Qajaq TC 2023

Qajaq TC 2023 is in the bag! Check out this page to see what kinds of people and events 2024 may bring!

The first year you attend Qajaq TC you are instantly a part of the crew, and every year following that, you feel like you’re at a family reunion.  This year you can expect plenty of time around the bonfire and on the deck overlooking the lake making new friends and catching up with old ones you haven’t seen in a while. Prepare for some serious belly laughs and good times as you reconnect with paddlers, learn new skills, and enjoy a much needed break from regular day-to-day life.

2023 Camp Highlights

Workshops and Clinics

  • We are hoping to do a paddle-making workshop this year, but it’s still tricky to source decent wood, so stay tuned for confirmation of this. You can sign up for the wait list when you register.
  • Remember when we tore off the skin of Danielle’s qajaq last year? This year we will be repairing and reskinning her qajaq. This will be a drop-in clinic that will run all weekend.
  • Mike Bielski will be offering harpoon instruction! Bring your harpoon (or borrow one of Mike’s) and learn the mechanics of good throwing technique.

Rolling and Ropes with Dubside

“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.

2023 Mentors

Danielle Steffey

Danielle practically grew up at QajaqTC and she is still coming back all these years later. She began her path as a mentor via the ACA and soon began paddling with a traditional paddle that she carved herself. It took a few more rounds of carving, but now she rarely ever paddles with anything else. She is passionate about many aspects of traditional paddling, including ropes, rolling, and building. She will encourage you to try something new or help you take your next step, whatever that may be.

Tim Mentor Photo

Tim Gallaway

Tim began using a Greenland Paddle in 2008 and after teaching himself a majority of the traditional rolling list he was bitten by the Greenland Rope Gymnastics bug and is now one of Qajaq USA‘s ropes gurus. In the summer of 2018 Tim traveled to Greenland to compete in the National Qajaq Championships. In 2021 he completed a personal goal of a paddling expedition along the Michigan shoreline of Lake Superior and Lake Huron and has his sights on bigger expeditions in the next few years.

Henry Davies

I have paddled almost exclusively with a Greenland paddle since 2001. I enjoy helping people learn and improve their rolls. What I really want to see is everyone become proficient at paddling/maneuvering their qajaq. Qajaqs aren’t just for rolling, they are for hunting. I use mine to hunt for scenery! Nothing is more fun than hugging the cliffs along a Lake Superior shoreline, matching each rock and cove with the maneuvers of your qajaq — except maybe doing it in some wind and waves.

Pete Kuhn

Pete enjoys kayaking, whether guiding a group in a fully loaded boat or wearing a tuilik in a skinny Greenland kayak throwing a harpoon for points. Biking and blading would be some of his dry land fun and when the water gets hard, it’s time for snow kiting. Pete is an ACA level 4 kayak instructor, wilderness first responder, and a PASA certified snow kite instructor.

Doug Van Doren

Doug Van Doren has been a practitioner of the “Traditional” (Greenland Inuit influenced) style since he began paddling in the early 90’s. He is one of an early handful of North American paddlers to research, experiment with, and honor the traditional paddling style and equipment and to show its proficiency for padding in any sea condition. He is a regular instructor at symposiums throughout the U. S. well as Canada, Wales, and at the International Symposium in Llanca, Spain.

Renee Mentor Picture

Renee Dufresne

Renee has been an active paddler and Greenland enthusiast for many years. She formerly served on the Qajaq USA BOD, and has attended every QUSA event nationwide, all of them in one year. She even participated in the Greenland National Championship in 2017. Thats a lot of miles. Despite the high miles on Renee's cars and body, she's still an protector of all things Greenland. Renee prefers to teach beginning rolling... from day one in your Journey. You need a hand roll? She's got that too.

Mike Bielski

Mike’s route to Greenland qajaqs started with canoes. when given a copy of Adney and Chapelle’s Bark and Skin Boats of North America. The skin kayaks in that book led him to build his first skin-on-frame kayak. He has taught basic skills to Greenland and whitewater paddlers. He has also spent time with multiple former Greenland Kayak Men and Women of the Year to learn harpoon throwing. He enjoys working with people learning their first roll.

Luke Rovner
(Kayak Hipster)

Luke Rovner is a sea kayak coach with a fondness and great respect for traditional paddling. Combining his experience as a photo and video professional with his love of kayaking, he started Kayak Hipster with the goal of capturing outdoor adventures and sharing kayaking tips.

chuck Smith

Chuck Smith is the owner of Aluu Paddles and has been playing on, in, and under the water since before he was born. He is from the Detroit area, where he has organized and run several group builds of qajaqs, paddles, and assorted gear. He enjoys teaching rolls, rescues, and how to build things. He has taught all sorts of outdoor skills, from sailing to winter camping. He has mentored at QTC, The Gathering, and Delmarva.

Gwen Truhn

I have been a paddler my whole life, first in canoes, later in kayaks. I spent time as a kayak guide and ACA instructor on the Hudson River in NY. What really got me interested in Greenland paddling, however, was rolling. I love the way it is like dancing in the water, and I love helping people find the grace and ease in rolling. When I'm upright in my kayak I like to check out beautiful scenery, industrial ruins, and the expanses of water between islands.

Kam Truhn

Kam has a wide range of kayaking interests. A former guide and ACA instructor in NYC, he loves the challenge of big water, long trips, and urban environments. As an aquatic ecologist, he also enjoys lily dipping and looking for cool plants, insects, and algae. Kam teaches paddling and rolling with a mind toward proper form to avoid injury and always loves seeing someone nail a roll they didn't think they'd be able to do.

Gina Johnson

Gina, a traditional Greenland paddler since age 14, is a patient and encouraging mentor who works well with beginners and weary paddlers. She’s committed to inclusivity and making everyone feel comfortable and valued, regardless of background or size. Her infectious energy and enthusiasm create a positive and memorable experience for all, and she's dedicated to ensuring everyone feels at home in and on the water.

Kyle Wills

I've been kayaking my whole life, starting when I was around 6 y/o. I've been active in Indiana kayak clubs since 2020. Namely IYAK - Indiana Kayakers, HCKC - Hoosier Canoe & Kayak Club, and USCA - United States Canoe Association. Kayaking appeals to me both for the fitness aspect, and as a way of leaving my stress on shore for a few hours. I pole vaulted on my school's track team, so learning kayak rolls was a familiar progression of learning body positions and timing.

Martha Gitt

My happy place is in a sea kayak on the big bouncy waters of the Great Lakes. Or floating in a balance brace. I’ve been teaching kayak basics and rescues for over a decade for the joy of watching folks gain new skills and confidence on the water. This is my third QajaqTC, and I’ll be assisting wherever needed, especially while beginners practice their new rolls.

Chris von Briesen

A resident of Milwaukee, WI, I have been a coach/trip guide for the following organizations: Urban Ecology Center, SherriKayaks, and the Milwaukee Kayak Company. I continue to coach at the Door County Sea Kayak Symposium. I have been WW kayaking in NE Wisconsin and have completed a 50-day canoe trip in NWT, Canada. I have been a volunteer with Chicago Adventure Therapy (CAT) and serve on the Board. I have held a WI EMT-Intermediate license and Wilderness First Responder Certification (WMA).