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Greenland Kayaks and Kayak Building

Overview   Books   Links

The books, links and other references listed on the tabs above are not intended to be an exhaustive list, but represent many of the most popular resources available. In addition to these references, there are many historical texts as well, that are rich in information and await your discovery. For selected reading material, please visit the Qajaq USA bibliography.

As described in the side panel, building a Greenland kayak does not follow a set of predefined "plans," rather it entails a building method. The beauty of the Inuit method is that right from the start, you can interact with the frame and tweak how it fits you.

Depending on your personality, you may prefer to pick just one book for kayak building and stick to that, or to read several books and sort out the many differences and conflicting advice. The latter approach will cause some confusion, but by studying multiple resources, you will be more likely to have a better understanding of the process and common variations. Remember that you aren't alone. You have an entire community of online help and expertise via the Greenland kayak forum.

By far the most difficult thing about kayak building is simply getting started. It can seem overwhelming at first, when you try to comprehend the entire project. Fortunately, building a kayak is not difficult, especially once you break down the process into a simple series of manageable tasks. That said, expect some head-scratching and expect some mistakes. New kayak builders often obsess over details that don't affect the finished product. Remember, although you want your finished product to be strong and resilient, it doesn't have to be perfect. You aren't building furniture, you are building a Qajaq!


Kayak "Plans"

A Greenland kayak is not built per a set of plans but by a building method that strives to fit the kayak to your body dimensions. The information by (Greenlander) H.C. Petersen is closest to the methods used in Greenland. Many of the other sources provide alternative or "modernized" building solutions which are quite satisfactory in their own right. Unless you are a beginner, avoid making your skin-on-frame kayak too large. Even the Greenlanders have to really wriggle to get inside of them. Although the Greenlanders do not practice wet-exit techniques, you can add a great measure of safety to your kayaking by using adequate floatation and a sea-sock.

Team Qajaq USA

Qajaq USA is the American Chapter of Qaannat Kattuffiat - the Greenland Kayak Association. We have members world-wide. Qajaq USA is one of only three affiliated "Qajaq" clubs outside of Greenland. Most "Qajaq" clubs are scattered among the small villages of Greenland and are a major impetus in keeping the local kayaking traditions alive.
Meet the team »

Our Mission:

  • Qajaq USA is a nonprofit membership organization that is officially recognized by Qaannat Kattuffiat (The Greenland Kayaking Association).
  • Qajaq USA is committed to supporting Qaannat Kattuffiat and their efforts to preserve, study and promote the traditions and techniques of Greenland kayaking while seeking to further the appreciation and development of Greenland-style kayaking in the United States.