NEW! Kayak Building Classes in New Mexico

We are excited to announce that we now have Pygmy Kayak Building Classes in New Mexico! New for 2020, you can build a Pygmy kayak in a class with these wonderful, experienced instructors in the Southwest. The folks we have chosen to work with share our commitment to quality and a passion for getting folks on the water in crafts they have built with their own hands.

Meet the Instructors: Dan Jones & Teresa Griffith

All together Dan and Teresa have built and helped to build over 45 Pygmy kayaks. They previously taught classes for us in Ohio but have since moved and are excited to get back to teaching.

Teresa kayak launching
Dan and Teresa at the launch of Teresa’s Osprey Standard.

Dan Jones, a long time member of the Pygmy family has been building boats for over two decades and racing them for even longer. He not only enjoys helping others build boats but is an avid paddler with an impressive paddling curriculum vitae. When asked what his favorite kind of paddling is, his answer is ironically brief: “Long trips.”  In short, he’s participated in the Finlandia Clean Water Challenge (1,000 miles from Chicago to New York City- it lasts 5 weeks and paddlers average 36 miles a day), has won his age division for the Run of the Charles (19 miles with 6 portages, two of which are over a mile, no wheels allowed), and has organized long trips to raise money for good causes, including a bike-paddle trip from Ipswich, MA to Marietta, OH, which raised money for the Boy’s & Girl’s club in Marietta. On all of these trips Dan has paddled a Pygmy. Dan flatters us in explaining why he enjoys working with Pygmy, “Pygmy has the best designed boats in the world, and the kits go together very well.”


Dan participated in Woodcraft Magazine’s blog a couple of years ago when he helped Nancy Miller build her Coho.

While Teresa is newer to paddling she is not new to teaching. 

“Teaching is simply in my genes. I recently retired from 38 years in public education. Whenever I find myself truly passionate about an idea or activity, I love sharing it with others. I especially want women to realize that they too can build their own kayak, with no previous woodworking experience. It is truly an empowering experience.”

Teresa further explains why she enjoys the unique quality of wood, “The grain and color vary with each object that is constructed. This enables you, the builder, to have a kayak that is one of a kind.” Dan jokes, “Wood is beautiful. Besides when was the last time you saw a fiberglass or composite tree?” These guys are a great team and their classes reflect their enthusiasm and passion.

To see a current schedule of classes, click here.  

Dan Jones with one of our first displays at Canoecopia. He and Teresa have both attended Canoecopia and helped out in our booth.

About Mesilla, New Mexico:

New Mexico bills itself as “The Land of Enchantment”, and this is very true for the southern part of the state.  Las Cruces, as the second largest city, has a diverse population that blends Spanish, Native American, Mexican and Anglo-American cultures and has well over 320 days of sunshine. There are over 40 motels to choose from, plus a plethora of Bed & Breakfasts and Airbnbs, in addition to RV Parks. A reasonable number of these accommodations are right next to Mesilla. Tourism is a vital part of the local economy with lots of interesting things to do and see, but you would need to extend your stay here, as you won’t have much time to be a tourist during the week of classes. However, if you bring a spouse or a friend, he or she will not have any trouble keeping busy seeing the sights and shopping.

We live in the historic Spanish town of Mesilla which adjoins Las Cruces and is only a short 10 minute drive to downtown. Mesilla is a quaint town with a traditional plaza, lots of shops, and a great selection of restaurants, all within a short walk from our home. Kayak building classes are held at our home in a special studio that offers natural light and stunning views of the Organ Mountains. Class will start at 8 a.m., followed by a lunch break, and may continue into the early evening.

So, come to New Mexico and build a boat. But be careful as you might become “Enchanted”.

8 responses to “NEW! Kayak Building Classes in New Mexico”

  1. Alan Jones says:

    I have a few questions on the March workshop so is it better to post that here or email you off line? Thanks for the consideration in advance, alan

  2. pygmyweb says:

    Probably best to call (360)-385-6143 or email ( since we check those more regularly. Thanks for the interest!

  3. Kevin Bradley says:

    I’m moving to Las Cruces soon. Would love to learn more about your classes and schedule

  4. Dave Elliott says:

    GREAT update & intro folks! Mesilla sounds like a fabulous place to build boats (and to live!).

    I’m still coaching the Borealis build in Eagle Idaho. Dave’s coming along but has a schedule that limits his build time available. I’d like to go back down and “Push him to the finish line”! He’s got his first trip, Leigh Lake, Teton Nat. Park, planned for this summer with canoe friends!

  5. pygmyweb says:

    Fantastic Kevin! You can see the schedule here:

  6. pygmyweb says:

    Awesome Dave! He’s certainly in good hands!!

  7. Eric Magi says:

    Hi, my wife Cindy and I live in Spokane, WA and have 3 Pygmys that I built. We are going to be in Las Cruces February 6-9 and would love to drop by and see your shop. Any chance this might work out?

    Thanks for considering,
    Eric Magi

  8. pygmyweb says:

    Hello Eric! It would be best to contact Dan & Teresa directly. For the sake of protecting their emails from a bunch of spam we will happily email their contact info to you.