Legendary kayaker and master raconteur Derek Hutchinson passed away yesterday. Often described as the Father of Modern Sea Kayaking, he was a kayak designer, author, and star of numerous kayaking DVDs. He was part of the group that made the first kayak crossing of the North Sea (a voyage he talks about on the North Sea Crossing & Yarns From The Cockpit DVD.) He had been diagnosed with cancer at the start of this year.
The only time I ever met Derek was just over a year ago when he spoke at a SISKA event here in Victoria, recounting that perilous North Sea Crossing. He was engaging and charming. I never had the pleasure of seeing him in a kayak, but if he could paddle only half as well as he could tell stories, he was one heck of a paddler.
The late Eric Soares profiled Derek last year.
Other tributes can be found at Paddling Instructor, The Last Wilderness, the New York Times and Sea Paddler UK.
Wayne Horodowich (who took the above picture of Derek) from University of Sea Kayaking posted on his Facebook page:
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