What a trip. Tiring, but well worth it.
The Golden Gates Sea Kayak Symposium is something you have to be a part of. I've paddled and taught for over a decade and I can honestly say I have never been to an event of this caliber. I know this is true because I've been home for a week and every night I have dreamed of rock gardens and foam piles. Not only do you get to paddle with some of the top instructors in the business in an ideal location, but you get to work with a group of outstanding students; a committed group of paddlers with the right gear, the right attitude and the right skills to paddle in rock gardens and tide races. Nice. I think Eric Soares said it best: "this symposium not only has courses on paddling in rock gardens, but it has instructors qualified to teach it."
|It was amazing paddling under the Gate.|
After a full day at work, Sterling and I left Wednesday night and drove through rain, sleet, hail and snow to arrive at The Headwaters kayak shop around dinnertime Thursday. There we hooked up with Dan and headed for San Francisco. By that point Sterling and I were beyond tired, so we settled in to a pretty chill night reconnecting with old friends.
Day 1. I safety boated for Combat Rescues led by Leon, Deb and Helen. We played around with complicated assisted and self rescues in the currents at Yellow Bluff. If you have a chance to take a course with Leon of Body Boat Blade: do it. After a great day on the water we wrapped it up with a live band, pizza and well....a few beers :)
|It's always fun paddling with Leon. I tried to race him paddling backwards...he won.|
Day 2. Rain, cold, but no wind. Safety boating for Advanced Tidal Race Paddling, I spent the day paddling with Dan and playing in the currents under the Gate and Yellow Bluff. Our instructors Ben and Chris led us through a fun and challenging day in the currents. Daniel and I even had time to play in max ebb. It was tricky to catch a ride, but it was worth it when you did.
|Surfing Yellow Bluff.|
Evening of day 2 was a big moment. I met Eric Soares and Michael Powers. The Tsunami Rangers. If you are new to this sport and you haven't heard of the Tsunami Rangers...look them up. Their rock garden footage is epic.
Day 3. A day not to forget. Dan and I were given the day off. So what did we do? We headed out of the Gate in search of rocks that needed a healthy coat of green gelcoat. Point Bonita was perfect. Swell, wind and rocks. We found a nice little feature that included a surf wave, suck hole and nice little rock drop. Of course my SD card was full. Bummer, eh? Oh well, I'll just have to go back.
|Dan back surfing at Point Bonita.|
|Me playing in messy water.|
In conclusion, I'm going back next year. You should come with...