Hard news

Posted by Ken Campbell October 11, 2012 0 Comment 1084 views
“There’s a correct way to do things and then there’s the American way.” With those words, Derek Hutchinson began his edging clinic at the West Coast Sea Kayak Symposium back in 1998. As someone who had read his books on paddling technique and heard the story of his fabled North Sea Crossing, I held the man in very high regard, even before meeting him. I am, however, an American.
With that, I must say that I learned plenty. Not just about edging and kayak control, but about judgement and mechanics, about why one action brings one result and what to do with my boat if I’m looking for another outcome. I took many clinics from DH over the years and I walked away from each of them better informed and with a higher skill level than I had going in.
Derek Hutchinson passed away yesterday. (It’s hard to even write those words on the same line… they seem so completely incongruous, but there it is.) He died in bed, quietly, with family and friends close by. There are other legendary kayakers, larger-than-life personalities who have permanently carved their initials into the giant paddle, but I can’t think of too many like Derek. Author, designer, explorer and teacher, his contribution to the paddling world has been massive. With unfailingly good humor and an acid tongue, wit to spare and skill to match, Derek Hutchinson was kayaking royalty, and always will be.

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