Events

With summer slowly winding to a close is it time to put your sea kayak away for the season? Heaven's no! In fact, I would argue that early fall is one of the best times of the year to get out kayaking. Sure, the air is cooler (but you can dress for that) but there are less power boaters out on the water and with the fall winds blowing you will find waves and surf (if that’s your thing). For those who do love getting out in rough water (or those who aspire to) make sure that you get yourself registered for the Gales Storm Gathering taking place October 3-5 taking place in Munising, Michigan. Now in its 4th year, the Gales Storm Gathering has proven to be one of the premier rough-water paddling events in North America drawing paddlers from all over the country. Registration is filling fast so get on it pronto. Everything you need to know can be found here. Sadly I can't attend this year due to a new boss who has decided to follow HR's rules and actually keep track of staff vacation days but it's on my schedule next year for sure. Booo to following work rules... Photo credit: Gales Storm Gathering
If you have a weekend free this summer and looking for kayak training in a very relaxed environment, make your way to the Ontario Sea Kayak Centre, located 2.5h north of Toronto in Parry Sound. For the first time they are offering a series of theme weekends covering a wide variety of topics including Greenland Paddle building and rolling. Paddle building and rolling is fine and all but I want to highlight two other programs also going on. The first is that I'm teaching a navigation and weather themed weekend coming up in just a couple of days. We will be covering stuff like trip planning, on-water navigation and the basics of weather forecasting as well as getting out and checking out the sights and sounds of Georgian Bay’s 40,000 islands. In the past have you gotten lost listening to a friend trying to explain the wonders of navigation? I will try to sort it out for you. It will be practical, nerdy but certainly not boring. Another weekend that looks amazing and you should for sure think about attending is the leadership and risk management weekend hosted by Alec and Sharon Bloyd-Peshkin of Have Kayaks, Will Travel Paddlesport Coaching in Chicago. Over the weekend they will be covering the latest and greatest kayak rescue techniques as well as how to manage incidents on the water. Of course it won’t be all rescues all the time and they will also be working with students to improve strokes and paddling technique. With a small class there will be lots of one on one time. I know these guys love having fun on the water so I know you are going to have a great time. Looks interesting? You can find more info about the training weekends here.
This past weekend I was invited to teach at the 2nd annual Pacific Paddling Symposium which took at Pearson College place just outside of Victoria, British Columbia and boy did I have a good time. With just a few work vacation days left (it was poor planning as I have used up almost the entire years' worth already...) I flew into Victoria on Wednesday night with the plan to get together with some friends on Thursday afternoon and do some paddling in the tidal currents off Trial Island (map link). Even though the locals said the currents were not as fast and gnarly as they often are, the 3.5-4 foot high surf waves were perfectly fun with lots of hoots and hollering from all 10 of us out playing in it. The event started on Friday morning with an instructor training day for the coaches working the event. This year's guests included former Olympian coach, Dan Henderson who did a forward stroke clinic as well as Nigel Foster who ran a clinic in the afternoon on messing around in kayaks with weird and silly strokes. The main part of the symposium itself took place Saturday and Sunday and attracted about 80-90 local, mainly intermediate paddlers who attended a wide variety of clinics covering everything from coastal exploration, paddling in currents, surfing, fitness paddling, Greenland rolling, and rough water paddling plus many more. This year I was able to work with a pretty top-notch group of instructors including an introduction currents class with Kate Hives (from The Hurricane Riders), boat control with Nigel Foster and bracing and edging with one of the event organizers, Gary Doran. I really enjoyed working with Kate's intro to currents class as she is a pretty fantastic instructor. She has a good ability to read nervous paddlers and make them feel like they shouldn't be worried and just give the activity a try. Since we had a full day to work with, we were able to get out of the bay and work our way up the coast with the students looking for current and eddies to…
This past weekend I had the pleasure of being invited to teach at the 2nd annual Paddlepalooza sea kayak symposium in Parry Sound, Ontario. Located at the Camp Tapawingo (a YMCA girls camp), Paddlepalooza was a super chill weekend full of classes for beginners and intermediate paddlers. This year I got invited to teach a couple on-water clinics including rescues and efficient forward stroke as well as navigation (for those who get lost easily) and weather forecasting which were really fun. Over the years I've gotten a little jaded with sea kayak symposiums as they sometimes tend to attract the classic, old-man-in-a-beard-and-tilly-hat-who-has-been-paddling-for-a-million-years-and-knows-everything. Not that there is anything wrong with that but those types of events seem (to me at least) to be stuffy, boring and filled with same conversation we had last year. Paddlepalooza was a breath of fresh air with lots of young, enthusiastic paddlers looking to soak up some new tricks. It was also great to see that about 2/3 of the participants were woman. Like other symposiums there was lots of clinics to take, boats to demo and all that good stuff but unique to this was they organized a dance with a hired a local bar-band to come and play the classics. They also got great participation for the contest they organized for the best vintage rock shirt. So kudos to James and Dympna from the Ontario Sea Kayak Centre for putting on a fantastic and fun weekend. So what's next on the calendar for me? I'm super pumped about flying out to Victoria, BC later this week to help teach at the Pacific Paddlesport Symposium. I guess it's about time I sit and look at the schedule and sort out what I'm teaching...but first I need to figure out how to pack all my gear and keep it under the weight limit so I don't pay extra flight baggage fees. That will be the real challenge!
This past weekend I had the immense pleasure to be invited to teach at the 6th annual Golden Gate Sea Kayak Symposium in San Francisco. Organized by Matt Palmariello and Sean Morley, GGSKS is aimed at advanced beginners and intermediate paddlers who want to push the envelope and paddle in rougher waters in a welcoming and controlled environment.
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