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The High Life – Michigan

Posted Mar 13 2008 12:00am

And I’ll drink and dance with one hand free
Let the world back into me
And on I’ll be a sight to see
Back in the high life again
– warren zevon

Of all the symposiums I’ve been to, the West Michigan Coastal Kayaker’s Association symposium on Memorial Day weekend is certainly one of the best.  It’s always an interesting mix where top level coaches come and work with beginner paddlers on a calm warm little inland lake.  Frankly there is not a better symposium that I’ve attended for those of you new to sea kayaking. Better still, the event manages to be perfectly suited for families as well and offers a nice selection of classes and entertainment to keep the kids busy.  At the same time there are plenty of opportunities for intermediate and traditional paddlers to brush up on their skills as well.

The symposium is held at a place called “Big Blue Lake” at a YMCA camp just north of Muskegon.  The camp layout works perfectly to keep everyone, coaches, attendees & kids interacting along the way.  The folks who organize the symposium work very hard each year to quickly build a sense of community that makes for a wonderful close-knit event.  At the same time there always seems to be some sort of impromptu silliness going on that gives the adults stories they’ll be telling for years.  (some can only be told late at night around a raging fire. . AFTER the kids go to bed.) .

This year two of sea kayaking’s top coaches will be attending and presenting. Shawna Franklin & Leon Sommé will be sharing some of their experiences including their circumnavigation of Iceland and their recent trip with Justine Curgenven around the Queen Charlotte islands off the coast of British Columbia.  Shawna and Leon’s innovative and breezy coaching styles will be a perfect introduction to sea kayaking for this year’s attendees.

As I mentioned WMCKA also has a strong traditonal paddling contingent as well with coaches Doug Van Doren & Bonnie Perry there to share everything you need to know about paddling with “lollie sticks”.  Now if I could just get Doug to teach me that bowling ball thing.  (By the way there are some video clips of Doug & Leon offering some rolling demos in the video section of this site).

I tell everyone, expert and novice alike that this is the one symposium not to miss.  (bring Corona. . .)

You can register now at the WMCKA website.


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