Got my lumps, Storm Gathering USA next..

I’m speaking as a novice paddler and not having been to a paddling symposium before. Lumpy Waters 2016 was amazing for me. Definitely going back next year. The whole experience of the coaches, classes, presentations, food, and settings were fantastic. I got to train with 3 of the coaches I wanted to learn from and a few I had no opinion on before, but strongly admire now. Alder Creek Canoe & Kayak really has something special going with Lumpy Waters.

Early bird registration for 2017 gets this year’s pricing:

I had the great fortune to get Mark Tozer as a coach in my first class and then got to chat with Helen Wilson and him at happy hour. They are putting on the 2nd Storm Gathering USA in Trinidad, CA from March 3rd through 5th, 2017. If I get enough water time before then I am definitely going.

Please check out Helen and Mark’s site, too:


Looks like a very well organized
symposium. Especially like all the detail on its website.

That was a long trip for you. Did you drive?

Lumpy is supposed to be an awesome event

Others to put on your radar (which I have done):

Paddle Golden Gate - in San Francisco on Alternate years to Storm gathering. Slightly larger event than Lumpy - usually about 100 attendees.

Baja Kayak Fest - each April down just south of San Diego. Smaller event than all of these - normally about 25 attendees.

You will see many of the same coaches at all of these (like Bill Vonnegut is an instructor at all 4).

One thing I’ve wondered about.

– Last Updated: Oct-12-16 8:16 PM EST –

For anyone living a distance from a desired symposium, it would make sense to hop on a plane (bringing as much of your own gear as possible) to the event rather than drive for two or more days.

But that means you have to rent a boat, which chances are won't fit as well as your own boat. Most symposiums offer kayak rentals, but is there on-the-spot outfitting or is the paddler expected to just deal with it?

Driving to Lumpy
Yeah - 20 hours of road time, but worth every second to me.

Next year I am getting someone to go with so we can take turns driving.

more events - YES!
Thanks, Peter.

These were mentioned by many at Lumpy, too. Definitely worth checking out.

I hope to take a class with Bill someday when I can paddle at that level. If he’s teaching the rock garden intro at Lumpy next year I hope to get in to the class.

Flying vs Driving and rental boats
I take my boat when I can. If the drive time is more than the water time then I will rent locally, but I really like my boat. You may get lucky and get a similar boat.

I got to use my boat for the first two classes, but sometime on the 1/2 mile drive back to the camp my front and rear bulk heads popped while it was on the trailer and I ended up using a loaner for the surf classes. Paul Kuthe at Alder Creek heard me exclaim that my bulkheads popped and my boat was no longer seaworthy, and he stepped right up and offered me a Valley Etain for the remainder of the symposium. It’s 1 foot longer than my Atlantic, but the cockpit and outfitting is identical(thanks Valley).


– Last Updated: Oct-13-16 2:10 AM EST –

I did the Baja Kayak Fest 2 years ago, and did not bring boats. I fit fine in many larger boats, but my girlfriend does not fit average boats. Before going down, we confirmed they had a boat which fit her (the same boats he normally paddles) and all was good. But if you have heavily outfit your personal boat to make it work for you (and standard outfitting wouldn't work for you), then renting wouldn't work.

BTW - I think Baja Kayak Fest provides boats for participants for no charge. Paddle Golden Gate does have a nominal charge of $25 a day or $25 for event or something. But they drew on a lot of different high end brands (Valley, P&H, Sterling, NDK, etc.), so most boats you may be used to were available.

Have not done the Baja-fest
but I did classes in the same area with Jen and Aqua-Adventures several years ago. It is a great spot and a lot of fun if you get the chance, well worth the trip.

Is that Red Feather Lake in your profile
I used to live in Northpark in Westminster and paddled Red Feather Lake several times a year with my son when he was in grade school.

Seadart - Not Redfeather, but Gross…
…Reservoir. I’m just s/w of NorthPark in Hyland Hills and Gross is my goto when I want cold water & wind as it is really close.

I did not realize Gross was that big
I moved away from Denver 19 years ago. I used to work at a biotech company at 70th Ave and Broadway and rode my bike to work through your neighborhood. I used to do a lot of canoeing with my oldest son on Brainard Lake, Chatfield and Barr Lake. Our favorite spot was Blue Mesa Resevoir, but a bit of a drive.