July 14-18, 2021
"This place will change your life"
Growing up I spent summers boating, windsurfing, swimming and fishing on Lake Erie. I can’t remember the first time I kayaked, but I began renting them on vacations as an adult. I kept talking about buying one, but I didn’t know anyone who kayaked. After a trip to Alaska where I had a great all day paddling experience, I returned home and promptly began looking for a used kayak. After an exhaustive search I chose an Eddyline Nighthawk, joined an online kayaking group and haven’t looked back since. In fact after 4 years of sea kayaking, mostly using a Greenland paddle I took up white water kayaking and became reacquainted with the euro blade.
I am currently a BCU 3 Star paddler and an ACA Level 2 Sea Kayak Instructor with Certifications in Rolling and Wilderness First Aid. I currently teach rolling and kayak classes for Riverside Kayak in Wyandotte and have helped Power of Water with some of their pool classes. Over the past 3 years I’ve taught kayaking at Ladies of the Lake, Qajaq USA’s Training Camp, WMCKA, Port Austin and Great Lakes Sea Kayak Symposiums.
BCU 3 Star Paddler
ACA Level 2 Kayak Instructor
ACA Rolling Certification
My GLSKS Story
I first attended Great Lakes Sea Kayak Symposium in 2007 with a group of kayaking friends that I had just met that spring. They invited me on their back country kayak trip to explore Drummond Island and some of it’s smaller islands to the North after the Symposium. I quickly said yes, even though I had never before camped or been to a symposium. The symposium was overwhelming, tiring and a lot of fun. It was pretty much my first introduction to kayak instruction and I soaked it all up learning alot. On Saturday night there was a huge and I mean HUGE Storm that scared the crap out of me in my cheap, little tent. The wind was howling, the rain was pelting and tree branches were falling! I kept looking out of my tent to see what all my new friends were doing…should I get in the car or stay put and hold my tent down? I didn’t see anyone else moving, but I finally decided to make a run for the bathrooms, passing my girlfriend’s tent which was upside down, flat and showing the outline of her air mattress. I felt sure I’d find her in the bathrooms, but I didn’t know any of the other people when I got there. We all watched the green sky out over the lake pass us by and the sun finally begin to rise. So I went back to my tent thinking my friend was in her car, only to find her climbing out of her tent. The poles had broken and it had all fallen down on her and at some point flipped her and the mattress upside down. But she figured if she got out of it, it would just blow away, so she stayed in it! Luckily no one was struck by falling limbs, but I heard there were some close calls. I also remember hearing that many kayaks had left the beach and were floating in the harbor.
At this point we all decided to pack up and head out to Drummond Island and forgo the Sunday classes. I’ll never forget the drive south out of Grand Marais on 77. Huge pine trees were down left and right for a long way. We had to weave our way around the trees using both lanes and the shoulders to get by. Luckily no tree completely blocked the road. We were all very tired and by the time we got to the Drummond Island Ferry we were all in agreement to take the ferry over and camp at the local campground. We initially were going to park at the ferry and pack our kayaks to paddle out to a remote Island for wilderness camping. None of us had it in us after the long, sleepless night. The next day we spent a wonderful afternoon lounging in the sun on Harbor Island after my first open water crossing and practicing my newly learned skills along the way. Fortunately the whole experience didn’t scare me off of camping and for a few years afterwards my girlfriend and I continued our bad luck of storms on our back country trips. Luckily that tradition has waned and we’ve appeased mother nature, but there is always the next trip…..
I am so happy that GLSKS will continue on with Power of Water and that I can again be a part of helping others explore the joy of kayaking.