Hello, Paddler!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Florida Canoe Symposium

The registration package for the Florida Canoe Symposium is now on line at www.freestylecanoeing.com.
The symposium will be held March 21-24 on the campus of the Florida State College in Yulee.

A significant change this year will be an optional, full day, CREEKIN FREESTYLE class on March 25th. This class will be held on the N. Prong of the St. Mary's River, about an hour from the Yulee Campus. The N. Prong of the St. Mary's River is a beautiful, narrow, twisting stream with modest current. Those familiar with the Mullica River or the Batsto River in the NJ Pine Barrens will find they have a lot in common. I'll post additional information about the symposium in general and the creekin class in particular over the coming weeks and months.

There will likely be additional discussion on the FreeStyle Face Book page.

Don't be intimidated by the discussion of FreeStyle. All canoeists or would be canoeists are welcome. We offer instruction at all levels, from beginner on up.

Marc Ornstein
Dogpaddle Canoe Works


  • paddling before or after symposium
    I am not certain I will be able to attend the event this year, but if I do I would be interested in spending a few days either before or after the symposium paddling in the Ocala Florida area.

    If anyone thinks they might be interested send me a message or post interest here.
  • There are usually some of us
    -- Last Updated: Dec-03-13 1:47 PM EST --

    who run around the Edisto,Suwanee ,Ocala, Wacissa Homosassa (maybe this year) Alapaha for a week before FCS. We might get organized after Christmas.

  • not just for straight shaft types
    I learned a lot and had a lot clarified by Marc at one lesson, and I am a well known low life no good pond scum hit and switch type of paddler!
  • Bent shafts
    In tandem freestyle, bent shafts are used very effectively by some paddlers. The angle of the blade allows one to get the blade flat on the surface for some low braced maneuvers.the bent shaft can also be used to advantage when executing wedges. I'm just scratching the surface here. Charlie could expound much further on this subject.
  • bring any sort of paddle you like
    We can work with it. Great way to play with others toys too, as there is plenty of opportunity to try out stuff other paddlers have.

    Marc mentioned tandem. If you have any interest in tandem do sign up for classes or a class, even if you do not have a partner. We have had some great all guys teams and mixed couples who are each married to someone else.
  • Super program, skilled and patient
    instructors, neat demonstrations, fun participants, great for beginners, learned a lot and had a very enjoyable long weekend. R
  • Unsolicited testimonial
    Although I have been absent in recent years due to advancing age, I did attend several times a few years back. When I first went, I did not know what I did not know. They patiently and methodically started me down the road to competent paddling. The change is dramatic, you go from being a frustrated paddler to a joyful one. I've since expanded my canoeing activities and horizons. Had I not learned form these fine folks, I probably would have dropped the sport.


  • Yeah, but Peter, . . .
    . . . it so motivated you that you then bought 27 open canoes at about $6000 each. Folks might want to figure that into the budget.

    I also recommend the (formerly entitled freestyle) canoe symposiums.

    Make sure to ask about the reverse christie.
  • But he sold most of them
    for $7000 each. The only 6000 associated with that Blue Hole was its weight in ounces.

    It would be nice to see both of you "grumpy old men" back. Glenn does a mean job with the rocking chair.
  • Save the rocking chair
    I'm likely to make it this year to learn the cross reverse christie, but I won't know for sure until late January or so.

    My daughter moved from Jacksonville, a suburb of FCS's venue at Yulee, to Tallahassee.
  • Paddling is not
    like playing the violin. One Stradvirius is not enough. You need one for each concert.

    :-) Peter
  • Cross Reverse Christi

    It's really very simple. Position yourself in cross transverse, paddle in reverse, initiate with a hard cross reverse jay, palm roll into a low brace ... perhaps it would be easier to show than to explain. I hope you make it. It's been a while since we had a good argu.. uhh discussion.

    Have a Merry Christmas and a happy new year.
  • Thats another neat thing
    about "school". Everyone gets into lively discussions at mealtimes and sometimes into the gentle dark Florida night.

    The tables are leveled with the beverage of ones choice.
  • That is exactly what I fear.
    I am content with my 3 kayaks, but there is some lingering feeling for canoes.
  • Hear, Hear!
    -- Last Updated: Dec-10-13 8:54 AM EST --

    Well said, Pete, well said!

  • What about
    You left out the violas, cellos, and bass fiddles.
  • A "string" fears a Stradivarius?
  • No, this string fears his wife if he
    acquires a Stradivarius.
  • Well Pete
    My favorite piece of chamber music is Schubert's Piano Quintet in A major - the Trout Quintet. So, we'll need to add a piano to the violin, viola, cello, and double bass.
  • Stradivarius
    Stradivarius could make wonderful music with any violin. Thus the idea is to become Stradivarius, not necessarily to acquire one. Of course there is the danger of becoming and doing both.
  • Seems to me
    a Stradivarius is a decked boat, not an open canoe.

    I haven't paddled one personally but just looking at at I don't think it would be worth a damn.
  • If I had a little Grumman 129
    -- Last Updated: Dec-11-13 4:27 PM EST --

    I would bring it to FCS.. I would like to see the lakes at the event peopled folks paddling elementary school grade instruments.

    If it floats, bring it!

  • I read somewhere that Davey and Kathy
    Hearn learned play cello as kids. I thought of getting an old slalom c-1 and rigging it as a string bass for them, with the cockpit as soundhole. The long stern will serve for a tuning peg location, and the bridge can go down on the bow. With any foam removed, the resonance should be awesomely hideous.

    Sam Rizzetta in West Virginia makes mountain and hammered dulcimers, and makes composite canoes and kayaks. If you want something wasp-wasted like a violin, he has a canoe/kayak that is pinched in along the center so that he can paddle it with the shaft vertical and close to his body.
  • Well I wish he would come to FCS
    cause a wider variety of musicians are needed. They are all good but I think aside from one the other six are guitarists.

    A good dulcimer would be sweet.

    Yes there is music after dark and around a campfire.
  • I have the old classic Cortot/Thibeaux
    recording. I also love the last three string quartets and the string quintet.
  • What is the creeking class?
    Is this a whitewater program? What class water is this?
  • I haven't paddled it
    But the highest point in Florida is at less than 350 foot elevation above sea level.

    If you could manage to put that place 3 miles away from the Atlantic Ocean, or the Gulf, and arrange to have a stream bed running in a direct line between the two, you could have a hell of a whitewater run, albeit on the short side.

    But failing that, I think it is safe to say that this is a Class I or moving flat water run.
  • Running Florida's highest waterfall
    In '89 I moved from Woodstock, NY, to Tallahassee for a year to teach. I was then just past my peak as a whitewater boater. So I brought my Whitesell Piranha, figuring it would be a cinch to run the highest waterfall in those flatlands.

    This was before the internet.

    So I shlepped my magic bus, Whitesell atop, over to Chipley, Florida, to Falling Waters State Park one day.

    And chickened out.

    The waterfall cheats. It falls into a sucking sinkhole about 70 feet deep. It would be a little difficult to get "ashore".


    I'm still thinking about the highest waterfalls in Louisiana and Rhode Island, but haven't researched them yet.

    I don't think Marc runs the Creekin' class at Falling Waters. He wants paddlers who are unfamiliar with moving water to get the feel of how to use on-side and off-side post, axle, christie and wedge turns, along with sideslips, in moving water -- and why.
  • The Creekin Class is
    an opportunity to use the precision paddling techniques we teach in FreeStyle, in a real world situation. The creek in question is narrow and meandering, with modest current. There will likely be some dead fall adding to the necessary maneuvering.

    This will be an up and back trip. We'll begin by discussing river currents and how to use them to our advantage, as we work upstream. The essence of FreeStyle is maximizing efficiency and effectiveness. Working upstream should be no exception.

    We will use most of the basic FreeStyle maneuvers to position our canoes most effectively to traverse the river and slip past, around, under and occasionally over whatever obstacles we are presented with. Just for fun, we may occasionally take a circuitous, obstructed route, where those less adventurous would take a clear channel.

    Anyone who has taken the forward and cross forward classes should be comfortable in this class. Those with reverse and cross reverse experience will have additional opportunities.

    We'll work with all participants, at their respective levels of expertise. This class is open to solo canoeists as well as tandem teams.
  • Creekin Freestyle
    Never heard of a Creekin Freestyle class, but have practiced many of the freestyle maneuvers on many of the small rivers in Southwest Michigan. The rivers are known for their many twist and turns and the challenges posed by tree falls. I find these rivers are ideal for a Wildfire using freestyle techniques.
  • The Wildfire is one of my favorite boats
    I'll likely be paddling one when I teach the Creekin class however the class is about technique and getting the most out of the hull that you have.

    The most common maneuvers that I use are side slips and they work equally well in moderately rockered hulls and those that are straight as an arrow.
  • I'm not sure there is anything in LA
    -- Last Updated: Dec-26-13 1:50 AM EST --

    that I would call a waterfall. Even finding real rapids is difficult. There are said to be stretches of intermittent class 1-2 in forest land in the upper central part of the state.

    Nice sandbar rivers, and bayous too.

    We visited Falling Waters SP last fall, and I have a spliced photo of the entire drop of that waterfall. Only thing is, it was not running at all. We did some pre-scouting of the Chipola, but I had not brought a boat along because my back was out. Only panhandle river we've done so far is the Coldwater, but I'm planning to do a lot more.

  • Sure Thinking About It, But
    -- Last Updated: Dec-27-13 10:50 AM EST --

    Afraid we might feel a little out of our league? If I were a golfer, I'd be the self-taught "Hacker" of 40 years who can rarely break 100. And my wife? She paddles her beat up, ugly Flashfire sitting with a kayak paddle? Wondering if we're too old dogs that are too old to learn new tricks?

  • Absolutely not!
    We have had students who have never been in a canoe before, and make great strides. The symposium classes are geared for all levels. The instruction is superb, and you will have a blast. Great group of people, too!
  • Going To See If I Can Get the Time.....
    ....off from work. Heck, we have friends in the Jacksonville area we've been wanting to see too.
  • You're right in the right age group
    You'll be right at home. Having paddled with you I doubt you would be regarded as a duffer.

    If you are in the "wrong" class its quite easy to move.

    If you play an instrument of any sort bring it. We have lots of bad singers and some six guitarists and people who can sing.

    If M wants to come..remember there is tandem.. much more than double the fun!
  • Just who
    are you calling a bad singer?
  • The mission of Florida Canoe
    Symposium is two fold

    1. Everyone have a good time. Bad singer or no, there is nothing to be ashamed about.

    2. Brush up or improve your paddling skills so you can enjoy your next trip with less effort.

    And for 1, if you have a non paddling partner, there is an Outings Club branch of the Free Style Committee that goes on various trips during canoeing instruction..like to Fernandina Beach or Cumberland National Seashore.
  • G-129 actually paddles pretty nicely.
    But, it ain't no Flashfire.

    Very stiff and responsive. Not real fast.
  • Bottom End
    The concept of the FCS is to give dedicated paddlers and excuse to run South when winter gets oppressive!

    Also a fine chance to "Tune Up" for the coming season with an enjoyable bunch of instructor type folks in a neat location.

    It's a fun event at low cost at an appropriate time of year!
  • There are sometimes secret missions
    "Mission" sounds so organized and even military. I like the parts that are mostly chaotic hedonism.

    A side-mission can be the organization of trips before or after the symposium. If I attend, I will "paddle" my way down the east coast -- almost certainly in South Carolina's Sparkleberry Swamp -- and I'll be staying for a few weeks afterwards in various parts of Florida. Open for anything.

    No need to be deterred at all, whatever your skill level. The main way to tell the instructors from the students is that the instructors are generally shorter.

  • Still time to register
    Bad news this morning, from down in PA.
    Phil saw his shadow, I'm sorry to say.

    Six weeks more of winter, you'll have to endure.
    But shortly thereafter, I'll offer a cure.

    Come join us in Yulee, down Florida way.
    Where the sun always shines and canoeists can play.

    A canoe party we'll have along with our classes.
    In the evening some folks will likely tip glasses.

    A good time will be had by all who come play.
    And you'll learn some new stuff in your classes each day.

    So join us in March for some fun in the sun
    At the Florida Canoe, Symposium.

Sign In or Register to comment.
Message Boards Close

Hello, Paddler!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!