Great Lakes Symposium

Has anyone attended the Great Lakes Sea Kayak Symposium? Any advice for a beginner? I’ve take one 4 week beginner class. I’m thinking about going to that Symposium this year but will have to rent a sea kayak. The deadline for early registration is April 15 so I need to decide fast. I’ve never paddled on Lake Superior but it sounds like a lot of fun.

Not that one but others

– Last Updated: Apr-13-07 7:28 AM EST –

Symposiums are absolutely the best way to get going - lots of paddlers, lots of ideas and good classes. One note though - there was someone who got into a BCU (British Canoe Union) class from this board and assessment at Sweetwater and was not happy with the assessment part. Given your experience level, I'd suggest that you go for classes to reinforce or build on the absolute basics like forward stroke, bracing, rolling, rescues - stuff that you really want under your belt right away and likely haven't had time on the water to get solid since your four week class.

And be ready to be tired if you really work hard - we have found that any long drives home the ending day of the Symposium are out of the question.

It is worth it.
You will have a good time and learn a lot. There is instruction at all levels and trips for all levels. If you need a kayak and/or gear I suggest you rent from Ron Smith at Black Parrot:

Hope to see you there.

is a great symposium. I have not actually participated in the classes or anything, but I grew up in Grand Marais and take my kayak up there to paddle amongst the classes and participants to see all the boats and people. It is a fairly well-attended symposium with some dealers there. The location is beautiful and Lake Superior is cold as usual! If you get up there, try to make time for a paddle along the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore from the Munising end…spectacular!

A great symposium to attend. There was a similiar thread posted on this topic recently.

You should also check out Riverside Kayak Connection in Wyandotte Michigan for gear. They’ll have their full demo fleet there and it carries just about every kayak you would want to test drive.

Demo Kayaks
Currently only VCP, PH, and CD are listed among vendors. Any chances of seeing, say, Impex at Symposium?

It’s a great site – the Grand Marais harbor and beach are very well protected, and you can venture out as you feel more comfortable.

Be prepared for COLD water, especially if you take a rescue class that involves significant time out of your boat.

Don’t worry about being a beginner – if you want to learn, you’ll find plenty of instructors and paddlers who’ll be happy to help you.

Pictured Rocks
Not to hijack the thread for a bit of shameless self-promotion, but …

Here are some photos of the area you’ll be paddling in, taken on last fall’s trip there:

Truly some of the best scenery on Superior, and deserving of the National Lakeshore status.

Hope you have an enjoyable trip!

great event and it’s beautiful up there
But if you don’t have the time and are a newbie looking for something that offers a whole lot of kayak info and testing in one single day try the Summer Solstice Kayak Symposium in lower Michigan on June 23. Lookd like the Jackson event is geared more toward recreational and day touring than the Great Lakes symposium. But we learned the Current Design rep will be there with his sea kayaks and doing one of the seminars. We just got into fly fishing last year and several well known guides are doing clinics on fishing from your kayak. All in all it looks like a good deal for $60.

Thanks for the advice
I’ve decided to go to Grand Marais. I really want to get into Sea Kayaking so this sounds like the best event. The instructors that will be there sound great. It is so cool that Sean Morley from This Is The Sea 2 will be instructing. Hope to see everyone from pnet there.

I will…
be there, since it is my hometown and I get up there for that weekend each summer. If you want to camp, there should be plenty of space in the town park (they have overflow area too). If you want a cheap, no frills room, give my wife’s grandma Bess a call at the Superior Hotel (simple old rooms with 1.5 community baths at the end of the hall). That’s most likely where I will be staying. I might even sign up for a class this summer.