USK’s Greenland Kayaking Video Series



When I first started paddling a kayak one of the aspects of the activity I found intriguing was the origins and history of kayaking. What I was learning as a sport was a means of survival and transportation for arctic peoples. Techniques that were new to me were thousands of years old.

I recall teaching a clinic in Alaska in the mid 1990’s with two regional natives in the class. While I felt honored to be teaching them kayaking skills I also felt sad because it should have been me learning the skills from them. However, it is not uncommon for cultural skills get lost for in a culture when modern influences invade a population.

Thanks to the foresight of some people in Greenland, the Greenland kayaking techniques have been saved from being lost due to modern influences. Not only have they been saved, they are seeing a great resurgence today around the world.

Just a decade ago it was not often you would see a sea kayaker using a Greenland paddle. If you did they were most likely sitting in a skin-on-frame kayak. These days it is quite common to see Greenland sticks being used by many sea kayakers regardless of the kayak they are paddling. It is safe to say that Greenland kayaking techniques are here to stay and flourishing around the globe.

I personally took my leap into Greenland kayaking by taking a kayak-building clinic from Maligiaq Padilla in August 2009. I have to say, those eight days achieved the status of getting entered into my platinum memories collection. It was the second time I met Maligiaq. I first met him in Texas during his first visit to the US. John Heath was taking Maligiaq on tour demonstrating his talents. During the kayak-building clinic Maligiaq and I started to develop a friendship. My skin boat turns out to be the fastest kayak in my fleet. I now use it for racing. It is funny to see me paddling a skin boat using a wing paddle when I am racing other sea kayaks. I use my stick during Greenland races.

In the fall of 2010 I took a paddle-building clinic from Maligiaq as part of Greenland Week sponsored by the Kayak Academy here in Washington. It was a nice time to hang around with Maligiaq again and share stories. It turns out my skin boat was the fastest in the race during the competition. Maligiaq designed me a very nice kayak.

In the middle of January of this year (2011) I received a phone call from Maligiaq telling me he his wife Elizabeth was going to have a baby. After I congratulated him he asked if I would be interested in producing a Greenland rolling video with him doing the rolling? The only catch was it had to be filmed before his wife gave birth in March.

I told him I would have to drastically rearrange my schedule to see if I could do it. I was in the process of editing the “Art of Maneuvering Your Kayak” volume 7 in our “In Depth” Instructional Video Series. I was also scheduled to fly to Santa Barbara to present at a Leadership Conference the first weekend in February. Before I could call Maligiaq back I received a phone call from Dubside who asked if he cold be involved in the video project. Maligiaq and Dubside both live in Washington D.C. and were talking about this idea. I told him I needed to clear it with Maligiaq, but I thought the three of us could create a really good rolling video if we capitalized on our individual talents.

Since I was going to be in SB, which usually has good weather for filming I thought it would be a great place to do the video. Hadley & I cancelled our flights and drove down (20 hour drive) with all the video and editing equipment along with my skin boat. Maligiaq and Dubside flew into SB and we were ready to go.

One of our goals was to have Maligiaq demonstrate the rolling techniques as he learned them from his elders in Greenland. We wanted to have a video record of the techniques that were passed on to him in the traditional way, which was from generation to generation. Aside from being an instructional tool our videos are a bit of recorded history.

Dubside’s job was to write a script in time for the filming. Since they arrived on Feb 7th he had about two weeks to get it done. As the producer I had to make the arrangements for the three of us for three weeks. We also needed equipment and kayaks. Another reason we chose Santa Barbara was John Peterson of Shaman Kayaks has his kayak building business just 40 minutes south of SB. John agreed to supply kayaks, paddles and norsags for the initial filming and for clinics. Maligiaq and Dubside taught some clinics in between filming for CKF (California Kayak Friends), the southern CA paddling club. Since I lived in SB for 29 years before moving to the state of Washington I knew the best locations to film what we needed.

Maligiaq built the skin boat he used in the video in just three days. It took a few days after that to get the waterproof coating applied. Seven days after they arrived we were ready to film Maligiaq in his new kayak doing the rolls. He even brought his sealskin tuilik to add to the authenticity.

Given his own expertise in rolling we decided that it would be best if Dubside narrated the details of the rolls while Maligiaq performed the rolls. Since I have the almost thirty years of teaching kayaking under my belt and the video production skills, I was the main cameraman. This way I could get the exact shots and camera angles needed to show how the skills were being performed.

Since I am also a Scuba Instructor I also was able to capture some incredible underwater footage of the rolls. While I was underwater, Dubside was up on a diving board filming Maligiaq from above. We had access to a deep pool with very clear water for some of the filming. We also did a lot of filming in the ocean aside from some harbors. We even included some shots of Maligiaq and Dubside working with the CKF paddlers during the clinics.

We filmed by day and reviewed the daily’s (the day’s shots) in the evening. It was a long two weeks, but I have to say it was a great experience. We had lots of fun and a few spats, but we took the best we all had to offer.

After three weeks together we hugged goodbye and Hadley & I drove back to WA. Now it was my job to do the editing for the first draft of the video. We had so much footage and script it became evident that it would have to be two separate videos. We wanted to show all of the rolls and skills from the Greenland National Championships, aside from some other skills. We decided to use a teaching progression that did not follow the order of the competition, but it would be better for the learner. At he beginning of May Dubside come out to WA and we worked on fine-tuning the first drafts of the videos. We added some more voicing and shot a few extra needed clips to finish the video.

All of this hard work has produced two informative and comprehensive instructional Greenland rolling videos that have some incredible camera shots from four different camera angles as Maligiaq performs his rolls. You will see the rolls being done from the front view, side view, underwater view and from above. After seeing the different camera angles you will no longer wonder what is being done to perform the roll from the outside. Dubside is explaining the details of what to do with your body as you view the different rolls being performed. We feel confident you will get tons of information from these two rolling videos. Below are still frames for the norsaq roll starting on the front deck and finishing on the front deck. Given the clarity of the pool water you can see the fine points of the movements in the video.







The winner of the Greenland National Championships earns the title of “Kayak man of the year.” Maligiaq Padilla has won that honor eight times. Dubside is a top competitor in Greenland rolling in addition to his expertise in Greenland ropes gymnastics. Since these rolling videos combines both of their talents you are getting instruction from two of the top Greenland rolling kayakers in the world.

These first two Greenland rolling videos are just the beginning of the USK Greenland Kayaking Series. We have more planned. Since I am now learning many of these techniques, I am documenting my own experience as I learn to be used in future videos.

Here is a link If you want details regarding USK’s “IN Depth” Instruction Video Series.


 Greenland Rolling with Maligiaq & Dubside Part 1 (Rolling video 87 min + Bonus Sections 37 minutes)

Included in this video are 14 of the 35 rolls included in the Greenland National Championships, in addition to other techniques, skills and information. There is also a bonus section that includes a “Learn to roll” chapter showing a successful learning progression for those who cannot roll.

Rolls & skills included in Part 1: Side Scull ,Balance Brace, Butterfly Roll, Standard Roll, Shotgun Roll, Norsaq Layback Roll, Storm Roll, Chest Scull, Reverse Sweep Roll, Elbow Crook Roll, Neck Roll, Reverse Neck Roll, Cross Arm Roll, Hand Layback Roll, Fist Layback Roll and the Brick Layback Roll.

Link to DVD insert for a list of detailed sections included in part 1.


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Link to the 35 rolls and techniques included in the Greenland National Championships.


Link to You Tube for a sample of these Greenland Rolling videos.



 Greenland Rolling with Maligiaq & Dubside Part 2 (Rolling video 105 min + Bonus Section 42 minutes)

Included in this video are 21 of the 35 rolls included in the Greenland National Championships, in addition to other techniques, skills and information. There is also a bonus section that includes a “Learn to roll” chapter showing a successful learning progression for those who cannot roll.

Rolls & skills included in Part 2: Layback Sculling Roll, Front Deck Sculling Roll, Back Deck Sculling Roll, Vertical Sculling Roll, Hull Sculling Roll, Spine roll, Behind The Back Roll, Hunting Float Roll, Speed Storm Rolls, Speed Standard Rolls, Norsaq Roll Front To Front, Norsaq Roll Back To Front, Hand Roll Front To Front, Hand Roll Back To Front, Fist Roll Front To Front, Fist Roll Back To Front, Brick Roll Front To Front, Brick Roll Back To Front, Elbow Roll, Straight Jacket Roll, Upside Down Paddling and the Walrus Pull

Link to DVD insert for a list of detailed sections included in part 2.


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Sponsors and advertisers

We are selective in the companies we approach for sponsorship and advertising. We choose companies that produce quality products and work to take care of their customers. We hope you support them. We wish to thank the following sponsors and advertisers for supporting USK and these videos:

Shaman Kayaks

Tuktu Paddles

Northwest River Supply (NRS)

Brooks Paddle Gear

Black Light Paddles

Snap Dragon Designs


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