In 2013, two transplanted South Carolinians who discovered quite by accident that each was passionate about traditional paddling had the idea to bring together the sparse population of traditional paddlers in the Southeast to share experiences, knowledge and the fun of developing new skills.  

But more importantly, they also had the desire to introduce the skills, grace and history that is "Traditional Qajaqing" to the uninitiated.  The idea of wearing the arctic gear usually visualized with this style paddling may serve more as a deterrent than a draw here in the Southeast where water temperatures in winter are warmer than those of Greenland in summer. Though it is essential to appreciate the gear and the historical reasons for its use, it is equally important to recognize that enjoying the art, beauty and efficiency of traditional paddling is not inextricably linked to wearing the gear.  Greenland style kayaking can be done anywhere.

Inspired by the DELMARVA Paddlers Retreat, the oldest of the Qajaq USA events, the two set about to create something in the same vein.  They were fortunate enough to benefit from the support of Qajaq USA and the moral and physical assistance of Chris Beckman, organizer for DELMARVA .

In May 2014, the Traditional Inuit Paddlers of the Southeast (TIPS) retreat became the newest sanctioned Qajaq USA event.   That first year, most attendees came from within a 150 mile radius of Charleston, SC.  In 2015, the outreach had expanded throughout the Southeastern region of the US, bringing folks from Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Mississippi, Lousiana, Alabama and Florida. 
Each event has concluded with a feeling of warmth from new friendships made, the satisfaction of having expanded knowledge and skills, and a determination to practice and prepare for a new and energized retreat the next year.   Explore what awaits you for 2019.