Course Descriptions

A wide array of both land and water classes will be held throughout the weekend.

There are courses for both beginner and intermediate paddlers offered at Camp Pendalouan.  The following provides a description for all current and previous year offerings.  The actual classes offered this year will depend on our mix and expertise of our instructors.  We can guarantee that there will be lots of classes to choose from.

COURSES OFFERED AT CAMP

Backcountry Gourmet

Land Class, Beginner/Intermediate

An interactive demonstration of a provisioning method that can fuel your backcountry excursions with style. As well as being a way to think about food, it is also a discussion and demonstration of an outdoor kitchen and its potential for turning out eating experiences that enhance your paddling trips. Bring ideas to swap, an appetite (sampling is mandatory), and a paddling jacket for when the food starts flying! Guaranteed symposium-lite: 30% less serious than the average program.

Balance and Flexibility in Your Boat

On-Water Class, Intermediate

In this class, you will be introduced to 27 weird and unusual ways to experience kayaking in calm water. The goal is to increase your balance and flexibility by doing things (all of them legal) that you would never otherwise do in a boat. Each move will be described, demonstrated and coached. 

Basic Rescues/More Rescues

On-Water Class, Beginner/Intermediate

Pre-requisite: Participants must have successfully performed a “wet-exit” before attending this class.

In the event of a capsize, knowing how to get yourself or others back into their boat quickly and efficiently is important.  This class will focus on both solo and assisted basic rescues. You will get wet!  Participants should come dressed for spending a significant amount of time in the water – a wet suit or a dry suit are the best options.  Depending upon the class participants, rescues may include any or all of the following: T-rescues; paddle float rescue; scramble or cowboy rescue; bow rescue; re-enter and roll; scoop rescue; Hand of God rescue; use of heel hook; and others. 

Basic Safety Gear

Land Class, Beginner/Intermediate

Look through any paddling catalog or shop and you will see lots of gear to choose from for kayaking.  How do you find the essential safety gear and make the correct decisions about what to buy?  Join our instructors for a show-and-tell session about the basic safety gear that everyone should carry, no matter how long or short the trip!

Basic Strokes – Euro

On-Water Class, Beginner/Intermediate

This course will teach you how to do basic strokes with a Euro-blade. There will be a focus on how to do the forward stroke and how to get the most out of your stroke.  It’s a great class for beginners, as well as those who want to perfect their forward paddling technique. Time permitting, other basic positional and/or directional strokes may start to be covered.

Basic Strokes – Traditional

On-Water Class, Beginner/Intermediate

This course will teach you how to do basic strokes with a traditional or Greenland paddle. There will be a focus on how to do the traditional forward stroke, including how to get the most out of your stroke.  It’s a great class for those who have never paddled with a traditional blade before, as well as those who want to perfect their forward paddling technique. Time permitting, other basic positional and/or directional strokes may start to be covered. If you don’t have a traditional blade, but would like to try paddling with one, there are instructors who have one you can try out.

Becoming One with Your Boat through Play

On-Water Class, Beginner/Intermediate

Do you ever wish to return to the days of your youth?  Here is your opportunity.  Learn about your boat through play.  As fun as it is, it will increase your paddling skills by teaching you about balance, edging, stability, and maneuvering.  Expect to get wet so dress accordingly!

Boat Securing and Transporting for the New Kayaker

Land Class, Beginner

One of the biggest responsibilities we have as kayakers is knowing how to safely transport boats to and from the water. In this class, you will learn how to safely load, secure, and unload your boat.

Damn, I’m Hungry . . . Backcountry Appetizers for a Quick Stoke

Land Class, Beginner/Intermediate

Whether you’ve just come off the water after a high output day or are looking to change up your lunch game, sometimes you need food right now!  So . . .  let’s have something to eat while we think about what we are going to cook.  We will sample some creative quick snacks while we prepare a few other appetizers that are worthy of a dinner party!  You will be a big hit at your next paddling outing.

Dressing for Paddling

Land Class, Beginner/Intermediate

Knowing how to dress for paddling increases safety and comfort.  But there are so many options.  How do you start to build your paddling wardrobe?  This class provides information on the different types of clothing for paddling and how to select clothing that will meet your needs for the water conditions and times of the year during which you chose to paddle.

Finding the Right Kayak for You

Land Class, Beginner/Intermediate

Join our knowledgeable instructors for a walk along the shoreline examining different types of kayaks and discussing what questions you should ask yourself before making an expensive purchase.  Learn what kayaks are best for different kinds of uses and the differences between materials used to build kayaks. 

Fitting Your Boat to You

Land Class, Beginner/Intermediate, Limited Class Size/Sign-up Required

You get the best performance out of your boat if it fits correctly because your body and boat can work together as one unit.  Learn how your boat should fit, and then learn how to make adaptations to your boat to get the fit you want and need.  Boat fitting materials will be available for purchase.

Grace Under Water

Water Class, Beginner/Intermediate, Limited Class Size/Sign-up Required

You are interested in rolling.  However, when you did your wet exits, you weren’t all that happy about hanging upside down under your boat. The goal of this class is to develop a level of comfort underwater that will allow you to think about the mechanics of rolling rather than focusing on simply getting your head above water.  Taking small steps, we will use one-on-one mentoring to help you accomplish your goal.  For those who are ready, we will be working on a balance brace as a precursor to a layback roll.

Greenland Rope Gymnastics

Land Class, Beginner/Intermediate

Greenland rope gymnastics is a set of exercises developed by the seal hunters of Greenland to train for kayaking.  These techniques train kayak specific muscle groups along with developing strength, flexibility, and coordination.  Learn the basics of these skills and take a look into the origins of kayaking.

Group Paddle: Putting It All Together

On-Water Class, Recreational/Beginner/Intermediate

You’ve had a great weekend and learned so many new things.  Here is your opportunity to put it all together.  Go on a fun paddle designed to help you apply all that you have learned.  Some of the essential tips and tools for working with groups on the water will be discussed. There may just be some surprises along the way.

Guaranteed Torso Rotation in One Easy Lesson or Your Money Back

On-Water Class, Intermediate

Pre-requisite:  Basic Strokes (Traditional or Euro)

Torso rotation seems to be, in some ways, the Holy Grail of kayak paddling. Everyone wants it but not enough of us truly attain it. Using the whole body in the forward stroke provides more power, allows you to paddle longer with less effort and looks really, really good. Even though the forward stroke has always been the foundation of kayak paddling, there have not always been good ways of teaching torso rotation - At least, not until now. Give me fifteen minutes and we can grab that Grail!

Hip Snaps/Bracing – Euro

On-Water Class, Beginner/Intermediate

Pre-requisite:  Participants must have successfully performed a “wet exit” before attending this class.

This class is designed to introduce you to the critical skill of hip snaps and perfect your low and high brace.  Depending upon the class participants, it may also cover other bracing techniques including the sculling brace or sculling for support and the static brace.

Hip Snaps/Bracing – Traditional

On-water Class, Beginner/Intermediate

Pre-requisite:  Participants must have successfully performed a “wet exit” before attending this class.

This class is designed to introduce you to the critical skill of hip snaps and perfect your low and high brace.  Depending upon the class participants, it may also cover other bracing techniques including the sculling brace or sculling for support and the static brace.

Hitting the Target Through Precision Paddling:  How To Get Your Boat Where You Want It To Be

On-Water Class, Intermediate, Limited Class Size/Sign-up Required

Pre-requisite:  Basic Stroke (Traditional or Euro)

Want to miss the rocks, hit the waves, and look good doing it?  This class will help you increase your ability to steer your kayak with grace and style. By using a series of strokes and by blending strokes, the students will be taught how to accurately place their kayak exactly where they want it to be.  We will use floats in the water as our targets, so there is no consequence for being a little off the mark. The instructor, Jim Tibensky, is a former slalom champion with lots of experience in getting the boat where it should be.

Hypothermia

Land Class, Beginner/Intermediate 

Hypothermia can be a very real risk and present a dangerous situation for kayakers. This class will provide information about hypothermia, the danger to paddlers, how to avoid it, and how to treat it if it occurs.

Individualized Instruction

On-Water Class, Beginner/Intermediate

This class is designed to help you learn or perfect whatever skill(s) most interest you.  Participants will be broken into small groups to learn/practice desired skills.

Introduction to Kayaking:  Launching Your Boat/Wet Exits

On-Water Class, Beginner

For beginning kayakers, this course is the perfect follow-up to the “Introduction to Kayaking:  On-Shore Basics” class. This course will teach you how to get into a boat on shore. Participants will then practice how to get safely out of their boat if it tips over in the water. Participants will get wet in this class so they need to dress accordingly.

Introduction to Kayaking:  On Shore Basics

Land Class, Beginner   

This course teaches you about the basic equipment for kayaking, how to get in and out of your kayak, and how to get a good fit in your kayak.  It is an essential class for those just starting out in the sport.

Learning to Lead

Land Class (Part I), Beginner/Intermediate

On-Water Class (Part II), Beginner/Intermediate

Pre-requisites:  Must attend Part I in order to participate in Part II.   In addition, participants must have successfully performed a “wet-exit” before attending Part II of this class.

Meet up for land-based discussion; then move to on-water scenarios. Prepare for immersion, implosion, improvisation and an impression of two. Leadership is an attitude and a hard concept to teach, but this exercise will take you through my process that’s come about from 34 years of guiding as a day job. Everyone brings something to this table no matter your skill or experience level, so all are welcome. 

Linked Stroke Demonstration

Land Class/Demonstration, Come Watch from the Dock

Individual strokes provide a way to maneuver your kayak and put it where you want it. As you learn more and more strokes, the next rung on the development ladder is to begin linking your strokes together to provide greater power, directional control and stability as your environment becomes more dynamic and challenging. This demonstration will provide a quick practical series of thoughts and exercises on how to begin linking your strokes to keep stable on the go, and moving forward with precision and confidence. 

Linking Strokes – Euro

On-Water Class, Intermediate

Pre-requisite: Basic Strokes

Practice all the strokes you have learned and join them together to precisely place your kayak on the water.  Learn to do a side-slip, draw on the move, low to high brace turns, and other creative linkages.  All of these skills are critical when you need to get to another paddler for a rescue or set-up for towing.  Besides they make you look cool!

Linking Strokes – Traditional

On-Water Class, Intermediate

Pre-requisite: Basic Strokes

Practice all the strokes you have learned and join them together to precisely place your kayak on the water.  Learn to do a side-slip, draw on the move, low to high brace turns, and other creative linkages.  All of these skills are critical when you need to get to another paddler for a rescue or set-up for towing. Besides they make you look cool!

More Strokes – Euro

On-Water Class, Beginner/Intermediate

Do you ever have trouble getting your boat where you want it to go?  This class will focus on directional and positioning strokes with a Euro-paddle.  It will be tailored to meet the needs of the class but will cover the concept of edging and allow practice in edging, as well as teach such strokes as the sweep stroke, stern rudder, bow rudder, and draw stroke.  It is a great follow-up to the “Basic Strokes – Euro” class.

More Strokes – Traditional

On-Water Class, Beginner/Intermediate

Being able to get your boat where you want it to go is critical. This class will focus on directional and positioning strokes with a traditional paddle.  It will be tailored to meet the needs of the class but will cover the concept of edging and allow practice in edging, as well as teach such strokes as the sweep stroke, stern rudder, bow rudder, and draw stroke.  It is a great follow-up to the “Basic Strokes – Traditional” class.  If you don’t have a traditional blade, but would like to try paddling with one, there are instructors who have one you can try out.

Navigation Basics

Land Class, Beginner/Intermediate   

Understanding navigation is important to getting to where you want to go and returning back home.  This course will familiarize participants with the concepts of dead reckoning, piloting, chart reading and use of a compass. 

 

Night Paddle

On-Water, Beginner/Intermediate

This guided paddle around Big Blue Lake will introduce you to the beauty and serenity of paddling at night.  A light on your boat is required. Lights will be sold at the registration desk.

Power, Stability, and Control Through Linked Strokes

On-Water Class, Intermediate

Individual strokes provide a way to maneuver your kayak and put it where you want it. As you learn more and more strokes, the next rung on the development ladder is to begin linking your strokes together to provide greater power, directional control and stability as your environment becomes more dynamic and challenging. This class will provide a quick practical series of thoughts and exercises on how to begin linking your strokes to keep stable on the go, and moving forward with precision and confidence. 

Quick Introduction to the Symposium

Land Class, First-Time Symposium Participants

This class will provide you with information on how the WMCKA symposium is organized, an overview of the symposium schedule including daytime classes and evening events, and an opportunity to ask and get answers to any questions you may have.  It is intended to help you get the most out of your first symposium.

Rescues for Smaller Rescuers

On-Water Class, Intermediate

Pre-requisite: Participants must have successfully performed a “wet-exit” before attending this class. Participants must also have T-rescue experience.

Paddlers come in all shapes and sizes.  If you are small in stature and sometimes worry about whether you have what it takes to rescue your paddling partners, this is the class for you.  It would also be a good class for your paddling partners. It’s not all about strength and size, technique has a lot to do with it.

Rolling Demonstration

Land Class/Demonstration, Come Watch from the Dock

They make it look so easy.  Watch as top kayakers provide a demonstration and an explanation of the techniques used in different types of rolls. 

Rolling Clinic

On-Water Class, Intermediate

Pre-requisite:  Participants must have successfully performed a “wet exit” before attending this class.  Participants must have also taken a class in or be familiar with both the hip snap and bracing.

This class will provide one-on-one instruction on rolling.  It is appropriate for both intermediate paddlers wanting to work on their first roll and paddlers who already have a roll but want to expand their rolling repertoire. Participants should come dressed for spending a significant amount of time in the water – a wet suit or a dry suit are the best options.

So You Want to Learn to Roll

Land Class, Beginner/Intermediate

So you want to learn to roll.  This class will teach you the basics about the hip snap, an essential part of the roll, and give you a chance to practice on land before you try it on water.  It will also cover basic rolling technique.

Stand-Up Paddle Board – Basic/Advanced

On-Water Class, Beginner/Intermediate

Pre-requisite:  Participants must have taken the Basic Class before taking the Advanced Class

Wondering what all the excitement is about with these crazy people standing up to paddle?  Learn how to stand-up on the board and the strokes used to maneuver them.

Tides and Currents

Land Class, Beginner/Intermediate

Do you want to paddle on the ocean, but you don’t quite know what currents or tides are, or how to plan for them?  Join us for a Tides and Currents Primer.  You’ll learn what they are, the basics of what causes them, where to find predictions, and how to plan with and around them.  This is crucial information if you want to paddle on the ocean, even in protected waters.  It’s not hard, or as complicated as we sometimes make it out to be - but it can be super helpful to have the basics all in one place.  Includes handouts, so you can take practical info home with you.

Towing

On-Water Class, Beginner/Intermediate

Many paddlers are reluctant to be towed.  They feel if they need to be towed, they have somehow failed. But the reality is towing is a regular part of paddling and a critical safety procedure that assists all members of the group. It is okay to be towed and it helps you, as well as the rest of your group.  Learn the situations in which towing is appropriate or required and the proper towing technique.

Traditional Boat and Paddle Design

Land Class, Beginner/Intermediate 

This class provides an in-depth look at the traditional boat and paddle design, taught by Al Anderson who makes his living building traditional boats and paddles.

Tripping:  Packing Your Boat
Land Class, Beginner/Intermediate

Heading out on the water and wondering what you should take with you?  This class will teach you about the essential things to pack in your boat on a day trip, as well as an overnight trip. And, it might just provide you with some insights on some luxuries you might want to consider. In this class, participants will have an opportunity to practice packing a boat.

Wacky Relay Races

On-Water for Participants and On-Land for Those Who Just Want to Watch

Beginner/Intermediate/Crazy Instructors

This event is the water version of the “wacky races.”  It provides all levels of kayakers the chance to get in the water, act a little bit crazy, and have some fun. Get a team of three together and join us for some water fun!

Waves and Wind for Paddlers (Part 1)

Land Class, Intermediate

What happens when the wind starts to blow and the waves buffet you about? This session concentrates on winds and their effects on you and your boat, how to use body positions in combination with paddle placement, and how to deal with the peskiest of kayak responses to winds—weathercocking and leecocking. There will also be a discussion of paddling techniques for those times when the big winds hit and you need to get back to shore.

Waves and Wind for Paddlers (Part 2)

Land Class, Intermediate

In this session, you will be taken to the next level of handling the waves resulting from winds or distant storms. There will be discussion of: 1) surf and how to deal with it, both going out and getting back onto shore safely; 2) what to do when paddling around openings of inlets with currents and 3) how to paddle in standing waves resulting from interactions among arriving and reflected waves. Paddling techniques for head, beam, and quartering sea conditions for open ocean and coastal paddling will also be discussed.

Waves for Paddlers

Land Class

Understanding water waves will bolster your confidence and deepen your appreciation of the world around you.  This talk will explore waves using pictures, animations, and movies.  Have you ever wondered:  Why do wave fronts always end up parallel to the beach or why do shoals create larger waves?  Understanding the surf zone will make you a better paddler, whether you want to avoid a pounding or to catch the ride of your life?

Where to Go:  Kayaking Trips in the Great Lakes

Land Class, Beginner/Intermediate

If you are feeling more comfortable with your paddling skills and want to head out for an adventure, this class is for you.  Information will be shared about short coastal trips that can be taken in the Great Lakes area.

Women’s Clinic

On-Water Class, Beginner/Intermediate

Pre-requisite: Participants must have successfully performed a “wet-exit” before attending this class.

This class provides participants with the opportunity to learn in an all-women environment and is open to women of all skill levels.  Participants will be divided up into small groups according to their interest and skill level.  Paddling skills ranging from strokes to braces to rescues can be addressed.  Both traditional and Euro-paddlers are welcome.