Great Lakes Sea Kayak Symposium – 2010



[UPDATE: The full gallery of images is done uploading and is available for your viewing pleasure –> You can view it here. You can download the small digital copy for free by “right clicking” and using “save as”… high-res digital copies and prints are available for purchase.]



I just got back from the Grand Marais, MI and the Great Lakes Sea Kayak Symposium and while it was a lot of work… it was also a lot of fun. Bill Thompson from our Marquette store and paddling super hero Kelly Blades were the masterminds behind this years event… the first GLSKS event under the Down Wind Sports regime. Now, I’ll try and keep this short. The GLSKS event was more or less your typical kayak symposium and fortunately some of the participants are also bloggers and have done a great job of providing some different perspectives on the event. For some great reports check out:

Derrick Mayoleth over at

Bloyd-Peshkin crew

David Johnston over at the Paddling Instructor

and Dave St. Anthony from The Lake is the Boss

Here on my site, I would just like to share some images and some highlights from this years event. One of the things that makes an event like this so worthwhile is the ability to work with world class instructors and take your skillz to the next level, and this year the GLSKS was fortunate enough to host  some of the best instructors in the industry.


glsksBlog-1Kelly Blades… now I haven’t yet witnessed this gentleman moving automobiles with his mind, but when it comes to getting things done this guy is definitely a superhero.



glsksBlog-9Danny Mongno… after a session with Danny not only with you be paddling faster and more efficiently than ever before, but your face will hurt from all of the laughing you’ve done. This guys a wizard with a paddle and does an amazing job communicating with his students.



glsksBlog-13Freya Hoffmeister… do I need to say more? Freya’s last adventure saw her paddling around the continent of Australia in less than a year. She weathered a storm… at night… in 12ft seas… in the rain. She had a shark take a bite out of her boat! On top of it she’s a great instructor and will soon have you thinking 20 mile days are “no big deal”.



glsksBlog-14Ben Lawry… now I can’t say I knew much about Ben before this event. However, while watching him work with our participants it is apparent that he knows what he’s talking about and wants nothing less than to help you become a better paddler. If you could watch Ben in action it would be very apparent why he is considered one of the best paddling instructors in the world.



glsksBlog-16David Johnston… Truth is I know even less about David than I do about Ben. However, Canoe & Kayak thought this guy was super awesome enough to do a piece on him in their Beginner’s Guide. So, it was cool to have him at our event. David is what makes this event so good… even the instructors that aren’t obviously stars are stars.



glsksBlog-7Ben addressing students ready to take their forward stroke to the next level…



glsksBlog-12Freya helping a student solve the mystery that is rolling a kayak…



glsksBlog-17Danny working with a student, explaining how important the legs are when paddling and working through some exercises that help illustrate these principals…



glsksBlog-24And they’re off!



glsksBlog-25Danny Mongno out in front…



glsksBlog-26Ben coming around the “buoy of death”. Down Wind Sports provided squirt guns and water cannons to the kids and were then let loose on the racers as they came down the front stretch…



glsksBlog-27One of the instructors coming in hot…



glsksBlog-28Patty just getting blasted, the kids showed no mercy…



glsksBlog-29The winning team were awarded the coveted paisley vests…



Anyway, it was a great event. I had a really great time and I think that most of the participants enjoyed themselves too. A big thanks goes out to all of the sponsors and people that helped make this event possible. I can’t wait to see what happens next year.



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