Tuesday, March 6, 2012

2012 Golden Gate Sea Kayak Symposium

The fourth annual Golden Gate Sea Kayak Symposium ran from February 16-22 and was a success thanks to the mild, sunny weather and overall highly positive attitudes.  While the format was largely the same as years past, with full-day courses and focused on instruction, it felt more refined compared to years past.  As the event manager and co-founder, It was relieving to see that our hard work and feedback-inspired modifications paid off.  Now that the stress is gone and another year is to rest, we'll begin working on 2013.  Feedback is already pouring in and after a well-deserved rest, we'll get right back to work very soon.  Just as we made changes for 2012, we'll make more for 2013.  All we can do is attempt to make the event better and better each year.  

The funny thing about GGSKS, for me, is that my perspective of the event is entirely different than everyone else's.  I rarely get to paddle, in fact I've paddled a total of 1 day in the four years this event has been held.  It consisted of about 3 hours on the water the last day of 2011.  Because I'm not in the cockpit I miss much of what makes the event so special.  I hear the stories of glory and disaster, I get pieces here and there.  I look at the pictures and fill-in what I missed.  To me, I can measure the success by the amount of smiling I see at the launch, the number of people meeting new friends, the old friendships rekindled and the new participants telling me about their experiences.

Starting as an intermediate to advanced level sea paddling instructional based event, it has actually become more than that.  The curriculum is still focused on paddling of course, but the event has taken on a new element all on its own.  It's a social gathering in and of itself.  It's a link between the Northwest paddlers in Canada, Washington and Oregon and the paddlers of California North and South.  It's a chance to see your friends, meet people you've only chatted with online and connect with new people on a personal level.  It's social networking at its best and paddling is the common bond.  

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