Mary recently returned from the annual WW symposium where she was invited to present on a number of instructional topics. The idea behind this three-day event is to bring folks together to compare, share, and grow the health of paddle sports. Topics range from on- the-water clinics about technique, progressions, and safety, to presentations and panel discussions about stewardship, industry and gear trends. Attendees include outdoor program directors, manufacturers, kayak schools, media, and the general public. Venues change from year to year so that everyone across the country has a chance to be exposed to all of the great exchanges that take place.
Since it’s inception five years ago, it has been on the Deerfield river in MA, the Nantahala in NC, the Shoshone stretch of the Colorado in CO, our home river, the SF American in Lotus, CA, and most recently, the Adventure Sports Center in McHenry, Maryland. For all five years, one or both of us have attended as presenters and have really enjoyed the folks we’ve met and the great, positive energy surrounding the event.
This year’s symposium marked the first time it was held on an artificial course and in Mary’s words “It was a hoot”. The volume of the “river” is controlled by the four outlet tubes at the top of the course, while “wave shapers” can be used to change the size and shape of a feature. Once you have completed a top to bottom run through the course, you stay in your boat, paddle onto a conveyor belt, and are transported back to the top for another go. The ability to run features over and over again allowed you to quickly see improvements in your stroke work and strategies. You also got to work on your vision as the site was shared with rafters whose job it seemed, was to keep everyone moving downstream (scouring the course).
For a full listing of some of this years presenters as well as to find out about next years symposium click here.
Sorry about the lack of photos from the event. Mary just couldn’t fit photography into everything she had going on.
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