Georgian Bay Storm Gathering Recap [Wind]

Tuesday, 18 October 2011
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This past weekend the 4th annual Georgian Bay Storm Gathering took place and once again it was a real blast. You might call me biased (as I’m one of the organizers) but my benchmark for a successful outing with my kids is the lack of crying and tears. Using that metric, I would say that the Gathering was highly successful.

If you have never attended before you will find that it is different then other symposiums in a couple different ways. Firstly, it’s all about having a good time; if you are not having fun then something is wrong. We also work really hard to make the learning sessions as informal as possible. It’s about what you want to learn and your chance to finally work on your rough water “bucket list” of skills.

Over the past several years the weather for the Gathering hasn’t been the best. Typically we would get at least one absolutely calm day where we need to make our own fun pretending we are out in raging surf or sliding down rock faces. This year things turned out to be quite different when a low pressure system formed over the Great Lakes bringing sustained 35 knot (40mph) winds on Friday and 40 knot (46mph) winds for Saturday and Sunday.

Wind and Rain

Of course high winds meant it was difficult to do any teaching as nobody could hear a thing. After a quick survey to see who had paddled in those conditions before (5-6 people), the goal of the morning was to take all who wanted to get out on the water to experience it. We split the group up into smaller working pods and found calmer places in the several different channels along the shoreline. Some of the keener groups jumped in and worked on surfing or boat control around rocks while other groups took their time sticking their nose out in the wind and quickly coming back to the safety of the channel.

At the end of the day it was exactly what the Storm Gathering is about, an opportunity to get paddlers out doing what they always wanted to do in semi-controlled conditions.

Below is a collection of photos I took throughout the weekend:

Thanks to David Unrau for posting the video above.

David Johnston

David Johnston

David Johnston has been introducing people to the sport of sea kayaking for the past 15 years. He is a senior instructor trainer with Paddle Canada and teaches for several paddling schools in Ontario, Canada. Full Bio.

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