Founded in 2002, Qajaq Training Camp is an Official Qajaq USA event. It takes place at Camp Lookout, near Frankfort, Michigan. There is no road access to the camp. Our only access is by kayak or pontoon boat, making this a true full-immersion Traditional Greenland Kayaking event. With only around sixty attendees and a very high mentor-to-student ratio, training is flexible and focused on helping everyone succeed, whether you have never been in a kayak before, or have decades of experience. With the exception of youth scholarship attendees, this event is intended for adults.
Our mentors represent the full spectrum of the paddling community, from expedition to whitewater, surfing, racing, and building. What brings them together is the love of Greenland kayaking, whether strokes, rolling, rope gymnastics, building gear and kayaks, or using harpoons. Regardless of your experience or interests there will be mentors and attendees to help you have a remarkable experience. Check out our 2019 Mentor Bios here.
2019’s Special Guest Mentors:
Tanja Olsvig grew up in Ilulissat surrounded by siblings and a father who paddle qajaqs and compete in the Greenland National Championship. She first tried a qajaq when she was 5 or 6 years old, being taught by her father and siblings. Ever since, her kayak club and the members of Qaannat Kattuffiat have become her family for life. For her, qajaqing is a celebration of her forebears, every competition honoring them and reviving their culture. For many years she paddled and did rope gymnastics until 2017 when Maligiaq, who was taught rolling by her father, taught her how to roll on his request. She quickly learned that rolling is in her blood and she learned almost everything that Maligiaq could teach. Tanja loves being underwater and the fact that she can come back up anytime she wants to. In 2018 she was named Qajaq Woman of the Year. Medals and results are not her passion though; it is all about the love of the sport and how it makes her feel. One of her best memories was in the 2018 rolling competition when she was the only woman to complete the walrus pull: being pulled by 6 strong men and keeping her qajaq upright.
An internationally known authority on Greenland rolling techniques and Greenland rope gymnastics, Dubside is easily recognizable at any event by his completely black attire and distinctive beard. He spends a portion of each year in Greenland interfacing with Greenlanders and learning more about their culture and their kayaking skills, and no doubt teaching a bit also. The remainder of his time he spends traveling throughout North and South America, Europe, and Japan giving presentations, demonstrations and instruction for symposia, clubs and outfitters. Dubside is also the creator of the qattaarneq.com website.
2019 Mentoring Team
Hands-on Building Clinics
This year we are offering a series of hands-on mini-clinics where you will get the chance to learn certain processes and techniques for building qajaqs. The goal of these clinics is to have every attendee DO the technique, not just watch. Come bend a rib, peg a deck beam, or lash a keelson. Each session will last between 1-1.5 hours, so take a short break from the water and try your hand at something new.
The 90-Minute Build
Ever wanted to build a qajaq without all the commitment? Do you like to laugh? How about burning all of your mistakes in an epic Bonfire? Well we have the perfect event for you! This year at TC we will have three teams ‘competing’ in a qajaq build and race. Your team will have 90 minutes to build a qajaq out of long strips of wood, duct tape, and one or two additional tools. Once complete, we will ‘cling wrap’ all of the qajaqs to be raced the next morning then burn them in the bonfire that night. We feared that this event might push us overboard with our already high levels of fun and laughter, but we are going to give it a go! Like our Facebook page for updates on our spunky captains and race plans as the event approaches.
The traditional greenland paddling jacket, called a tuilik, is oversized to allow freedom of movement. Many paddlers opt to wear a PFD under their tuilik to maintain their range of motion, and many chose to wear a low-profile inflatable PFD under their tuilik rather than a standard vest. This makes it appear as if they are not wearing a PFD in photos. PFDs are required for all on-water activities.
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