Book suggestions for Greenland kayaks?

What with my in process Tern 14 being a Greenland style kayak, I am interested in learning more about it. As I know less than nothing, this should not be too difficult. I found a book on Amazon called “Eastern Arctic Kayaks: History, Design, Technique” by John Heath. Does anyone have any knowledge of this book? Is there another book I should get that would explain what Greenland style is? I’m not looking for how to build one, or a SOF, I just want a general overview or history. Any advice greatly appreciated.

You can carve a nice book out of a
western red cedar 2 X 6.

Just an idea.

Harvey Golden’s "Kayaks of Greenland"
This is an exceptional background of Greenland style boats and design evolution by a guy who knows his stuff - though he won’t admit it.

Excellent read and drawings of not only the boats, but paddles, deck fittings, you name it! Highly recommended - though hearing it from others more well known would probably carry more weight!!

I think you can get it at Amazon’s bookstore amongst others. Note: I am not affiliated with Harvey or the book in any way - though I wish he would adopt me so I could have free and legal unfettered access to his fleet of replica skin boats!!!

Scott L

Eastern Artic Kayaks
and Kayaks Of Greenland are both very good books about greenland kayaking. Kayaks Of Greenland is mostly about the different types of skin on frame kayaks, paddles and history. Eastern Atric Kayaks is a pretty good mix of information pertaining to greenland kayaks, history and technique from a variety of sources. Both books are a great read and informative.

Can Greenland kayaks read?

That may be in the future
I foresee a greenland paddle in my future at some point. I figure even a non-builder like myself might be able to handle it.

Thank you, Scott
I looked into it on Amazon. It must be out-of-print, but still pretty popular based on its price tag. It’s a bit too steep for me, but I will file it away for a birthday wish list.

Sounds like just what I’m looking for
Thank you. I like the idea of a more general mix of information at this point. The order for Heath’s book will go in this evening.

SkinBoats Of Greenland
by HC Petersen. Pretty definitive. Zimmerly’s book on Aleut and PNW kayaks is pretty good for other than Greenland.


Greenland Books
Eastern Arctic Kayaks is an excellent resource, but I’m biased as I have a chapter devoted to “Using Greenland Paddles” in the book.

Two of my favorite books are Harvey Golden’s “Kayaks of Greenland” and “Skinboats of Greenland” by H.C. Petersen. “Skinboats” is especially good for understanding Greenland kayaks and their cultural context. Information on these and other good Greenland kayak books can be found at Qajaq USA at .

Also see the Qajaq USA bibliography at .

Greg Stamer

check the QajaqUSA site
lots of reference materials


Great links
Thank you all. The Qajaq site is fantastic!

One thing you will learn…

– Last Updated: Jan-01-08 10:21 AM EST – that they only similarity between the Arctic Tern and a true Greenland kayak is that they both float. That's not to say that the Tern is a bad boat, but calling it Greenlandic is a big stretch. You could fit most Greenland kayaks inside a Tern with lots of room to spare. That's true of nearly all commercial/kit boats that use "Greenland" in their description.

Harvey’s book
isn’t out of print. I just got my second one for Christmas. (someone “borrowed” my first and forgot to return it. I think you can get it direct from Harvey or through QAJAQUSA.

This I did not know
Why are they calling it a Greenland style then? What about it allows them to stretch the definition a bit. Is it just because of the hard chine?


Many manufacturers seem to

– Last Updated: Jan-02-08 10:16 PM EST –

use the Greenlandic term pertaining to the hard chines. Although there are many different types and sizes of kayaks that were used in greenland for various uses, the most common characteristics seem to be hard chines and low volume. Manufacturers seem to make only medium and large volume kayaks to appeal to a larger range of paddlers. I guess the words greenland kayak, can vary according to your interest and interpretation.