Four days of training, coaching, island hopping, and simply having fun have left me with some sore muscles and a very malodorous vehicle. Drizzle made drying wet neoprene a bit problematic but as usual the paddling, schmoozing, food, music, adult beverages, and general ambiance of the Inland Sea Society's Kayak Symposium was excellent. In the next couple days I'll attempt to post a couple more reports and some photos but for now a brief overview will have to work.
Wednesday night found us at Living Adventures Inc. for some preliminary dry land training. I discovered that I was an Spontaneous Motivator in my coaching style, as opposed to a Driver, Relationship Master, or Architect & Analyst. Apparently many cult leaders have this leadership style so please refuse any Kool-Aid if I offer you. I was able to spontaneously motivate an instructor migration to Morty's Pub to watch the end of the one sided game 7 of this years Stanley Cup and enjoy some delicious Whitefish and South Shore Brown Ale. I guess there is something to that profiling exercise.
Thursday was spent training and modeling strokes and then getting instant feedback via video. It was a great way to emphasize the kayak learning progression of pointing out strengths, then some weaknesses, and developing a couple of take aways from the skill being practiced. Friday was tour day and 8 of us coaches guided 20 folks on the Little Sand Bay to Point Detour to York and Raspberry Islands and back, the Isle de Framboise tour in keeping with the French motif of the weekend. Good learning with some fog and navigation, awareness of paddling speed, some wave and reflection wave experiences, and some great scenery along the way. Saturday was rolling instruction with a bit of lecturing on Wind, Waves, and Weather with my senior associate Silbs, and then hip snaps and braces in the afternoon. Read his spot on description of the instructor training. Chicken Provencal and a great Celtic band followed by free South Shore beer was wonderful for some and way too much temptation for others. Sunday dawned (or maybe 'nooned' for some) with drizzle, 50ish temps and a full group of folks that wanted to brush up on one skill or another. A lovely brunch and we were off to our respective homes which included WI, MN, IL, MI, IA, CA in the US as well as Manitoba, Ontario, and BC in Canada. The Canadiens actually swept the raffle with the grand prize Seaward kayak heading to Winnipeg and a sweet skin boat, centerpiece of the auction, heading over to Naturally Superior Adventures in Wawa, ON. It's always good to the crew from Wawa (closed circuit to Megan: Cute baby; forgot to get my fleece from you!).
The collective knowledge, students willing to learn and try new things, and the general positive vibe, no matter the weather, is what makes these events. If you like to paddle and have never attended one, it is so worth it. We've all watched students 'click' on certain skills and it makes both students and instructors feel great. Door County and Grand Marais are on the docket next month. Come on up, over, or wherever. Its the most fun you'll have sitting down.