The sea kayaking community lost one of its true legends today.
Derek Hutchinson has often been called the father of the modern sea kayak as he one of the first to bring sea kayaking to the masses with is many books and DVD’s. I remember when I was young being fascinated with his book, Derek Hutchinson’s Guide to Sea Kayaking and for me was one the key books that got me interested in paddling.
Derek was also a prolific designer and over the years designed several kayaks including the famous Gulfstream and its little sister, the Slipstream for Current Designs. At the time (early to mid-1990’s) both boats were years ahead of the market curve compared to what the other North American manufacturers were putting out. The Slipstream was the first kayak I ever owned and still look back in fondness to the many adventurers (and mishaps) we had together.
At 4:12 PM GDT I said my final farewell to my adventure partner, my mentor and dearest friend Derek Charles Hutchinson. Derek passed peacefully in his bed. His adventure on this earth started June 30, 1933 and ended Oct 10, 2012. He has now launched for his next adventure.
I wish to thank all of you who have sent your comments to Derek. It meant so much to him, his family and his friends. It is typical to wonder if you have made a difference during your time on earth. The comments you have sent are just a fraction of the number of people Derek has touched. There is no doubt he made a huge impact during his life.
Derek was an innovator, a thinker, a designer, a teacher, a writer and was never shy to share his opinion on any topic related to paddling. He will be missed indeed. Paddle on brother, paddle on.
Filmed at the 2007 West Coast Sea Kayak Symposium, Hutchinson talks about the BCU, kayak and paddle design, paddling in England and modern sea kayaking. It is a very interesting interview to watch.
My first thought is that he sounds like an arrogant, bitter old man who is upset at the state of paddling today. There is a minor rant about the BCU as well as comments about how paddling in the UK is better than everywhere else in the world.
Oh, yes apparently there is no need for asymmetric spoon blade paddles and everybody should still be paddling with a 90 degree feather.
Watch for Kayak designer Matt Broze of Mariner Kayaks to make a funny appearance where he challenges Hutchinson's claim to fame of being the first person to put hatches in a glass boat. It's fantastic.
Below are two articles where Matt is getting some of his history facts if you want to do some of your own research.
Folding Boat History and the Modern History of Kayaking
The early years - A history of the North American sea kayak industry
Please don't get me wrong, I understand and acknowledge that he has made tremendous advancements to the sport of sea kayaking through the years and a lot of people seem to worship the ground he walks on but watching this interview was very interesting.
To view the video, click the "Read More" link.