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.
Camp Lookout has several unique attributes, chief among them Lower Herring Lake, a warm, crystal clear inland lake with a sandy bottom, and Lake Michigan, which affords a variety of conditions depending on weather. The two lakes are connected by a small outlet which flows between them.
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.
Special Guest Mentors:
Dubside is one of the internationally recognized experts in Allunaariaqattaarneq, or Greenland Rope Gymnastics. A very enthusiastic supporter of the art, he literally teaches around the world. A regular competitor and judge at the Greenland National Qajaq Championships, Dubside has produced several videos on rolling, Allunaariaqattaarneq, and kayaking in Greenland. Dressed always in black, Dubside is one of the most knowledgeable people on the subject of Greenlandic culture and kayaking outside of Greenland itself, and we are very pleased to welcome him for 2017!
Gwen grew up paddling calm waters in Michigan and took on more challenging conditions during the decade that she lived in New York. She learned to roll in the muddy Hudson, and loves the way it feels like a combination of two of her other passions- swimming and dancing, particularly when she ditches the paddle in favor of hand rolls. Her favorite kayak trips are those that involve breaking surf, wildlife sightings, time spent upside-down, beach combing in remote locations, excellent lunches, sunsets, or towing broken-down power boats.
Kam Truhn is a Michigan native who has recently returned to the mitten state after spending a decade living and paddling in New York, where he was a regular at the Hudson River Greenland Festival. He was a guide and instructor in the NYC area, and is an ACA level 4 coastal kayaking instructor. He loves to roll, race, explore, and surf when he’s in a kayak.
Kayak Skinning Workshop
One of the unique skills needed for building a skin-on-frame kayak is the process of stretching and sewing the skin itself. Chuck Smith will be leading a drop-in workshop on Friday that will feature the process from beginning to end using one of the kayaks in the Qajaq USA fleet that is due for maintenance. There is no additional registration or fee for this workshop. You are encouraged to drop by and help hands-on with the process as your interest and time allows.
Custom Cockpit Cover Workshop
Many Greenland kayakers build their own kayaks, and that usually means individually-shaped coamings that require custom-sized gear. Mike Bielski and Michelle Delaporte will help participants make a custom pattern directly from their cockpit and use it to cut fabric for their cockpit cover. No sewing skills are needed! Give your cut fabric to Mike or Michelle and they will do the sewing. You can choose one of two models: waterproof, or mesh. The waterproof model uses ultralight nylon remnants up-cycled from a hot air balloon manufacturer. Sometimes, though, the problem is not keeping water out of your kayak, but keeping out insects and critters (snakes, anyone?) while letting air in, so we will also be making cockpit covers with a center made of no-see-um (tent window) mesh.
This workshop has a materials fee and additional registration, and requires Thursday arrival. You may register for this workshop in the store.
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