5 W's With Luke Rovner a.k.a. The Kayak Hipster | Adventure Kayak Magazine | Rapid Media
Luke Rovner, The Kayak Hipster, looking cool and colour-coordinated Photo: Luke Rovner

The hipster with a double-bladed paddle, Luke Rovner, answers our questions about Instagram and his love for Greenland-style kayaking

Chances are, if you post sea-kayaking photos or videos on Instagram you will eventually see a  (heart-eyes emoji) from the Kayak Hipster. Luciano "Luke" Rovner shares the social love with #paddlingmixtape featuring bow shots and kayaking drone aerials the world over. He has been an avid enthusiast of Adventure Kayak since he and his wife first took up the sport. He now fills his days dreaming, filming and living out his double-bladed passionate life. You can live vicariously through him @kayakhipster on Instagram. 


Who was the Kayak Hipster before Kayaking?

"I grew up in Beunos Aires, Argentina with parents who loved the outdoors. My wife had a similar childhood, so camping and exploring became our go-to activity.

"We started paddling in recreational kayaks and we made the transition to sea kayaks when I decided to take courses to become a more proficient paddler. Through this pricess I eventually became a kayaking instructor. I do graphic design for photo and video production in marketing and advertising. It was just a matter of time before I brought it all together.

"The hipster thing is a running joke. I used to be a drummer for a rock band in New York City and my friends always teased me about my skinny jeans, v-necks and short-boxed beard. It was an obvious name choice."

What draws you to Greenland-style paddling?

"Friends of mine had Greenland paddles and I was always intrigued. I tried one during a rolling session and was blown away by its buoyancy and forgiveness. I became obsessed with Greenland rolls. I loved the idea of rolling up from any position and doing so gracefully and effortlessly.

"During the span of a winter, I built a skin-on-frame kayak in my basement. It's incredible to think how these used to be made without modern tools. I wanted to share my handiwork and further my rolling skills, so I attended several Qajag USA events. I was greeted by an extremely supportive community."

When did your social media take on a life of its own?

"I don't think I would say it has. I'm still doing the same thing I've done for years, but recently the level of interaction has grown. It's humbling.

[Editor's note: @kayakhipster has over 13,200 followers on Instagram, which is certainly impressive for a rather niche photography subject! By comparison, our Instagram account @paddlingmagazine has just over 7,000 followers. Follow us. Please.]

"When I got into paddling, I began following the feats and adventures of really accomplished kayakers around the world. Reading their stories and watching their videos was truly inspiring. I haven't yet attempted significant paddling feats like circumnavigations. But I think that might be part of why people have been connecting with me. I'm a regular paddler who loves documenting my small adventures and the associated learning process - my wins, my failures and lots of tips I've found helpful along the way."

Where do you live and love to paddle?

"We live in Westchester, New York, around an hour north of New York City up the Hudson River. We're thankful to have numerous paddling options in the region. Our usual playground is Long Island Sound, northeast of New York City along the coast. It's great for day paddles, camping trips and boasts a myriad of launch spots along its northern coast extending up through Connecticut and up to Rhode Island.

"We also enjoy exploring the Hudson and Delaware Rivers. Each provides very different landscapes, with plenty to see. For fun we like playing in the surf on the south shore of Long Island."

Why is sea kayaking important to you?

"It started as a weekend activity and through the years it has become much, much more than that. From quick morning paddles to multi-day expeditions, we always try to plan our time off so we can be near the water.

"I love kayaking because it works out my body and my mind. It reconnects me to nature at a moment's notice. It fulfills my need for adventure, exploration and rush of adrenalin when playing in waves and rough water. It's an ever-changing landscape waiting to be photographed. It has a vast history and an amazing community. It easily combines all the elements we seek when we get precious moments to escape our daily routines."

This article originally appeared in the Early Summer 2017 edition of Adventure Kayak.


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