Florida FreeStyle Symposium !!!

This is it. The BIG announcement. The Official announcement. The straight from the horses mouth announcement. OK enough of that.

The New Florida Freestyle Symposium is officially announced.

It will take place March 19,20 and 21 outside of Jacksonville Florida. Information and Registration materials are being posted as I write this. They are available on the FreeStyle website, www.freestylecanoeing.com.

I will re-post this information on other paddling message boards. Please feel free to publicize the event or re-post this information on any club bulletin boards or any place else you think interested people might read it.

I’ll be away (Raystown) for the next few days but will respond to questions or other comments posted, when I return.

Marc Ornstein

Dogpaddle Canoe Works

Custom Paddles and Cedar Strip Canoes

Thanks Marc!
I know a lot of work went into getting this together. Thanks. It is a long ride, but I think I will be heading south in March.

Thanks, indeed …
… for organizing this.

I’ll be there. I used to live in Jacksonville and my daughter still does.

Plus, I want to see timburris do a Hiding Harold on my outrigger canoe.l


– Last Updated: Oct-06-09 7:07 PM EST –

A canoeing event in Florida!
Which does not, however, make missing Raystown any easier.

That’s an 8 hour drive from So FL :frowning: Any idea when you will do one in the middle of our looonngg state?

8 hour drive
The Jacksonville event will be a 20 plus hour drive for me!

Finding suitable site to hold symposiums is difficult. If you know of a suitable site in central Florida, I’d keep it in mind for the future. Suitable sites must include suitable water for classes, housing for participants and food service. With the help of several others, I looked long and hard to find the Yulee site.

For the ability to attend an event of this stature and the availability of instruction from from some of the best in the country, really, is eight hours too far?

Marc Ornstein

Dogpaddle Canoe Works

Custom Paddles and Cedar Strip Canoes


– Last Updated: Oct-07-09 11:11 AM EST –

I think I traveled 7 hours to both AFS in the Adirondacks and to Ohio for MFS. My trip to Florida will be much longer. But the insturctors are worth it, and I always come away with new things. And the people are great!

Will be 18 hours for me
from Chicago. I would not even entertain the thought of not attending!

Ft. Desoto Park
A great site to consider for future events: Ft. Desoto Park in St. Petersburg, FL. Central location, great camping, backwaters, no-motor zones, one of the top ten parks and beaches in the country, good restaurants, beach bars and hotels nearby.

One of my favorite places,
for sure, but would there be suitable water for classes?

Sonds like a nice paddling site,
However, the class structure of the symposiums and other issues necessitate on-site food service, and some type of sheltered housing in addition to the camping, such as dorm or bunk house accommodations. Would be neat if it is available there, and of course, budget is always an issue. The FS Symposiums have always been extremely economical, so site and meal costs are a concern.

Narc has spent a lot of time and effort getting this FL deal arranged via long distance. Thanks Marc!

Didn’t mean to upset anyone.

– Last Updated: Oct-09-09 1:53 PM EST –

Personally, I won't go to a weekend event where two of the days will be spent on the road and only one day will be spent on instruction. Maybe when I am retired.

I am sure it was difficult to find the perfect spot. But for now, I will wait until the next time something similar is offered in a central location so that the event is more accessible to all Floridians. The Fort Desoto area that Chrystal posted below would be perfect. It's about a 4 hour drive for extreme north and south FL residents.

Not to worry…
I don’t think anyone is upset. The reality is that, unfortunately, there are only three FS symposiums held each year. If someone wished to take on organizing another in any location, that would be great!

Like you, I felt pretty much the same way about attending weekend instructional events until I went to my first FS symposium. Now I plan my vacations so that I can attend all of them. I also am not retired. One picks and chooses things they wish to do with their time, and most people cannot do everything; and I am not at Raystown (too far for the weekend!) I do realize the FS addiction is not the same for everyone.

BTW, the weekend FS instructional venues have two sessions on Saturday; one on Sunday. It really is a rather fast-paced and intense format, but works for those who only have a short amount of time. For me, the “down south” idea of paddling in non-hard water and without a wetsuit is appealing after a Chicago winter. Many others up north are of a similar mindset. Add a couple more vacation days in the sun and it turns into a pretty relaxing trip. The people who attend and those friendships that develop are as beneficial as the FS skills developed.

Hope to see you at a FS event sometime in the future.

Thanks Marc. I’ll be driving in from central Ohio. The Midwest Freestyle Symposium taught me I need to know more to become a really proficient paddler. I look forward to seeing you in Florida.

Yep its a thirty hour drive for me
but I will be looking forward to the event and that drive…

Realistically its unlikely to find a suitable place in South Florida…we have looked and looked for years now. Doesn’t mean its not there…just that we have not found it.

Maybe before its too late its possible to rethink vacation times for those of you working…or carpooling if you can find a like minded paddler.

I used to bundle vacation time before retiring but understand that there is a ratio of time on the road to time at the venue that when its too high makes travel not worthwhile.

I will plan on the entire month of March for Florida paddling. The water will be too hard here for sure. The biggest kink is finding the canoe trailer in the snow LOL

Boca Raton
to Jax is about 6 hours and I look forward to going. An easy run up I-95 for us here in South Florida. Good location and my kids love St. Augustine on the way up.


I need information
Does anyone know of any public access ponds or lakes in the vicinity of Yulee Florida?

It appears from the initial response that we may be tight for space, to run all of the classes on the two ponds on the college campus. Rather than limiting the number of attendees, I’d like to find additional water on which we can hold classes.

If anyone is aware of a suitable location, please pass that info along via a post here on this thread.

Marc Ornstein

Dogpaddle Canoe Works

Custom Paddles and Cedar Strip Canoes

Cynthia Seagraves
the owner of Pier 17 marina in Jacksonville would probably know. Her family goes back to the Civil War in the area and she is a dealer of Bell and Wenonah canoes. I have drained my bank accounts in her store. Her number is 904-387-4669. Mention Bob in Boca told you to call. Be prepared for a pleasant and very lenghty conversation as she loves to chat.

Freestyle Site
Thanks Cynthia. I’ll follow up on that.

Marc Ornstein

Dogpaddle Canoe Works

Custom Paddles and Cedar Strip Canoes

Freestyle Website
I’ve gotten several emails from people reporting problems with the FS website (www.freestylecanoeing.com).

We are aware of problems with some of the photos etc. Our webmaster is trying to get them resolved.

I checked all the links for the Florida Freestyle Symposium and they seem to work fine.

Marc Ornstein

Dogpaddle Canoe Works

Custom Paddles and Cedar Strip Canoes


I’m already receiving a significant number of registrations. Keep those cards and letters coming.