Friday, November 04, 2005

When Bonnie met Cheri at Norrie...

Today's post is from the Sunrise to Sunset gallery I'm working on now - I posted a picture of Norrie Point last night & just wrote & when I finished I looked at it & said "Hey, there's my Frogma post for tomorros...

Here's Norrie Point. This is one of the campsites on the Hudson River Watertrail; it's also the site of the annual Hudson River Greenland Festival, a celebration of traditional kayaks and kayaking skills. My Greenland mentor Jack gave me a ride up to this year before last; I had the most wonderful time; I won the sprint race & got second place in the women's rolling - that was partly because Cheri Perry - who's one of the top Greenland paddlers & rollers in the country - let me use her Greenland-style stitch-and-glue boat. OK, I absolutely adore my Romany, but in the "Stealth" boat - it's a sleek, slim & angular stich & glue & is finished in a glossy black - I was doing some very bizarre & wonderful things - the balance of
this thing was just exquisite & with Cheri talking me through "the list" - the Greenland kayaking championships in Greenland include a list of 30 manuevers - I was able to pull off things like a brick roll (hand roll - rolling the kayak without a paddle holding a good-sized rock in one hand) and an elbow roll (hand roll with your outboard hand on the back of your head - only got that on my on-side but still, wow wow wow...). I didn't manage the brick roll in competition but man, I was so amazed at what I was able to was like doing a very slow & wonderful dance with the boat and the river.

boy, it was phenomenal. Since then it has been a constant source of frustration to know that I am able to do this kind of stuff given the right boat & instruction - the boat, I'd have to build, and hope that it came out well (that's the thing about the homemade boats - people put so much time & care into building them, and sometimes they are sheer works of art, and sometimes they just aren't, and that's got to be the biggest dissapointment) then find storage for (and our barge is a little on the gritty side for a beautiful handmade craft); and Cheri does most of her teaching in Connecticutt which is a case of so near and yet so far. Got an email from her just a couple weeks ago - she & her similarly talented boyfriend are
offering semi-private lessons at a pool in a town in Connecticutt that's just a bit too far away and start a bit too early to make it work out well. Sigh.

So anyways...yeah...that's Norrie Point.

BTW the gallery isn't done yet but if you're intererested you can go ahead & take a look. Glorious day.

I am just going to add one more thing...

If there are any other latent Greenlandwannabes out there (and I think you know who you are...) who wants to twist my arm, holla back, ok? We can talk. Never hurts to talk. Trust me, the logistics are vile. It's the quality of the instruction & gear that even makes me even think about it...

Jack took me once last winter & it was great - although she made me squish into the Stealth in true Greenland style - idea being that NOTHING is going to knock a Greenland paddler loose from their boat, with a flat piece of closed cell foam holding my legs flat, which totally changes the mechanics of even the most basic rolling from the knees flexed & slightly splayed position of a "qajariaq". "Qajariaq" being what the Greenlanders call our modern takes on their traditional boats. The word means "kayak-like". A true "qajaq" is of course a hand-built skin on frame made to fit the wearer like a glove - "wearer" was an error but a good one so I'm leaving it in - really, being in a Greenland boat feels more like wearing something than sitting in something. Anyways, at Norrie Point she let me dispense with that (I was wearing a drysuit which was just bulky enough that the foam was just not going to to fit) which gave me just enough latitude to use the same technique as in my Romany, which is why it all went so spiffily. I was able to re-tune my technique some, but going to one session is just a terribly inneffective way to learn anything about rolling, it requires repetition repetition repetition until the muscles really start to understand what they need to do.

Listening to Cheri (that's me btw)(photo by Jack G.)

Stealthy Cheri Perry demonstrates a "straightjacket roll" - arms crossed, hands clasping shoulders - this one's the hardest of all & as such is actually used as a tiebreaker at the Greenland world championships. Yes, naturally I tried. Didn't even come close.

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