I recently travelled to Pacific City, Oregon with Bryant Burkhardt and Sean Morley, two other California Canoe & Kayak instructors. The three of us were coaching at Lumpy Waters, a terrific sea paddling event catering to different levels of boaters. Without a doubt, anyone who is passionate about sea kayaking and training should go to this event next year. No matter what drives you there - the class offerings, the coach lineup or just the overall experience - it's worth the trip.
The event begins Friday afternoon allowing everyone the morning off to free paddle, to drive in or just to sleep in. Friday came and went with lots of boating and some incredible Incident Management on the part of some instructors. Saturday brought decent weather and beautiful ocean conditions and I'd estimate around 100 students in attendance. Sunday was more of the same with nice paddling weather and conditions. This was one of the first events I've attended as a coach. I travel to lots of events, but often as a volunteer, student or organizer. It was nice to attend from a different perspective and learn some things. I've definitely come away with some new ideas for GGSKS this February. I also got to spend some valuable time working on my coaching skills and observing top coaches at work.
Symposiums in general are really exciting to me. They are such a good place to learn, to fine-tune and to advance your skills in good company. I got my first serious taste of the sea at a symposium and it kick-started my training. For paddlers new to symposiums, though, I think it is important they step back and take in the whole experience, not just the on-water courses. The social aspect is huge at symposia and meeting other paddlers and coaches is very easy. It's in these social settings that we often talk shop and discuss other events, trips, concepts, teaching styles and more. Think of it as a meeting of the minds - for sea kayakers. If you're interested in learning more, check out The Golden Gate Sea Kayaking Symposium in San Francisco in February or The Southwest Kayak Symposium in San Diego in March.