Ukioq 2000-Mi Nuummi Ammasumik Qaannamik Unammersuarneq

The 2000 National Open Kayaking Championship in Nuuk, Greenland

Sermitsiaq--the summit is 7.25nm from where I took this photo.

The 2000 Greenland Kayak Championships were the first held as an 'open'-- that is non Greenlandic and/or non Qaannat Kattuffiat  members were allowed to participate and compete.   The events are held annually and consist of numerous aspects regarding kayaks and the kayak traditions in Greenland.  Most kayak competitions throughout the world consist of racing.  In Greenland, racing is done as well as rolling, harpoon throwing and rope-gymnastics, which have been used for centuries for building strength, agility, and balance-- skills key in kayaking.  

Some 130 or so people participated in the 2000 gathering.  Most of the municipalities of Greenland were represented-- from Qanaq in the North to Qaqortoq in the South. Foreigners present were from the United States, Britain, Faeroe Islands, Denmark, and Norway.  The competition lasted a week, and Maligiaq Padilla of Sisimiut won the championship. For information regarding the Greenland Kayak Association and the annual Championships, please visit the QajaqUSA web-page:

Hilmar Ibsen  Christensen of Paamiut paddled a couple hundred miles to Nuuk for the
Championships along with other Paamiut team-mates. 

Before the race.

A child racing with an adult trailing for safety. Note the small
outriggers fastened to the child's kayak.

Starting line of the Children's race. Boys and girls as young as
five years old participated.

Two women from the Northern West coast adjusting their
sprayskirts before a race.

Justin Smallbone of the U.K., paddling my kayak after the

Maligiaq Padilla during the rolling competition.

A storm in Nuuk. The old colonial harbour is in the foreground.

Playing in a storm. Sustained winds of 50 mph, gusting 70 were
endured this day. Kayakers right next to me were in and out of sight as
large waves rolled between us. This was the most fun I have ever
had in a kayak!

Landing the catch.

2a.m. Sunset.

Public parking.

Team rolling competition: 30+ rolls, done on both sides-- if one
member fails, no points awarded.

Hans Egede's House (ca. 1721), now the Prime
Minister's residence.

Getting my Kayak to Greenland. . .

How I made my "travelling" kayak:  I pre-made all the pieces of my kayak, which is a replica of a type I'd already built before: the 1892 South Greenland kayak-- my preferred choice for rolling.    Essentially, just built a frame and then cut it up on a bandsaw. The scarfs did not need to be 'perfect' as one needs when simply making a short gunwale longer-- in deconstructing a gunwale, I merely bandsawed the scarfs by eye, making sure they had an appropriate glue-surface-area ratio.  The trick to to this was drilling holes for pegs through the gunwales at the scarf-positions to help index and align them when re-assembled. The photo above shows the entire disassembled kayak next to my other replica.   There are 44 pieces, and all these pieces weigh 21#-- cloth not included.  This same process was used when I built two sizable East Canadian kayaks on Baffin Island in 1996. 

The re-assembly of the kayak: This process took three days, working perhaps four hours a day.  The scarf-joints were all quickly aligned, glued, and pegged; I used polyurethane glue for this.  The next step was to assemble the frame and tie all the lashings-- this couldn't have taken more than two hours or so.  The keel had not been cut to final shape yet, nor had the chines,  so I did have some final shaping and adjusting to do.  All the ribs were pre-bent and numbered.   Next was the fitting of the cloth-skin.  This took about 3-1/2 or four hours: The skin was not pre-sewn or even pre-cut at all.  Finally, the deck-lines, fittings, and coaming were fitted and the kayak received its first coat of paint. 

My re-assembled kayak (right) next to the Nuuk Kayak Clubhouse.
More about this kayak in the replicas section.

The Greenland National Museum.

Pavia Tobiassen about to go hunting for seal in his kayak.

Pavia Tobiassen launching his kayak to go seal hunting.  His equipment
consists of a small-calibre  rifle, rifle-bag, polypropylene rope with a large fish-hook
on the end, a bird-spear (with an iron point for dispatching seals), and a couple
candy-bars beneath the rear deck-straps.   His kayak has unusually long ends,
and is fitted with a skeg to aid in tracking while coasting with the rifle drawn.  
The extra paddle is a rare accessory, and is most likely being taken along 
so as to have an 'outrigged' paddle on each side.  (The paddles are
placed underneath the deck-straps to add stability while resting or waiting for
seals with the rifle drawn.) 

The sea at Nuuk during a summer storm.

Many thanks to John Heath, the Baidarka Historical Society & George Dyson, and to the
Oregon Ocean Paddling Society (O.O.O.P.S.) for their kind & generous support! 

Many thanks to the Greenland National Museum, Kirsten Madsen and Anders Gedionsen, the Qaannat Katuffiat, and the Peqatigiifik Qajaq Nuuk for their assistance & hospitality!