The best & biggest Kayaking & Canoeing events in N America? Symposiums, Trade Shows, etc

What are the best & biggest kayaking & canoeing events in N America, from symposiums and paddler gatherings to trade shows?

For example, for kayaking I know of:
-Delmarva Paddler’s Retreat in Delaware in October for kayakers
-Lumpy Waters for kayakers in Pacific City, Oregon in October
-East Coast Paddlesports Symposium in Charleston, SC in March
-Sea Kayak Georgia Skills Symposium on Tybee Island in November
-Paddle Golden Gate in February in California
-Midcoast Sea Kayak Rendezvous in the Sagadahock Bay Campground on Maine’s Georgetown Peninsula.

Canoecopia in Madison, WI in March

Ah yes Canoecopia, I’ve heard of it. Thank you

For the longboat surfing and rough water enthusiasts, there is the Autumn Gales in CT (Fisher Island race):

And, there is the Gales Storm gathering at Lake Michigan (which former PNetter, Kwikle, is/was involved with):

Oh, I forgot one of my favorites, the Santa Cruz Paddle Fest (which used to be called Santa Cruz Surf Kayak festival and where I met SeaDart, TsunamiChuck, 'Cuda and other West Coast PNetters):

Jeeze, also forgot the annual NH AMC WW School/Weekend: Spring Class II Whitewater School | AMC - NH ChapterAMC – NH Chapter


GLSKS, the oldest sea kayak symposium on the Great Lakes. Held on gichi-gami, the great sea. July 13-17, 2022.

I haven’t attended one of these events (yet) but keep receiving notices about them and they tempt me. There seem to be quite a few events hosted in various parts of the country. Perhaps there’s someone here who has and can report on them?

Maine Canoe Symposium

Western Pennsylvania Solo Canoe Rendezvous

Adirondack , Wisconsin, Midwest and Pine Barrens Canoeing symposia

Quiet Water Canoe Symposium

Wilderness and Canoe Symposium… Lecture only in Feb in Toronto

The summer events are not huge but offer on water instruction as well as chances to try out many boats

Also the Wooden Canoe Heritage Association Assembly in Paul Smiths NY in July

For 20 years I taught at most ( except WIsconsin which is a recent addition). On water instruction for canoeists at any level! PJC you should check out Wisconsin if this gawdarn pandemic lets go. Its also a great way to try other boats. Everyone brings one and its not a commercial have to buy event. But you may be tempted to…

:slightly_smiling_face: Yes, I knew you instructed at at least some of these. I was hoping you’d respond. I came pretty close to signing up for the Wisconsin one the year I broke my leg. I’ve no doubt they’re worthy events and that’s why I mentioned it in the first place.

Frankly, I have to admit I’m a bit put off by the cost. I can do a week in the Ozarks or four or five river trips on my local river for the cost of a weekend at one of these symposiums. Please understand, I’m sure they are worth it and I understand there are costs to putting one of these events together - its not a question of value, but rather one of my own budget.

Besides, I don’t need to try out any more boats - I’d be almost certain to find one I want. I like the ones I have and don’t have storage for any more. There are temptations best avoided. I recognize my weaknesses in this area.

All that said, I might still sign up for one yet.

I totally get the cost barrier. The instructors make a couple of hundred off each weekend but the majority of the fee goes to the venue. Insurance rates are insane. I can’t speak for each but some do stay off site and eat on their own. However the community getting together over meals is very fun as well as later in the evening with music ( there are also some great musicians in the group)

On a budget consider coming to the Western Pa rendezvous. Still a bit of a drive but aside from a ten or fifteen dollar a night camping fee its free. There is a potluck one night. Instruction / coaching whatever you want can be arranged on the side.

Feb. 25-27

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Oceans 22 is at Huntington Beach SP, in SC this year. It typically moves from year to year along the NC/SC coast. The event organizer/lead instructor is CapeFear.

It looks like the 2022 WMCKA Symposium will occur. The planning team is confidant enough to start to promote the event. It is a great Symposium with world class instructors and a focus on Beginning and Intermediate sea kayakers.

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I will most likely be at the Gulf Coast Sea Kayak Symposium on Sunday. It’s the weekend before the start of the Everglades Challenge so I don’t want to do anything crazy, but Sunday is usually a more informal day with a group paddle to Egmont Key if the conditions allow. Friday and Saturday are more formal half and full day classes. In general this is a low key symposium focusing on beginner and intermediate kayakers. There are usually some great instructors and who doesn’t want to come paddling in Florida in February??