Tim Dyer and I have decided that we are going to take a year off organizing the 2013 Georgian Bay Storm Gathering and likely switch it over to running every two years.
The reason for the switch is pretty simple; we are both super busy want to spend this October going on other adventures. Also, the Gathering has been running for 7 years so taking a year off so you can attend the many other rough water paddling events in North America is a good thing. The closest one to us is the Gales Storm Gathering taking place in the Apostle Islands, Wisconsin, October 11-13.
When we first started the Georgian Bay Storm Gathering, we wanted to create an event that was focused first on community building with a little bit of instruction thrown in and I think that we have accomplished that. We are pretty proud of it but no need to panic; it will be back for 2014.
Over the past two weekends I had the pleasure of attending both the Gales Storm Gathering in
Gales Storm Gathering
This was the second year for the Gales Storm Gathering and since it rotates around Lake
The Gales had an absolutely stunning set of instructors brought in for the event including Nick Cunlife (from the UK), Shawna Franklin & Leon Somme (from Washington state, Christopher Lockyer (from Nova Scotia), Keith Wikle, Ryan Rushton, Sam Crowley, Erik Ogaard and well, the list is to long you should go to the website to see everybody.
Anybody who says that the Great Lakes don’t get ocean conditions has clearly never been to
Because of the extra large surf at the mouth of the
A couple of highlights for me included co-instructing a beginner surf clinic with Shawna as well as tagging along for an ACA Level 4 instructor assessment with Ryan Rushton and Sam Crowley. For the assessment we went on a downwind run south from Wawa to Old Woman Bay in
As soon as I got home after driving 12 hours, I threw all my laundry in the wash with just enough time to pack it up again and head out on the road again. This time it was north to Parry Sound to the event that I run, the Georgian Bay Storm Gathering. Now in its fifth year the Gathering has become a southern
Georgian Bay Storm Gathering
Now I’m totally biased but I always look forward to the Gathering as one of my favourite events of the year. This year we had instructors from across
Weather wise, we had pretty good winds throughout the weekend but because the direction was from the NE, we didn’t have the largest conditions (not like the Gales that’s for sure). That being said, there was more than enough lumpy water to run clinics on surfing, rocks, rough water rescues, etc. Though I would have liked slightly larger conditions, it was ok as we know how to make our own fun. Highlights included the annual dock launch, paddling in pea-soup fog and a serious match of pumpkin polo. If you haven’t seen pumpkin polo before, picture a large group of kayakers driving over each other while tossing around a medicine ball. It got pretty heated at times.
So for me that ends the organized paddling season for 2012. We still have plans to get out and do a lot of paddling in November and December but I can finally take off my teaching hat and paddle for myself for a change.
See you out there.
Top photo credit: Karine Boucher
Middle photo credit: Meg Garnett
Did you know it’s the middle of August? I sure didn’t. That means that for most people, the paddling season is 90% over. Booo. Just because Labour Day is coming soon, that doesn’t mean you need to hang up your lifejacket for the season. There is a large pile of events taking place throughout the fall to keep your braining tricked into thinking its still summer.
Here are a couple highlights to start planning for in September and October:
If you are a skinny stick paddler you need to make room in your extensive social calendar to attend the Ontario Greenland Camp September 7-9 in
The line-up of mentors and instructors looks really solid with Cheri Perry, Turner Wilson, Dubside as the big names. Tom Froese and Jill Ellis are both coming to teach the paddle making workshops.
More info: ontariogreenlandcamp.com.
Gales Storm Gathering
The other cool thing with this event is that for the 6 days leading up to the Gales there is going to be a large collection of advanced instruction with courses from the British Canoe Union, American Canoe Association and Paddle
Check out the website with all the course and event details at galesstormgathering.com.
The very next weekend after the Gales Storm Gathering is my event which takes place in
The Georgian Bay Storm Gathering is for intermediate paddlers who are looking for one good last kick at the can for some rough water paddling on
It’s a bit of a different weekend where we encourage people to come with their bucket list of things they always wanted to do but just haven’t got around to giving it a try. Want to work on your rough water rescues? What about surfing? Always dreamed of getting thrown off a high dock in your boat? This is the weekend to get ‘er done.
We got a pile of top quality instructors coming from across
More info: georgianbaystormgathering.com.
Lumpy Waters Symposium
If you find yourself in
The list of top-quality instructors is massive and includes Danny Mongo, Paul Kuthe, Steve and Cindy Scherrer, Sean Morley, Rob Avery and Christopher Lockyer (didn’t we see him at the Gales?).
It’s a key fall event for west coast paddlers so get yourself registered pronto.
More info: lumpywaters.com.
Photo credit: Malcolm Taliano
Virginia Marshall from Adventure Kayak magazine took this awesome photo at the 2011 Georgian Bay Storm Gathering last month. That’s 35 knot (70 km/h) winds and yes, the rain is coming in sideways.
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
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.
Summer has somehow slipped into history and the Fall paddling season is just ahead of us.
If you live in the Great Lakes area of Canada/US then you are going to want to look into attending one (or both) of these events this fall.
This is a brand new event being held in
It’s being described as, “a fun, invigorating sea kayaking instructional event for students looking to gain experience “in conditions” on the
The list of guest instructors is quite impressive and represents some of the best instructors in
Session topics throughout the weekend include surfing, long boats in current, open water navigation, rock gardening, rough water rescues and incident management.
If you are thinking of going then you had better jump on it today as it’s over half sold out already.
More info: galesstormgathering.com
The Gathering is taking place for the fourth year on October 13-16 in
I will come clean and tell you that this event is organized by me in partnership with White Squall Paddling Centre so you are welcome to take it with a grain of salt when I say that this event is awesomely awesome.
Like the Gales we will be working through a wide selection of rough water paddling skills including working with waves and surf, towing & open water rescues and rough water paddling.
We have a whole pile of facilitators coming in from across
Finally, we will also have our infamous dock launching competition once again. The dock launch never fails to provide a lot of laughs in the audience towards to those who land on their heads. Good times.
It looks like registration is going quite well and there are only 5-6 spots available so get on it if you haven’t already.
More info: georgianbaystormgathering.com
Photo Credits: Top photo: Virginia Marshall, Middle Photo: Rob Dale, Bottom Photo: Virginia Marshall
I recently got the latest issue of Adventure Kayak and was pleased to see the article I had written on expedition kayak modifications for weekend warriors made it in. It was a fun article to put together as Justin Curgenvan, Bryan Hansel, Derrick Mayoleth and Serge Savard all provided some great tips on pimping your boat.
Turning the page I found what I was really looking for. Adventure Kayak editor, Virginia Marshall wrote a piece on the Georgian Bay Storm Gathering that I co-organize each Fall. I knew she was writing the piece as we did an interview when she attended the event back in October but I hadn't seen anything until now.
I'm pleased the way the article came out and the photos really capture the essence of the event which is all about getting out for some rough-water paddling and actually having fun doing it.
You can find the latest issue of Adventure Kayak online by going here.
This past weekend Tim Dyer from White Squall and myself hosted the 3rd Annual Georgian Bay Storm Gathering at Snug Haven Resort just outside of Parry Sound. 55 intermediate and advanced paddlers from all over Ontario came together to play in the lumpy, cold waters one last time before the season wraps up.
Snug Haven Resort is a great location to host an event like for several reasons. Firstly it’s located in a sheltered harbour in Georgian Bay making launching and landing easier. It allows instructors to find the perfect location for their lessons as teaching in high winds isn’t optimal. The location is also perfect as participants can run back to heated cabins with showers at the end of a long, wet day.
Of course running an event with the word "Storm" in it on the Great Lakes is always a gamble. Those who participated in last years Gathering will remember fondly the ultra smooth waters of Georgian Bay the entire weekend. It was great news to finally saw, “Small Craft Wind Warning” come up on the marine forecast as we got closer to the weekend.
Since then, I have been editing like mad and threw together this short little highlight reel from the 2008 Gathering a couple of weeks ago.
All the footage was shot out on a really cool set of shoals just east of the snake islands on Georgian Bay.