Maine Greenland Kayak Festival

September 13 - 15, 2019

8th Maine Regiment, Peaks Island, Maine

Festival is full!

Greenlandic paddlers

Maine, home to the world’s first island trail, has a unique, historical connection to Greenland. The Maine Greenland Kayak Festival brings that heritage home to those who love seafaring in small boats with a skinny stick. Kayakers around the world are drawn to the simplicity and grace of the Greenland paddle. It's the perfect tool for rolling, and has been the paddle of choice for many who have journeyed far by sea.


Evening presentation by kayak historian
  • Vernon Doucette
Historic replica ski-on-frame qajaq

September in Maine

Clear days, warm water, rocky shorelines, lighthouses, and the full harvest moon. The crowds are gone and we have the islands to ourselves.

Portland average September sea temperatures:

  • Max: 18.2°C / 62.8°F
  • Avg: 15.8°C / 60.4°F
  • Min: 13.5°C / 58.1°F
Full moon rising
Ram Light and Two Lights

Our Venue

Peaks Island and the surrounding waters, islands and ledges offer a unique paddling environment: from the calm, protected area by our beach, to channels between islands affected by tidal currents, to paddling in the exposed ocean swell around rocks and under towering cliffs. These "micro-environments" provide a perfect gradual progression for paddlers to experience a wide range of conditions in close proximity.

Skin-on-Frame Qajaqs

The Greenland Paddle - A Tool of the Sea

Learn your first roll, perfect a more advanced one, or build your journeying skills by paddling into protected seas or more challenging ocean conditions. Take in the exceptional natural beauty of Peaks Island and Casco Bay. Enjoy great food, amazing views, and the company of new companions and old friends, all at the 8th Maine Regiment Oceanfront Lodge and Museum.

8th Maine Museum & Lodge

We have reserved the entire 8th Maine Lodge on Peaks Island for the event. The 8th Maine is an historic, Civil War era regimental hall perched above the shore. Views of Whitehead Passage and the sunset over Portland are unparalleled from its huge, wraparound porch.

8th Maine Museum and Lodge on Peaks Island

Building Community

What better way to enjoy the company of other paddlers, after we get off the water, than with good food and music? We'll gather on Friday night for a Cookout, and on Saturday we'll have the Lobsterbake and live music at 8th Maine.

Sunset from Picnic Point

Saturday dinner will be "Maine island-style" provided by Maine Lobsterbake Co.

(Non-lobster options available, too!)

Maine Lobsterbake Co.
The Potato Pickers country bluegrass acoustic band

Live country bluegrass music, grown in Portland, Maine by The Potato Pickers: original folk, country, and salty songs written by Jeff Aumuller, as well as traditional bluegrass, country and fiddle tunes.


Festival Classes

The Maine Greenland Kayak Festival aims to help Greenland paddlers develop the knowledge, skills and experience for exploring the ocean environment. We have invited Coaches and Registered Maine Sea Kayak Guides who have extensive experience with beginning to advanced rolling, ocean expeditions, and rough water paddling, all using a Greenland paddle. Together, we aim to help you broaden your horizons, taking the Greenland style of kayaking out into the sea and along Maine’s unique coastal environment.

The following classes will be offered during three sessions: Saturday morning, Saturday afternoon, and Sunday morning. You will sign up for the sessions of your choice each evening for the following day.

As always in ocean environments, the classes may be modified depending on forecasted and actual weather and sea conditions. See the DRAFT CLASS SCHEDULE.

Rolling - Beginner and Advancing Rolling Techniques in Protected Waters. Led by accomplished and renowned Greenland rollers, this class will train beginning and advanced paddlers in a variety of Greenland rolls. These classes will be in protected waters, allowing you to work on perfecting techniques in a low-stress environment.  

Rolling - Chest Sculling, Sculling and Advanced Rolls in Protected Waters. Sculling rolls are important and often ignored or forgotten topics in the rolling repertoire. Additional advanced rolling techniques further refine the close relationship between the paddler and his or her boat. Exploring these techniques with our instructors and mentors will further your ability - not to mention your confidence - in being able to recover when the unexpected occurs. 

Journeying - Building Efficient Forward Stroke Technique. Paddling distances in exposed waters can be challenging.  This class will focus on dialing in the most efficient ways to paddle your kayak with a Greenland paddle.  From planting your paddle, to body mechanics, to directional control, you will learn how the grace and power of the Greenland paddle can get you to those far-off places few others can reach.  

Rocks & Obstacles - Advanced Maneuvering with your Greenland Paddle. This class introduces paddlers to a variety of steering techniques that are especially useful in the tight areas of harbors and rocky shores.  Instruction will cover a variety of bow and stern rudder techniques, as well as draw strokes. You will then apply those skills by threading your kayaks along our rocky island shores.  

Rough Water Management - Paddling & Bracing in Currents, Swells & Waves. The idea of taking your Greenland paddle out into rougher waters can be unnerving for some. This class will progressively introduce you to paddling and bracing with a Greenland paddle in swells, waves and currents. You will then apply those skills as you paddle into gradually more exposed waters, helping you push the boundaries of your comfort zone and expand the areas you my choose to explore.  

The Surf Zone - Pivoting on Waves, Surfing, and Rolling in the Surf. This advanced class will introduce adept rollers to maneuvering and rolling in waves and surf. Depending on the conditions, it may include punching through waves, bracing into waves, and using the shape and energy of waves to help you turn and move your kayak. Our goal is to include rolling in waves - so be sure you have a good roll before signing up for this one. The objective with this class is to introduce Greenland paddlers to this wave and surf zone, not to overwhelm people with extreme conditions. Given the rocky and variable nature of our shoreline, this class will depend on the weather conditions at the time.  

Seamanship - Wind, Waves, Tides & Topography: Reading the Ocean Environment. This is an indoor and/or outdoor option for those who want to learn how to predict the ever-changing ocean environment. The class will introduce you to evaluating ocean conditions based on information gleaned from charts, tide tables, swell & wave data, weather reports, and old-fashioned visual observations. These are crucial skills for those venturing out to sea in small boats.

Exploring the Islands - A Relaxed Kayak Tour of the Peaks Island Area. For beginning Greenland paddlers, or for those of you who want to take some time out from rolling and rougher waters, this relaxed module will give you the chance to work on your Greenland paddling techniques as you gently explore the islands, forts and wildlife surrounding our beautiful Peaks Island.

Festival Coaches & Registered Maine Guides

Cheri Perry, Greenland rolling coach
Cheri Perry


Turner Wilson, Greenland Kayaking Coach
Turner Wilson


Ginni Callahan, Sea Kayak Baja Mexico
Ginni Callahan


Greg Stamer, World Class Sea Kayaker
Greg Stamer


Dan Segal, Qajaq USA
Dan Segal


Tom Bergh, Maine Island Kayak Co.
Tom Bergh

Coach and RMG

Vernon Doucette, Kayak Historian
Vernon Doucette


Ben Fuller, Master boatsman and Greenland Kayaker
Ben Fuller


Ernie Forgione, Registered Maine Guide
Ernie Forgione


Joe Guglielmetti, registered Maine Sea Kayaking Guide
Joe Guglielmetti


Humphrey Johnson, Registered Maine Guide
Humphrey Johnson


Liz Johnson, Registered Maine Guide
Liz Johnson


“We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”  T.S. Eliot