Loading up the car to drive down the coast to the Golden Gate Sea Kayak Symposium (GGSKS) was very different than it had been in previous years. Instead of snow, hail and rain, the sun was shining, there wasn’t a cloud in sight, and if you didn’t know better, you’d think it was summer.
This was my fourth year at the GGSKS and Mark’s second. For us it was also a special anniversary. We drove to the Bay Area a day early and spent the evening exploring Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 39, both walking distance from a fantastic hotel that was central to everything. The following morning we took a ferry to Alcatraz, something I’ve always wanted to do. With some extra time to spare before Thursday evening’s instructor meeting, we decided to walk across the magestic Golden Gate Bridge and back before heading to the Marin Headlands Hostel, the event’s headquarters.
The GGSKS is a wonderful event, and one that has traditionally been been accompanied by large swells, strong winds, winter storms and even a tsunami warning one year. This year, however, provided sun, mild wind and slightly smaller swell than in previous years. The GGSKS is an intermediate and advanced skills symposium, and participants can take a range of classes to challenge themselves in the Bay, under the Golden Gate Bridge and on the open ocean. Evening programs included incredible food, a raffle and several presentations.
There was a nice blend of familiar faces and new ones, and each evening was filled with people sharing the experiences that they’d had throughout the day. Over the weekend Mark instructed BCU Coastal Navigation and Tidal Planning and BCU Four Star Training, while I instructed Developing Greenland Skills, Surf 101 and Fun, Balance, Games and Rolling.
Once again the GGSKS proved to be a success. Thanks to organizers Sean Morley and Matt Palmariello for having us there and for doing such a fantastic job of putting the whole event together. Thanks also to the volunteers who kept everyone fed and happy and to the participants who keep the heart of the event pumping. We hope to see you all again next year!
Photos by Mark Tozer.