The Traditional Paddlers Gathering

Last week I headed to Minnesota for the Traditional Paddlers Gathering. It was my fourth year mentoring at this fun event, and it was great to be back.

Lots of people worked on rolls in the warm lake.

Lots of people worked on rolls in the warm lake.

The warm weather made it easy to get wet.

The warm weather made it easy to get wet.

The event takes place at a communal camp in Lake Carlos State Park. The camp is very comfortable and right on the water.

There were lots of skin-on-frame qajaqs to try, including the Qajaq USA fleet.

There were lots of skin-on-frame qajaqs to try, including the Qajaq USA fleet.

Danielle demonstrates Greenland Rope Gymnastics.

Danielle demonstrated Greenland Rope Gymnastics.

The Gathering is a Qajaq USA event put on by the Inland Sea Kayakers. I find this group of paddlers to be fun, friendly and welcoming. Laughter could be heard throughout the full four day event.

Lots of people tried the ropes.

Lots of people tried the ropes during the interactive demonstration.

Tony prepares himself for the harpoon competition.

Tony prepares himself for the harpoon competition.

There were lots of classes taking place, but for my part I mentored rolling, skin-on-frame rescues and a class on teaching rolling. I also presented a slideshow on the 2013 Nordic Tour that Mark and I did this summer. There were lots of local mentors, and in the spirit of a Qajaq USA event, everyone had something to contribute.

Many people participated in the harpoon throwing competition.

Many people participated in the harpoon throwing competition.

Close... but no seal for dinner this time.

Close… but no seal for dinner this time.

One thing that really makes this event stand out is its harpoon competition. Jeff Bjorgo runs it, and every year the rules change. Participants wait in anticipation for Jeff to arrive and to hear the “new rules.” This year lots of people brought their own harpoons to the event, and throughout each day participants could be seen practicing their technique on the styrofoam seals that bobbed in the lake.

Watching the harpoons was a fun thing to do while taking a break from on water activities.

Watching the harpoons was a fun thing to do while taking a break from on-water activities.

All in all, the weekend was spectacular. Over the past few years I’ve gotten to know many of the Minnesota paddlers, and they’ve become good friends. Special thanks to Michelle, Jeff, Tony and Renee for taking such good care of me.

Kayaks sit in the grass while their owners sleep.

Kayaks sit in the grass while their owners sleep.

Pictures by Peter Strand.

One Response to “The Traditional Paddlers Gathering”

  • mike swegle says:

    Sorry that I got sick with heat exhaustion on Saturday morning. I missed a lot of the program on Saturday including being a volunteer on teaching rolling. See you next year.

    Mike

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