Archive for September, 2015

Traditional Paddlers Gathering – Minnesota

Yesterday I returned home from the Traditional Paddlers Gathering, which takes place on Lake Carlos in Minnesota. This was my sixth year at the event, and I must say, it is one of my favorites. The place is beautiful, the activities are an absolute blast… and the people… well, they totally rock.

Qajaqs and kayaks fill the lawn next to the warm lake.

Qajaqs and kayaks fill the lawn next to the warm lake.

Throughout the four-day event I taught informal rolling, The Art of Teaching Rolling, Simplifying the Roll, Skin-on-Frame Rescues and an on-land class focused on a discussion of traditional qajaqing. I also ran two sessions of Yoga for Paddlers and did an evening presentation on The Greenland National Kayaking Championship. Typing this, it seems like a lot, but I had so much fun working with the enthusiastic participants that I could’ve kept going for much longer!

A rather scenic parking lot.

A rather scenic parking lot.

In addition to the stuff that I was teaching, there were lots of other classes and activities going on. These included strokes, a really interesting class on making fire, Greenland Rope Gymnastics, a qajaq building demonstration, a harpoon contest and a hand line fishing contest.

Dave Sides works with Andrea on Greenland Rope Gymnastics.

Dave Sides works with Andrea on Greenland Rope Gymnastics.

Fred Randall works on a qajaq during the weekend-long demonstration.

Fred Randall works on a qajaq during the weekend-long demonstration.

Sipke practiced fishing from the dock in preparation for the hand line fishing contest the following morning.

Sipke practiced fishing from the dock in preparation for the hand line fishing contest the following morning.

I participated in the hand line fishing contest. Watching the sunrise on the lake was well worth waking up early for.

I participated in the hand line fishing contest. Watching the sunrise on the lake was well worth waking up early for.

One thing I've learned is that if you're feeling chilly, it's worth finding out where Cindy is. She's great at finding the warmest place in camp :-)

If you’re feeling chilly, it’s worth finding out where Cindy is. She’s great at finding the warmest place in camp 🙂

A few people went for a walk in the woods and brought back some tasty mushrooms. This is likely the largest mushroom that I've ever seen, and the picture only shows half of it!

A few people went for a walk in the woods and brought back some tasty mushrooms. This is likely the largest mushroom that I’ve ever seen, and the picture only shows half of it!

Evening entertainment included movie night, presentations, a silent auction, a raffle and a live auction.

Evening entertainment included movie night, presentations, a silent auction, a raffle and a live auction.

Jeff Bjorgo also kept us entertained with some live music.

Jeff Bjorgo also kept us entertained with some live music.

Evening fires were also fun, and I tried something called a pudgie pie, which was very good.

Evening fires were also fun, and I tried something called a pudgie pie, which was very good.

The qajaq that Fred build was auctioned off on Saturday night.

The qajaq that Fred built was auctioned off on Saturday night.

All in all, it was a fantastic event. Thank you to Michelle, Tony, Jeff, Pete, Cindy, Renee and Sipke for taking such good care of the out of town mentors and to all of the participants who came out for the event. It was wonderful to see/meet you all! See you next year!

Greenland or Bust’s September Newsletter

September 15THE NORDIC TOUR • GREENLAND EXPEDITION •
8TH UK STORM GATHERING SYMPOSIUM

We’re writing this newsletter from a hot and sunny Malmo, Sweden, the second to last stop on this year’s Rebel Kayaks supported Nordic Tour. This year’s Tour ends tomorrow, and we can’t believe that it’s almost over. It has been a wonderful summer! We’ve met lots of great people, seen lots of fantastic places and worked with over 1,000 incredibly awesome people. THANK YOU to everyone that has been part of our summer!

Throughout August we ran Simplifying the Roll and a BCU Coastal Navigation and Tidal Planning class during Värmlands Paddelfestival in Karlstad, Simplifying the Roll and an instructor training day in Helsingborg (both in Sweden), Simplifying the Roll in Rungsted, Simplifying the Roll and technique classes in Frederiksvaerk and Simplifying the Roll during the Gronlandsk Symposium in Svendborg (all in Denmark). This weekend we’ll be running Simplifying the Roll, Simplifying the Rescue, Incident Management and Yoga for Paddlers in Malmo and Simplifying the Roll in Karlshamn (both in Sweden).

Later in September, Helen will be teaching Simplifying the Roll at Big Lagoon, in California, and then heading to Minnesota for the Traditional Paddlers’ Gathering, taking place at Lake Carlos State Park. After that she’ll be teaching Simplifying the Roll and Simplifying the Rescue at Whiskeytown Lake in California, followed by a trip to Mendocino to run private rolling classes during Mendo Madness.

Meanwhile, Mark will be running a BCU 4 Star Sea Training and Assessment in Pembrokeshire, Wales, followed by a BCU 4 Star Sea Assessment on Anglesey, also in Wales.

Later in the year we’ll be teaching Simplifying the Roll and Combat Rolling together on Anglesey, then heading to the Sea Kayaking Cornwall Symposium in Southern England. Helen then heads to Pacific City, Oregon for Lumpy Waters. Most of our winter programs will then be in California, until February, when we head to Anglesey to run the 8th UK Storm Gathering Symposium. Will you be there???

And finally, are you interested in joining us for a Greenland expedition? Next year’s expedition will take place in the Disco Bay/Ilulissat area from July 20 to 31, 2016, and places are filling fast. Contact us at info@greenlandorbust.org for more information.

As usual, visit www.greenlandorbust.org for more information and our current Events calendar and Blog postings. You can also follow us on Twitter. For questions, comments or to schedule us in your neighborhood, e-mail: info@greenlandorbust.org.

Happy paddling!

Helen and Mark


Q & A with Helen

Front to Front Norsaq Roll
(Norsamik Masikkut)

Question: My forward/forward norsaq roll only works the following way. First, I must open eyes and watch the outward sweep until the point of the “back down and under to touch the hull” part. Secondly, I can’t seem to leave the left hand touching the Qajaq. Only when I touch the back of the sweeping hand with the one that’s supposed to be left touching the gunnel, does it work. Thoughts?

Answer: It sounds like you’re doing a two handed norsaq roll. If that’s the only way this roll is working for you, then you’re using too much “arm” and not enough “body.” When I do this roll I find that the power comes from my abs. From your description, it sounds like you’re recovering on the right side of your qajaq, so I’ll describe it with that recovery:

– Extend directly out to the right side of your qajaq as far as you can.

– Reach up with not only your norsaq, but the top of your head as well. Try to get your eyebrows out of the water. This should put a nice arch in your back.

– Meanwhile your left hand should be doing nothing. I hold the bottom of my qajaq. It’ll slide a bit during your extension, but just try to keep loose contact with the qajaq.

– When you think that your body is in the right position, focus all of your energy on the crunch. Basically, picture every internal organ squeezing into a spot a couple of couple of inches to the right of your belly button. Lift your knee to hit that spot, and slide your hunched upper body over the front deck. Your shoulders should stay square to the sea floor and then to the qajaq deck.

– With the norsaq, from the extended position, and while you’re doing all of the body movements described above, push it through the water to get some lift. Follow through until it hits the bottom of your qajaq. By this time, the rest of you should be up. As with any roll, this really has way more to do with what you do with your body than what you do with whatever object you’re holding.


Program Schedule
Nordic Tour 2015:

May 23 to August 30, Norway, Denmark and Sweden

May 23 to 24 Asker, Norway

May 29 to 31 Oslo, Norway

June 5 to 7 Fitjar, Norway

June 9 Bergen, Norway

June 10 to 11 Glesvaer, Norway

June 13 to 14 Austevoll, Norway

June 18, Skudeneshavn, Norway

June 20 to 21 Stavanger, Norway

June 26 to 29 Copenhagen, Denmark

July 3 to 4 Grebbestad, Sweden

July 9 to 12 Stockholm, Sweden

July 16 to 18 Mora, Sweden

July 22 to 26 Nynashamn, Sweden

July 28 to 30 Sandhamn, Sweden

August 1 to 3 Karlstad, Sweden

August 8 to 9 Helsingborg, Sweden

August 11 to 12 Rungsted, Denmark

August 15 to 16 Frederiksværk, Denmark

August 22 to 23 Svendborg, Denmark

August 29 Malmo, Sweden

August 30 Karlshamn, Sweden

And The Rest…

Simplifying the Roll
September 5, Big Lagoon, California

Traditional Paddlers’ Gathering
September 10 to 13,
Lake Carlos State Park, Minnesota

BCU 4 Star Training
September 14 to 18, Pembrokeshire, Wales

BCU 4 Star Assessment
September 19 to 20, Pembrokeshire, Wales

Simplifying the Roll
September 19 and 20, Whiskeytown, California

Simplifying the Rescue
September 19, Whiskeytown, California

Private Rolling Classes during Mendo Madness
September 25 to 27, Mendocino, California

BCU 4 Star Assessment
September 26 to 27, Anglesey, Wales

Simplifying the Roll
October 3, Anglesey, Wales

Combat Rolling
October 4, Anglesey, Wales

Sea Kayaking Cornwall Symposium
October 10 to 11, Cornwall, England

Lumpy Waters
October 16 to 18, Pacific City, Oregon

Traditional Skills Paddle (for ENC)
November 1, Stone Lagoon, California


Working on your roll and need a little help? Simplifying the Roll with Helen Wilson and Yoga for Outdoor People are available from our on-line store HERE

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Copyright © 2015 Greenland or Bust, All rights reserved.

Helen Wilson and Mark Tozer • (707) 834-5501

info@greenlandorbust.org

The end of this year’s Nordic Tour

Sunday was the last day of this year’s Rebel Kayaks supported Nordic Tour, and I have to say that it felt strange. The tour started in Asker, Norway on May 23, and for over three months we’ve ran classes in Norway, Sweden and Denmark. We’ve seen the weather go from cold and snowy to hot and sunny, and now the autumn rain seems to be settling in. We’ve coached over 1,000 students, and have had an absolute blast the entire summer. This was year six of the tour, and we’re already looking forward to a year seven.

My last BLOG ended with classes in Helsingborg, Sweden, and from there we took a ferry to Denmark and headed to Rungsted for four rolling classes in some incredibly clear water.

A little yoga is a great way to start a class.

A little yoga is a great way to start a class.

In Rungsted we worked on everything from first rolls to forward finish hand rolls.

We worked on everything from first rolls to forward finishing hand rolls.

Clear skies and calm water created a very tranquil environment.

Clear skies and calm water created a very tranquil environment.

It's nice to stop, reflect and enjoy the sunset.

It was nice to stop, reflect and enjoy the sunset.

After leaving Rungsted, we made our way to Frederiksvaerk, also in Denmark. This was our third year running classes here, and over the years we’ve become good friends with the enthusiastic club members. It was great to be back.

Throughout the two days, I ran four sessions of Simplifying the Roll, while Mark ran technique classes.

Jacob helped me to anchor the kayaks in a fun teaching spot.

Jacob helped to anchor the kayaks while everyone hopped into the water.

We worked on rolls, laughed, played around and had a great couple of days.

We worked on rolls, laughed, played around and had a great couple of days.

Participants in Mark's class are smiling… the sign of a great day.

Participants in Mark’s class are smiling… the sign of a great day.

We had a little competition to determine who had the best inside edge turn. The winners got Rebel Kayaks buffs.

We had a little competition to determine who had the best inside edge turn. The winners got Rebel Kayaks buffs.

Happy paddlers.

Happy paddlers.

Saturday evening we went to a local brewery to taste some different types of beer, all of which were very good.

Saturday evening we went to Halsnaes Bryghus for food and to taste some different types of beer, all of which were very good.

After saying our goodbyes in Frederiksvaerk, we headed to Copenhagen for a few days of exploration. For us, a visit to Copenhagen always includes a trip to the Inuit display at the Natural History Museum of Denmark.

One of many fantastic display cases.

One of many fantastic display cases.

A display of ulus, or "women's knives."

A display of ulus, or “women’s knives.”

It's always fun to look at the paddles, and examine all of the different shapes.

It’s always fun to examine the different paddle shapes.

The cockpit shapes are really interesting too.

The cockpit shapes are really interesting too.

This well decorated norsaq is one of my favorite objects on display at the museum.

This well-decorated norsaq is one of my favorite artifacts on display at the museum.

The upcoming hand line fishing contest at The Traditional Paddlers' Gathering has stirred up quite a bit of interest in Inuit hand lines, so we took some pictures of the ones on display.

The upcoming handline fishing contest at The Traditional Paddlers’ Gathering has stirred up quite a bit of interest in Inuit handlines, so we took some pictures of the ones on display.

After "researching" hand lines, we headed to Bakken for some brainless fun riding roller coasters and playing games.

After “researching” handlines, we headed to Bakken for some brainless fun riding roller coasters and playing games.

We didn't take pictures from the rides, so here's a different type of picture. What is it that makes sticking your head in a hole for a picture so much fun?

What is it that makes sticking your head in a hole for a picture so much fun?

Then we headed to Svendborg, Denmark for the Gronlandsk Symposium, organized by Kajak Inn.

Both days started with yoga.

Both days started with yoga.

Rolling was a great way to cool off during the hot day.

Rolling was a great way to cool off during the hot day.

Many participants at the event were working on very advanced rolls, such as the Spine Roll, the Behind the Back Roll and the Straightjacket Roll.

Many participants at the event were working on very advanced rolls, such as the Behind the Back Roll and the Straightjacket Roll. Here a Spine Roll is born.

Dubside was also teaching at the event, and it was great to catch up with him.

Dubside was also coaching at the event, and it was great to catch up with him.

Greenland Rope Gymnastics were part of the event.

Greenland Rope Gymnastics were part of the event.

I ran a Stupid Paddle Tricks race, complete with prizes.

And I ran a Stupid Paddle Tricks competition, complete with prizes.

Several people tried out the Rebel Husky, a new kayak that we've been using for the Tour.

Several people tried out the Rebel Husky, a new kayak that we’ve been using for the Tour.

A happy camper.

A happy camper.

After the symposium we took a ferry to Bornholm, an island far off the coast of Denmark.

A little down time on a far away island was a really nice vacation.

A little down time on a far away island was a really nice vacation.

We enjoyed the view from a lighthouse.

We enjoyed the view from a lighthouse.

And visited Hammershus, Scandinavia's largest medieval fortification.

And visited Hammershus, Scandinavia’s largest medieval fortification.

We also visited Gaarden, The Bornholm House of Food Culture, which featured a working farm and fresh produce.

We also visited Gaarden, The Bornholm House of Food Culture, which featured a working farm and fresh produce.

This napping hedgehog had us a little concerned, but a gentle poke woke him, and he strolled off into a safer location.

This napping hedgehog had us a little concerned, but a gentle nudge woke him, and slightly irritated with us, he strolled off to a safer location.

We also went to The Bornholms Birds of Prey Show.

We also went to The Bornholms Birds of Prey Show.

The remarkable birds were wonderful to see up close.

The remarkable birds were wonderful to see up close.

Mark and I left the island feeling refreshed, rejuvenated and ready for more classes.

Mark and I left the island feeling refreshed, rejuvenated and ready for more classes.

Our next stop was in Malmo, Sweden.

We started the day with Yoga for Paddlers.

We started the day with Yoga for Paddlers.

I taught two Simplifying the Roll classes, while Mark taught Simplifying the Rescue and Incident Management.

Then I taught two Simplifying the Roll classes, while Mark taught Simplifying the Rescue and Incident Management.

ugliug

A roll is born.

One way to move about the canal.

One way to travel about the canal.

Mark's class worked on maneuvering strokes.

Mark demonstrates an inside edge turn.

Mark takes a break while looking at Oresund Bridge, the bridge that connects Sweden and Denmark.

Mark takes a break while looking at Oresund Bridge, the bridge that connects Sweden and Denmark.

Happy paddlers.

Happy paddlers.

After a day in Malmo, we headed to Karlshamn, Sweden to run two Simplifying the Roll classes for KajakSyd.

The classes took place at a beautiful lake in Karlshamn.

The classes took place at beautiful Lake Langasjon.

A beautiful roll.

A perfect roll in crystal clear water.

Success.

Success.

Much to my horror, Mark expressed an interest in trying Surstromming, fermented Baltic Sea herring potent enough to expand the can it comes in.

Much to my horror, Mark expressed an interest in trying Surstromming, which is fermented Baltic Sea herring potent enough to expand the can it comes in.

The smell coming from the fish was quite possibly the worst thing that I've ever smelt.

The smell coming from the fish was, simply put, awful!

Most people think that the smell is worse than the taste, and when served this way, the flavor blends in. Mark ate his… I had the smallest bite I could take, but enjoyed the other things on the table. Thanks Goran and Veronica for setting up this tasting for us :-)

Most people that have tried this traditional Swedish dish claim that the smell is worse than the taste, and when served this way, the flavor blends in. Mark ate his… I had the smallest bite I could take, but enjoyed the other things on the table. Thanks Goran and Veronica for setting up this tasting for us 🙂

Thanks to Annette and Preben (Rungsted), Jacob, Lene, Gitte and Soren (Frederiksvaerk), Pernille and Jacob (Svendborg), Anders (Malmo) and Goran and Veronica (Karlshamn) for taking such good care of us during this leg of the tour. Thanks also to everyone that took care of us on previous legs, to Johan Wirsen of Rebel Kayaks and, of course, to everyone that came out for the classes. You all made us feel very welcome, and we really enjoyed our summer. THANK YOU, and see you next year!

Photos by Mark, Helen and Anders Kristensson.

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