If you just go for a paddle than you can stop thinking about wanting to go for a paddle.

Monday, May 23, 2011

2011: Post 16 – Atlantic Paddling Symposium 2011

This weekend I attended the Paddling Symposium.  This is the first time the Symposium has been held here in Newfoundland.  I may stand to be corrected, but it is my understanding that this year’s number of participants was the highest so far with about one-hundred and ten enthusiastic participants plus another couple dozen or so instructors.  Whether you enjoy paddling on a river, canoeing, or sea kayaking, there was something for everybody. 

My sole interest in this Symposium was in the Greenland Paddling and Rolling sessions with Maligiaq Padilla as the instructor.  He is a well accomplished Greenland Kayaking Champion who has been paddling Greenland style for 20 years (about two-thirds of his life).  For the small, but growing, group of paddlers that use a Greenland paddle here in Newfoundland this was a great opportunity to receive instruction from one of the best.

On Saturday morning I took part in the Traditional Greenlandic Paddling session and then in the afternoon we did Greenlandic Rolling.  I enjoyed the day so much that I decided to skip the other sessions I had signed up for on Sunday and went back and did the Greenland sessions over again. 

Our instructor, Maligiaq Padilla, always seemed to smiling

Waiting for the day to get started

Receiving some on-shore instruction

Malcome has been using a GP for some time now.
His paddle of choice is a carbon fibre GP.

Stan has been a regular GP user for a while now.
He also uses a carbon fibre GP.

Neville does not paddle with a GP, but has played around with them
enough that he decided borrow one of Sean's paddles and take in
the morning session.   Look how happy he is to have a
GP in his hands... you'll be converted yet, buddy...

Gerard is a recent GP convert.  Like me, he did the sessions on both
Sat and Sun.  Towards the end of the second day he
proclaimed he did not even want his CF Euro paddles in his home...

Dennis has been using the GP for a just short time but has taken
to it nicely.  I believe he has one of Sean's paddles...

Sean is an avid GP user and maker.  He has made a dozen or more
wood GP's, some of them crafted as well, or better, as any you
are likely to put your hands on.  He regularly loans out his paddles
to those intested in trying them.  Some of us attribute him as a
a big part in our conversion over to the GP (myself included).

Karen has also recently joined the ranks of GP users.  She
borrowed one of mine for the day...

Some rescue practice.... 

Neil, another avid GP user, aids Maligiaq in demostrating
a rescue technique.
Ysabelle has a go at the demonstrated rescue...

Sometimes there are casualties!  This GP died when Maligiaq
 used it to do the rescue on Gerard.  If you don't break a paddle
now and then you just aren't trying hard enough....
(My camera was a little bit foggy after some rolling in the chilly water)

In the afternoons we did the rolling session...  Most people there could roll using a paddle.  Maligiaq spent a lot of the time in the chilly water helping people to work on balance bracing, hand rolling, and rolling with a norsaq.  When I got my one-on-one time with him he initially asked to see my paddle roll and told me it was fine, so I was pleased with that.  Then he worked on the hand roll with me for a while, but I could only do it with the aid of the paddle float.  He told me I was close to getting it though.... my shoulder is dropping so I have to work on that...   

Dennis gets some one-on-one instruction from Maligiaq

Meligiaq giving Karen instruction.

Karen under the watchful eyes of the instructor. 

Sean is not exactly shabby in the rolling department...  but
he is going in for his turn on some instruction from the master.

Maligiaq demonstrating a balance brace. 
He makes it look rather easy. 

Here he is doing some rolling demonstration. 
Again he makes it all look so easy...

I happened to be near Maligiaq and decided to snap a picture.  Without me asking he stood and posed with his hand on my bow.  I am sure he just held my bow to steady my kayak, but to me he sort of looks like he might be doing some kind of Greenlandic blessing on my kayak.... 

The kayak below is one that Sean made this spring.  Meligiaq asked Sean if he could try it out.  When he came back to the beach he remarked how fast the kayak was.  Rightfully so, I think Sean was a little proud of that remark - he did do a nice job on it.  But I did have to remind Sean that Maligiaq was using one of the wood GP's that I made to paddle his kayak.... but Sean promply reminded me how Maligiaq only commented on the kayak and not the paddle! Touché, buddy.

And of course, I had to get my picture taken with the teacher....

It was an enjoyable couple of days.  I am glad I took the time and went.


  1. Looks like most of the crew was our regular Thursday evening group. Glad you enjoyed the sessions.

    Tony :-)

  2. Stan is paddling a black valley boat. What kind is it? My email address is docpresh@gmail.com