Events

  Tim Dyer and I have decided that we are going to take a year off organizing the 2013 Georgian Bay Storm Gathering and likely switch it over to running every two years. The reason for the switch is pretty simple; we are both super busy want to spend this October going on other adventures. Also, the Gathering has been running for 7 years so taking a year off so you can attend the many other rough water paddling events in North America is a good thing. The closest one to us is the Gales Storm Gathering taking place in the Apostle Islands, Wisconsin, October 11-13. When we first started the Georgian Bay Storm Gathering, we wanted to create an event that was focused first on community building with a little bit of instruction thrown in and I think that we have accomplished that. We are pretty proud of it but no need to panic; it will be back for 2014.  
P&H Kayaks ready to go out the door... 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. My buddy Ray working the Naturally Superior Adventures booth at Canoecopia. 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. Bending Branches had a very cool paddle manufacturing process display. For 2013, P&H tweaked the deck and outfitting of the Aries a bit…
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 Ellesmere Island which earned Turk Canoe and Kayak Magazine’s "2012 Expedition of the Year award." 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 Toronto is also speaking". 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 Georgian Bay (I’m really going to sell it!). The second topic is about the search and rescue machine and what exactly happens after you put the mayday call out while out on your canoe or kayak trip. 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 eastern North America, The Bay of Fundy. 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 Wawa, Ontario as well as organizing the Georgian Bay Storm Gathering in Parry Sound, Ontario. Gales Storm GatheringThis was the second year for the Gales Storm Gathering and since it rotates around Lake Superior from year to year this was the first time that it has run in Canada. That made for a bit of a challenge for organizers as it also happened to take place over Canadian Thanksgiving so sadly there were not a lot of Canadians registered. That was ok, the enthusiasm and excitement from gang who was there more then made up for the lack of Canucks. 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 Lake Superior in October or November. Throughout the weekend we were under a gale wind warning with winds around 25-35 knots and surf coming in around 4-8 feet for almost the entire weekend. Because of the extra large surf at the mouth of the Michipicoten River on the door steps of Naturally Superior Adventures, we were able to make use of the several neighbouring beaches where the surf was a more manageable height of around 2-3 feet. 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 Lake Superior Provincial Park which was about 22km (13 miles) long. While out on the trip we experienced almost every type of weather condition including 25 knot winds, sunshine, clouds, rain, and sleet and…

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