Saturday evening after I had completed the 3* training, Mary and I took a drive over to Geneva Kayaks (Geneva, IL) which was just a couple miles down the road from our Hotel. In fact, it was Geneva Kayaks that had put on the 3* weekend. Driving east on highway 38 through Geneva you take a quick left turn as soon as you cross the bridge over the Fox river. You first enter a parking lot for a little park. You just continue through this parking area into a second and you’ll be at the shop.
Of course it was well after dark and the shop has some nice big windows, but at night the GK has a warm cozy feel with nice mellow lighting and a big warm fireplace. Your immediate impression is of a shop for people who take kayaking seriously. (Now if they would just start serving espresso) Instead of carrying a plethora of low end products, Geneva Kayaks is focused on gear you actually want. We noticed plenty of top kit from Reed, Lendal, NRS, Yakima, Kokatat and other well known brands. GK carries kayaks from Valley, P&H, Impex, CD and Canoes (yes, canoes) from Bell, Wenonah and Mad River. Ryan Rushton, the guy behind Geneva kayaks, also shared with us that Nigel Dennis Kayaks would be arriving in spring as well. So Midwesterners, now is the time to get those orders in with Ryan!
Ryan Rushton – owner
I had talked a bit to John Martin (BCU Coach 2) who many of us know from various symposiums around the Midwest about what drew him to teaching at Geneva Kayaks. He told me much of it had to do with Ryan’s focus on top notch courses for not just beginners, but intermediate kayakers as well. The current BCU training was an example of that goal. He was also impressed by the top gear provided to students. As an instructor myself I understand how starting out with high quality, working equiptment can make a huge difference in a new kayaker’s early experiences. Last thing we want is students learning two boat rescues on imploding hatches!!
It’s probably a good time to mention to those of you in the Chicago area that GK is holding an end of season sale October 20-22nd. Along with that is a big wing-ding called the "October Kayakfest" on the 21st. Which Ryan humbly calls, "Only Illinois’ Best Paddling Event!" Which is pretty good for October if you ask me! They will be offering; free trips, classes, workshops, a gear swap and a barbecue dinner. Then to top it off, in the evening Tom Heinemann will be offering a presentation on his 49 day circomnavigation of Lake Michigan earlier this summer. For details give the shop a call at 630-232-0320 or visit their website at http://www.genevakayak.com/.
Thanks again to Ryan & John for their hospitality.
What’s happening tomorrow you wonder? Well, we’re heading south to look in on an upcoming amazing adventure!