The thing about taking vacation the day Canoecopia ends is that it takes you forever to get around to reporting in it when you get back. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.
The short report is that it’s a great event and if you don't go, you need to. It’s one of the few consumer trade shows that the owners and reps of various gear manufactures actually attend so if you can get the goods on new products straight from the horse's mouth.
I had the great pleasure of being invited to give two presentations this year so I showed up with laptop in hand to speak on, "The Search and Rescue Machine" and, "Paddling in Georgian Bay". The first presentation was a look into the technology, gear and history of search and rescue while the second presentation was about why Georgian is the second best freshwater paddling destination in North America behind Lake Superior.
Throughout the weekend I was mainly working in the Naturally Superior Adventures booth meeting people and giving them all the reasons why they needed to cross the border and do a trip on the Canadian side of Lake Superior. I'm super excited about leading a trip for NSA this year (more on it another day) so I spent most of my time telling people that they need to step up and register for the trip if only for the reason that I’ve already asked for the time off work and I really wanted to go.
Wandering around the show floor, I got to hang out with my buddies at P&H Kayaks who were selling kayaks like a flood was coming soon. I will admit that I ended up spending spend too much time sitting in the new Aries 150 and I kinda fell in love. I don’t think that’s a bad thing.
For 2013, P&H tweaked the deck and outfitting of the Aries a bit by adding a day-hatch and recessed slots for a spare paddle. To make room for the day hatch, they replaced the rear oval hatch with a smaller hatch which makes sense as it’s a boat built for rough water and this should help keep the hatch from imploding in big surf.
Of course there was a huge pile of new gear on display at the show and by now you have probably read some of the very good reports by other bloggers of their Canoecopia shopping adventures. If you are looking for a solid report, check out Preston Ciere’s blog, portageur.ca. It’s super extensive and he has several great posts showing off some of the treasures he found along the way.
Two of the items that really interested me that were new this year included:
Kokatat has a bunch of new new lifejackets are on the market this year including the very cool Maximus. I tried it on and found it to be super comfortable and streamlined. I really like the small design features like the tapered foam edges which help bulkiness feeling to a minimum. Ticket price for this bad-boy is about $160.
Did you know Lendel Paddles are back? For 2013 they have released several new blade models including their Kinetik Touring line which is a fully carbon blade with a foam core. The construction looks really solid and I like their redesigned Lendal Paddlok ferrule that uses a titanium insert that is pressed out against the paddle shaft to lock the unit together.
I’m really keen to give the new Lendal Paddles a try this season to see how they feel in the water. When I was standing in in the Lendal booth I decided to take one for a paddle up and down the aisle and in the process almost took a ladies head off who was standing next to me. I still feel it was her fault.
I will admit that it’s a bit of a haul driving 12 hours for a weekend but it's a total blast hanging out with paddlers who I see only a couple of times a year. It reminds me of friends you might have had a summer camp when you were a kid. Even though you go months without talking, you fall back in the rhythm and pick up right where you left off when spending the evening figuring out how to change the paddling world over beers.
Today I saw the first press release for Canoecopia and was excited to discover that Jon Turk is going to be this year’s keynote speaker. Jon Turk is an adventure writer planner of expeditions to the wild corners of the world. This year he will be speaking about his 1,400 mile sea kayak circumnavigation of
If you haven’t been to Canoecopia you should mark it on your calendar to attend. It’s been described as the world’s largest consumer canoe, kayak and outdoor expo and it all takes place this year March 8th-10th.
I was also invited to speak at Canoecopia as well though I was extremely disappointed that I wasn’t mentioned in the press release. I mean, how hard is it to drop in a sentence right at the end along the likes of, "oh yeah, some guy from
As far as presentations, I’m going to be blabbing on about two different topics. The first one is about the wonders of paddling in
I’m over the rejection of top billing I just hope that I don’t get listed below the official Canoecopia pupper show. That would be embarrassing.
Photo credit: Eric Boomer
There is a new rough-water sea kayaking symposium taking place this coming September in the Maritimes that you should plan to attend. The Bay of Fundy Sea Kayak Symposium will be a 3-day paddling event that combines world class coaching with paddlers in one of the most spectacular coastal setting in e
I just got an email from one of the event organizers, Christopher Lockyer who mentioned that they are looking for coaches for the event. If you are interested in teaching you should apply [pdf link]. The application deadline is February 1, 2013.
Check out their website for more info.
Top photo credit: BOFSKS
Over the past two weekends I had the pleasure of attending both the Gales Storm Gathering in
Gales Storm Gathering
This was the second year for the Gales Storm Gathering and since it rotates around Lake
The Gales had an absolutely stunning set of instructors brought in for the event including Nick Cunlife (from the UK), Shawna Franklin & Leon Somme (from Washington state, Christopher Lockyer (from Nova Scotia), Keith Wikle, Ryan Rushton, Sam Crowley, Erik Ogaard and well, the list is to long you should go to the website to see everybody.
Anybody who says that the Great Lakes don’t get ocean conditions has clearly never been to
Because of the extra large surf at the mouth of the
A couple of highlights for me included co-instructing a beginner surf clinic with Shawna as well as tagging along for an ACA Level 4 instructor assessment with Ryan Rushton and Sam Crowley. For the assessment we went on a downwind run south from Wawa to Old Woman Bay in
As soon as I got home after driving 12 hours, I threw all my laundry in the wash with just enough time to pack it up again and head out on the road again. This time it was north to Parry Sound to the event that I run, the Georgian Bay Storm Gathering. Now in its fifth year the Gathering has become a southern
Georgian Bay Storm Gathering
Now I’m totally biased but I always look forward to the Gathering as one of my favourite events of the year. This year we had instructors from across
Weather wise, we had pretty good winds throughout the weekend but because the direction was from the NE, we didn’t have the largest conditions (not like the Gales that’s for sure). That being said, there was more than enough lumpy water to run clinics on surfing, rocks, rough water rescues, etc. Though I would have liked slightly larger conditions, it was ok as we know how to make our own fun. Highlights included the annual dock launch, paddling in pea-soup fog and a serious match of pumpkin polo. If you haven’t seen pumpkin polo before, picture a large group of kayakers driving over each other while tossing around a medicine ball. It got pretty heated at times.
So for me that ends the organized paddling season for 2012. We still have plans to get out and do a lot of paddling in November and December but I can finally take off my teaching hat and paddle for myself for a change.
See you out there.
Top photo credit: Karine Boucher
Middle photo credit: Meg Garnett
Did you know it’s the middle of August? I sure didn’t. That means that for most people, the paddling season is 90% over. Booo. Just because Labour Day is coming soon, that doesn’t mean you need to hang up your lifejacket for the season. There is a large pile of events taking place throughout the fall to keep your braining tricked into thinking its still summer.
Here are a couple highlights to start planning for in September and October:
If you are a skinny stick paddler you need to make room in your extensive social calendar to attend the Ontario Greenland Camp September 7-9 in
The line-up of mentors and instructors looks really solid with Cheri Perry, Turner Wilson, Dubside as the big names. Tom Froese and Jill Ellis are both coming to teach the paddle making workshops.
More info: ontariogreenlandcamp.com.
Gales Storm Gathering
The other cool thing with this event is that for the 6 days leading up to the Gales there is going to be a large collection of advanced instruction with courses from the British Canoe Union, American Canoe Association and Paddle
Check out the website with all the course and event details at galesstormgathering.com.
The very next weekend after the Gales Storm Gathering is my event which takes place in
The Georgian Bay Storm Gathering is for intermediate paddlers who are looking for one good last kick at the can for some rough water paddling on
It’s a bit of a different weekend where we encourage people to come with their bucket list of things they always wanted to do but just haven’t got around to giving it a try. Want to work on your rough water rescues? What about surfing? Always dreamed of getting thrown off a high dock in your boat? This is the weekend to get ‘er done.
We got a pile of top quality instructors coming from across
More info: georgianbaystormgathering.com.
Lumpy Waters Symposium
If you find yourself in
The list of top-quality instructors is massive and includes Danny Mongo, Paul Kuthe, Steve and Cindy Scherrer, Sean Morley, Rob Avery and Christopher Lockyer (didn’t we see him at the Gales?).
It’s a key fall event for west coast paddlers so get yourself registered pronto.
More info: lumpywaters.com.
Photo credit: Malcolm Taliano