SSTIKS 2017 Mentors
Dan Segal a longtime member of the Walden Qajaq Society (aka “Pond Scum”), was strongly influenced by Bart Hauthaway, an Olympic whitewater coach and one of the leading designers and builders of kayaks in the late 60’s and 70’s.
“Bart was dragged into Greenland kayaking kicking and screaming. He had long correspondence with John Heath, and had seen several demos from Greenland kayakers. But he knew that water didn’t like to travel around edges, and so that kayaks shouldn’t have chines. Paddles shouldn’t “slip” through the water. And he figured that all the rolling stuff was pretty clever and impressive, but took a long time to learn and were really party tricks. Once you had a good C-C roll, what else do you need?”
“Bart was my mentor. He charged me with learning what I could about Greenland technique and helping him understand it. That kayak and that assignment led to the Walden Qajaq Society, at Walden Pond where Bart had taught rolling free of charge for decades. Members of the Society often would demonstrate for Bart before he died. Bart never let up on us during these sessions; no matter how good we thought we were, he knew better and made us better. In Bart’s honor, mentoring remains a tradition at Walden. Information flows free.” “I didn’t know much, and I still wish I could learn much more. Others – Greg Stamer, Harvey Golden, Vernon Doucette — were willing to share. I tried to take what information I could from them, and with the help of other like-minded folks, we help each other learn.” I try to help others get as much pleasure out of this game as I do. Some members of Qajaq USA have worked with me at various events around the country and have helped me get more pleasure still. It’s give and take.
“That seems to be what Qajaq USA is about: learning what can be learned about kayaks and how they have been used; building on that knowledge so that our own technique can improve; helping others do the same.”
Dan was elected to the Qajaq USA board in late 2004.
“Dubside is known internationally as an authority on Greenland rolling and rope gymnastics. He has appeared in Justine Curgenven’s “This is the Sea Four”, Bryan Smith’s “Pacific Horizons”, and magazine articles in “Sea Kayaker”, “Canoe and Kayak”, “Paddler”, and “Adventure Kayak”. He has his own series of instructional DVD’s. Dubside does presentations, demonstrations, and instructional classes for symposiums, clubs, and outfitters throughout North America and Europe. He is also an enthusiastic advocate of using folding kayaks to go kayaking via public transportation, which he calls “commando kayaking”. Watching, listening to, and learning from Dubside will get you excited about kayaking in general and using Greenland style paddles in particular.”
Dave Sides originally thought that Greenland Kayaking was all about bearded guys in odd clothing carrying wooden sticks. As it turns out, Qajaq USA is all about “Pay it forward,” the practice of doing good deeds for others, always being open in volunteering information and passing along what you learn.
“My Greenlandic experience started a few years ago with meeting a big bearded guy on the Hudson River who extolled the virtues of a strange skinny wooden paddle he was using, while leaving me in his wake. When I finally caught up with him at the dock he invited me to join him at the Hudson River Greenland Festival. At HRGF I saw a bearded guy in a neoprene suite doing the most elegant rolls I had ever seen. I met another bearded guy who invited me out for a paddle on the Hudson River with a skinny stick. Finally, I met another rather unusual bearded character with dreads and dressed in all black. He had Greenland Ropes strung in the trees and encouraged me to try. As they say, the rest is history”!
“Although many others have helped me learn and improve, I would like to recognize and thank a few key mentors (most, but not all with beards!): Ed Lamon, for showing me the skinny stick and taking me to HRGF; Jack Gilman, for inviting me paddling on the river and introducing me to Training Camp and Delmarva; Dubside, for being my ropes mentor and for constantly pushing me to use the Greenlandic language; Freya Hoffmeister, for getting me in a tuilik and teaching me my first roll; Cheri Perry and Turner Wilson, for being patient with me in overcoming my underwater demons; and finally Dan Segal, for always getting me to get back to the basics and the mantra: “Now, do it slower.”
Thank you. I am forever in your debt. Pay it forward.” Dave is a past-board member of Qajaq USA.