2022 Course Descriptions

2022 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.  The following provides a description of all offerings. Classes are listed in alphabetical order.

 

ABC’s of Preparation for a Day of Safe Paddling (NEW!)

Land Class, Beginner/Intermediate

Covers all the basic things to think about and look at before you get out on the water. This class is appropriate for all levels of skill and experience. It provides a useful safety checklist as a memorable acronym that should be used each time you plan to go paddling.

 Balance, Flexibility, and Paddle Dexterity in Your Boat 

On-Water Class, Intermediate 

In this class, you will be introduced to a variety of weird and unusual ways to experience paddling in calm water. The goal is to increase your kayak and paddle handling skills 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-rescue; paddle float rescue; scramble or cowboy rescue; bow rescue; 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

Learn about your boat through play.  The goal is to increase your kayak and paddle handling skills by playing games and doing fun things that you would never otherwise do in a boat.  It will increase your paddling skills by teaching you about balance, edging, stability, and maneuvering.  Expect to get wet so dress accordingly!

Cooking in the Backcountry

Land Class, Beginner/Intermediate

The best in fine dining is enjoying an amazing backcountry view while enjoying a delicious meal prepared at your wilderness campsite.  This class will teach you how to plan for and prepare meals in the backcountry.  Samples will be provided.

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/Demo

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. 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.

Group Paddle: Putting It All Together

On-Water Class, 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 

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. 

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. Participants may also ask specific instructors to help them with specific skills.

Introduction to Kayaking:  Launching Your Boat/Wet Exits

On-Water Class, Beginner

For the very beginning kayakers, we start onshore by talking 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. Then, we move to the water, where you will learn how to get into a boat onshore. Participants will then practice their “wet exit,” which is how to get safely out of the boat if it tips over in the water. Participants will get wet in this class, so they need to dress accordingly.

Learning to Lead

Land and On-Water Class Beginner/Intermediate                

Pre-requisite: Participants must have successfully performed a “wet-exit” before attending Part II of this class.  Many paddlers end up in leadership roles at some point, whether officially as a guide or unofficially with friends in order to get out on the water. Leading well is challenging. It requires skill, observation, humility, and the ability and willingness to make a decision without knowing the right answer or having all the necessary information. Leadership can also be incredibly rewarding. It’s more rewarding if you have some basic skills - and a model. We’ll spend some time on land looking at one possible model, and move to the water to try it out. Our goal is to learn some leadership options, not to get as “gnarly” as we can. We won’t be trying to trick anyone or making things as hard as possible, or any of that. We’ll be exploring how to make difficult decisions to keep our time on the water as safe and as fun as we can.

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. Glow sticks will be provided by the trip leaders.

Power, Stability, and Control Through Linked Strokes: How to Get Your Boat Where You Want It To Be

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

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

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.

Strengthening and Stretching Exercises for Paddlers

On-Land Class, Beginner/Intermediate

Let's face it, few of us spend time strengthening the specific muscles and muscle groups essential for correct form and sustained paddling. And... few of us spend much time maintaining the flexibility necessary for many maneuvers and pain-free paddling. And... all of us are getting older (some of us already have!) where maintaining or developing strength and flexibility takes more intentionality. We will learn a manageable set of strengthening and flexibility exercises to improve our paddling and enjoyment. Bring some kind of pad (sleeping bag pad, yoga mat, piece of foam...) 

The Thirty Second Kayak Rescue

Land Class, Beginner/Intermediate

Whether you are just going out on the pond or playing in big water, the skill you should all have is putting your partner back in their boat in less than a minute.  With the right technique, EVERYONE . . . and I do mean EVERYONE should be able to have this dialed down.  We will break it down, refine the key simple steps, and then put it all back together.

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.

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.

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. It might also just provide you with some insights on some luxuries you might want to consider. 

VHF Radios and Other On-Water Communications

Land Class, Beginner/Intermediate

Do you carry a radio when you paddle?  Do you know how to use it?  In this course, we will cover the proper way to use radios and what channels to use.  We will also cover using cell phones and spot devices for emergency communications.  We will also discuss what happens when you call for help.

Wacky Relay Races

On-Water for Participants and On-Land for Those Who Just Want to Watch, Beginner/Intermediate/Crazy Instructors/Awesome Kids

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 together and join us for some on-water fun!

Waves and Wind for Paddlers

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.

Weird Strokes for Balance, Flexibility, and Paddle Dexterity in Your Boat 

On-Water Class, Intermediate 

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

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 interests and skill level.  Paddling skills ranging from strokes to braces to rescues can be addressed.  Both traditional and Euro-paddlers are welcome.