Golden Gate Sea Kayak Symposium www.ggsks.com
When I left my home in Hilden it was -5 and we had just gotten a bunch of freezing rain. The heat on high I drive to the airport hoping the weather is warmer in San Francisco. I am also filled with excitement (which provides at least a bit more warmth) as I am heading to California to take part in the Golden Gate Sea Kayak Symposium January 31 – February 2.
The schedule was action packed; three full days of sea kayak skills session including a standard day paddle around the San Francisco Bay, a paddling trip to Alcatraz, and 2 rock garden sessions. Event Organizers Sean Morley and Matthew Palmariello have really done a great job to plan what will assuredly be a great event. This would be the third Golden Gate event I had been to and I was sure there was going to be plenty of excitement.
I was joined by several P&H Paddlers at the event. This event is the official kick off to the season followed by several events that we P&H paddlers travel to all over North America. We are truly privileged to be ambassadors for one of the leading sea kayak manufacturers.
Several of the team paddlers got out for a little Play the day before the event.
Day 1 – Bay Journey
Sunshine and calm seas. What a great day on the water. We got to paddle over to Alcatraz with the flood which proved to be a very gentle paddle. Once around the island we worked out way over to Angel Island where we would have lunch. Student got to work on tidal paddling and work out the angle we would have to take in order for us to cross the tail end of the flood tide. Everyone did well and were happy to get out for a bite and some route planning. The day took us all around Angel island and through Raccoon strait where the Ebb tide had started which provided us with a little current and a eddy line to cross as well as some nice waves to play on. All and all a wonderful day on he water. A big thanks to Sean Morley and Ginny for your leadership and great chats along the way.
Day 2 – Rock Garden safety and rescue
Another California sunny day was in store. I was paired with Paul Kuthe, my friend from Eastern Horizons to run a rock garden safety and rescue session along with Jarrod Gunn McQuillan. We had a very enthusiastic group that enjoyed there day in and out of their boats. We agreed to two themes for the day:
- Quick rescues instead of dry rescues
- Big picture zooming into little picture to deal with situations.
We feel the students got a great deal out of the day. We worked around the Gate for most of the morning then went outside to enjoy some of the coastline and the swell that was rolling in. All and all it was a great day on the water.
Day 3 – Rock Gardening Advanced Play
We had every intention of launching from the beach at Rodeo beach but when we arrived the conditions had deteriorated from the time we had check in the morning till the time we were ready to paddle. The forecast was for he surf to build which might mean a very dangerous landing situation so we decided to launch from Horseshoe Cove and Paddle out through the Gate and play outside the gate. The flood was in full flow when we attempted to get around the corner and under the gate. With a stiff 20 knot wind from the South East it provided a good warm up for the group. Once outside the gate we had some fun on several areas to make the most of the day.
Weather/swell conditions aside, the Golden Gate Sea Kayak Symposium had a little bit of something for every kayaker and every ability; Tidal streams, waves and rocky coastline, Top notch coaches and wonderful scenery at every glance, The San Francisco’s famous Anchor Steam Beer did not disappoint either!!! I look forward to going back to this event next year and feel truly fortunate to have been a participant this year.
For more information on this year’s event and to stay current for next year’s event visit http://www.ggsks.com/ or follow them on Facebook. Search golden Gate Sea Kayak Symposium
A huge Thanks you for goes out to P&H sea kayak for bringing boats down to the event and for your continued support for team paddlers.