Friday, June 02, 2006

'Tis the Season

Here, in the midwest, it is summer. We can tell this by the alignment of the planets or by the calendar or by the newspaper headline that says, summer begins....etc.. For some aorund here it is synonomous with kayak season, since they've had their boats in moth balls since the first frost of fall and haven't taken them out until now.

Needless to say, these folks are rusty and often find they have lost some of the confidence they had acquired during the previous year. For them, for people who want to perfect a skill, for those who like to meet other paddlers and get new ideas, for those who want to test other equipment, for those who hate their job and need to get away, for those with AB negative blood type...okay, for everyone, it is time for the symposiums! Or is it symposia? Not to worry.

Living in the Milwaukee area, we have access to several of them, all within a day's drive and/or a car ferry ride away. Inand Sea, Grand Marais, Door County and more. Rather than duplicate the work of the man and my mentor, I highly recommend you regularly visit and read Derrick's reports on these activities and scan his great photos. Even if you don't give a rat's patoot about kayaking, visit his site and see if you can be the first to spot a spelling error.

What will be there?

Well, kayaks. Lots of them, and lots of people of all skill levels. Vendors anxious to tell you about their products and to (often) let you test them out. Like to paddle every boat you see (with apologies to Alex)? You can do that at a symposium. And not just the vendors' boats. Folks tryout each other's boats to see if the grass really is greener...or rolls better.


There are usually a selection of guided trips, and you can find one designed for paddlers with your level of experience. Here's a way to stretch a bit and, in safe company, perhaps go out on the open water for the first time.

Door County Symposium 2005.

A group of beginner paddlers head for the Mink River Estuary to paddle in quite waters.


Here's a shot from the QAJAQ USA symposium held 2005. This event, generally held in August, meets in northern Michigan on an inland lake just off Lake Michigan (got that?). It is a collection of us Innuit wannabees who gather to learn and practice traditional skills, like rolling and bracing and rolling and rope skills and rolling and strokes and rollings and lectures and get the idea. And, oh yes, we roll a lot. I mean a lot. And, the food is superb.

The pic is of some incrdeibly handsome paddler trying to find the sweet spot for a static brace.

OK. So, today I rambled. But my point is valid. Akayak symposium cannot be beat for dollar value in learning and just having fun. Others must agree since the Door County Symposium has already filled and has a waiting list.

Paddle safe.


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