I was hoping a few paddlers with first hand experience could give me some hints. I’m a beginner, and have only had my kayak out six times. Twice on Lake Michigan, twice on L. Superior, and twice on an inland lake. Most of my trips have been around an hour or so, but my last one on L. Superior was about 3.5 hours on Keweenaw Bay. I’m starting to feel pretty comfortable in the seat. That said, my technique is not good, and my Necky Elaho DS is all over the place without the skeg down. Is there a comprehensive beginner course I should take, or should I start with the basic strokes course and go from there? I definitely want to get some strokes down, do a few rescues, and learn some basic bracing to begin to learn to roll. Am I likely to get all of that out of the symposium? Am I better off taking all on the water courses, or should I mix in some lectures and a group paddle? I’m heading out tomorrow night, but any insight would be appreciated.
Symposiums are the least expensive professional training you are likely to find. Take the classes. Learn the strokes and the rescues. The weekend will fly by before you know it. Lots of good info to take home with you to develop into your own paddling style and muscle memory.
You can go back and take the tours anytime. Right now, concentrate on the techniques.
On water classes and go go go. Push yourself every class and hang intently on every word of the instructor and try everything and ask everything. A well chosen lecture can be very valueable. Nigel Foster gives great lecture.
As an instructor, I’m always amazed at how some people get so much more out of my classes than others. Since you asked this question in the first place, I’m sure you’ll learn a lot.
Let us know how it went.
Had a great time
I took all classes. I took three strokes courses, a bracing and recovery class, rescues 2, and a comprehensive start course that kind of covered a lot of basic like clothing and gear and ended with a wet exit. I did do the “morning mist” paddle this morning. Next time I won’t take two stoke classes back to back. I had a lot to work on when I left both, and got a little saturated. I learned a lot and had a great time. Lots of good folks were there, and the instructor to student ratio was good. I think my favorite class was the rescues. We did some modified Ts, the scoop rescue, and the hand of God. One of the other instructors also taught me a paddle float rescue after the classes were over the first day. I’d highly recommend it.