaking as a way for native peoples to hunt and survive on the water,” says Barb Gronseth of Kayak Academy. “This year’s Greenland Week is designed to celebrate those traditions, and give paddlers a chance to learn and compete using techniques that continue to prove their great value and effectiveness on the water.”

Registration for competitors is $160 and Includes a T-shirt, awards and the Saturday dinner. For more information, to become a sponsor, to become an exhibitor or to operate a booth, e-mail barb@kayakacademy.com.

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