Northern Lights Qajaq Society

 This Year’s Mentors

In addition to our usual crew of local mentors, we’re pleased to welcome Dubside, Chuck Smith and Henry Davies to the 2017 Traditional Gathering.


An internationally known authority on Greenland rolling techniques and Greenland rope gymnastics, Dubside is easily recognizable at any event by his completely black attire and distinctive beard. He spends a portion of each year in Greenland interfacing with Greenlanders and learning more about their culture and their kayaking skills, and no doubt teaching a bit also. The remainder of his time he spends traveling throughout North and South America, Europe and Japan giving presentations, demonstrations and instruction for symposia, clubs and outfitters. Dubside is also the creator of the website.


Henry Davies is an ACA Level 4 coastal kayak instructor with Traditional Skills Endorsement and a kayak guide in the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. He likes to teach rolling, strokes and maneuvers with the Greenland paddle, and encourages the development of those skills for use in real life conditions. Henry has attended the Qajaq USA Michigan Training Camp since 2004, and has been a mentor there for an unknown number of those years.

Local Mentors

Among our crew of local mentors are:

Pete Kuhn, an ACA Level Four coastal kayak instructor and guide who is well-known for coaching mid-west paddlers on rolling techniques. Pete is also renowned for his ability to foam out kayaks to make them fit the paddler, an essential technique for people learning to roll. Pete is also as comfortable teaching rolling as he is teaching strokes and maneuvers, he runs several classes dedicated to traditional strokes, paying particular attention to paddle extension.

Sipke Deboer, originally hails from Friesland, but has lived in the US since a young boy. He’s passionate about long distance, endurance activities and has completed over thirty American Birkebeiner ski races. He’s kayaked the entire length of the Missouri river, and is currently midway thru section hiking the Appalachian Trail. When he’s at home in Minnesota, he builds skin-on-frame Qajaq, harpoons, and Aleutian and Greenland paddles. Fully outfitted with Inuit hunting gear, Sipke is an accomplished harpoon thrower, and he’s sure to change the rules every year, so expect a different game this year. Sipke participated in the Greenland National Qajaq Championship in 2017.

Tim Manning, kayak builder, paddle carver and mentor has been a regular at the Gathering for many years. Tims enthusiasm for kayaking is infectious. Tim is an ACA L2 instructor, and also assists TPG with it’s “Eagle Scout” kayaking merit badge program alongside Scout leaders Bill Ness and Chuck Rose.

Peter Strand is an excellent local mentor and our resident photographer.  Hailing from Wisconsin, Peter teaches at many local events, and was part of the crew at the in Greenland National Championship, 2017.

Becky Stadem joins us for a second year, and this time she also represents the Gathering on the Qajaq USA Events committee.  Becky is a skilled roller who has been helping people in northern Minnesota advance their skills for many years. Becky currently holds the record for highest scoring female for judged rolling in Minnesota.

Cindy Petersen, our resident house mum, Cindy is sure to make sure that you have what you need, or know where to get it. Find her quiet guidance toward what ever you need at camp. Did we mention that she’s also a stellar mentor? If you find her in the water, be sure to find a chance to have her help you through your roll.

Renee DuFresne is a director of the board of Qajaq USA, and the Membership Coordinator.  Renee loves playing Inuit Games, both on and off the water. Whether it is the artistry of the forward stroke, or the beauty of a well executed roll, passing on, preserving and sharing the traditional paddling and culture are her passion. Not just passionate about Greenland paddling, Renee is an ACA Level 3 Instructor, with both Traditional Skills and Rolling Endorsements. She also holds a BCU3*. Renee participated in the Greenland National Qajaq Championship in 2017, and boasts a gold finish in every event she participated in…. because at her advanced age, there was no one else to compete against!

Colin Manning, grandson, college student and long time participant at TPG, he’s finally old enough to officially “Mentor”.  We all know he’s been helping us for years!  Youth, intelligence and talent combine to make our youngest mentor a delight to work with. He’s also grooming his baby brother, Aidan, to help us out when he leaves us for college!