Wednesday, June 23, 2010
The symposium season
I was at a rolling and cultural event on Lake Harriet last night and had an opportunity to talk to JackiePack about her trip to the Rossport Symposium up in Ontario last weekend. This is an every other year event that rotates with the Inland Sea Kayak Symposium in Washburn, WI. As expected she gave it great reviews and commented on the quality of both the tours and the instruction. It seems that a person can't help but learn something at these events, if only by osmosis and mingling with your fellow kayakers. The Rossport event kind of kicked off the season but there are plenty more. Door County is coming up and that's the only one in the area that I haven't attended. GLSKS is coming up in mid July and there are two smaller, more intimate learning events that are coming up in July as well. Both involve that skinny stick technique, the traditional Greenland kayaking skills.
The first one is tiny but also promises to offer superb mentoring. Turner Wilson and Cheri Perry will be in Bayfield for a two day (either or both days is available) session the weekend after the 4th of July. ChrisG at Boreal Shores put this thing together and both the VOR and I are signed up. I had the opportunity to train with Turner and Cheri a couple years back and both are fantastic paddlers and instructors with a bit different styles, both of which are effective. It sounds like only one spot is still open for Saturday and 3 or 4 on Sunday. I believe there are only 8 spots in the class so this is some serious 'one on one' stuff. Perhaps my elusive sinking static brace can be perfected as well as the even more elusive stick roll. Forward finishing rolls from my off side (or as Turner insists it be referred to, "the other side") are of course, physically impossible and I'll be avoiding them.
The other event near the end of July is the Northern Lights Qajaq Society's Traditional Gathering. This takes place at Lake Mille Lacs, the famed "Walleye Factory", a large nearly round lake in the middle of Minnesota. The group camp at Kathio State Park is reserved and there will be skinny paddles, skin boats, and lots of instruction and cameraderie. Will Bigelow, seen above with unnamed Greenland groupies, will be there along with Helen Wilson. I bought her DVD and its very nice. I've been playing with some of her techniques that she demonstrates and I think it has helped refine my skills, weak as they can be sometimes. This event is ridiculously affordable, a mere fifty bucks plus your camping, food, and adult beverages, and is a great place to learn.
It is shaping up to be a busy July. For the first time I'll be on the instructor side of the equation up at the GLSKS. The instructor coordinator for the event, the inimitable Kelly Blades, has taken me on as Third Assistant Junior Instructor and Paddle Carrier. I think I know the stuff, I just need to figure out how to teach it. Fortunately, over the years I've worked with some excellent instructors and hope to heist some of their techniques to help introduce folks to the sport. If you are serious at all about sea kayaking, I would suggest jumping on one of these many opportunities to advance your skills and enjoyment of the sport. I can honestly say I've never had a bad time at any kayak symposium.