Golden Gate Sea Kayak Symposium

As I drove down the coast Thursday afternoon, I couldn’t help but laugh. Strong winds were rattling the kayaks on the roof, heavy rain and hail were crashing into the windshield and then snow… and lots of it. I was on my way to the Golden Gate Sea Kayak Symposium (GGSKS) and hadn’t seen weather like this along the California coastline since last year’s event.

Not so typical weather.

Pot of gold?

This was my third year going to the GGSKS, and it ranks up there as one of my favorites. The event focuses on open water kayaking, and the location provides a good mix of everything from rock gardens, unique play spots, currents and tide races, not to mention the impressive Golden Gate Bridge looming over the water. Everyone stays at a charming hostel located in the Marin Headlands, and as I hauled my bag through the door I was greeted by many familiar and friendly faces, and quite a few new ones as well. Everyone was smiling and many already had tales of adventure from classes that had been taking place throughout the week.

Over the weekend I co-taught Combat Rescues and two classes of Fun, Balance, Games and Rolling. It was wonderful to work with Leon Somme, Deb Volturno, Rowan Gloag, Mark Tozer and Duane Strosaker, as well as all of the enthusiastic participants, who are the people who really make this event happen.

Just another day around the Golden Gate.

A little fun and balance.

P&H hosted a party Saturday night, complete with pizza, live music and dancing. One of the things that I really enjoy about symposiums is the evening chats of adventure, lessons learned and realizations made. Everyone seems to have a mischievous sparkle about them.

Nigel, Tom, Shawna and Leon.

Saturday evening was dinner at the hostel, followed by Greenland Rope Gymnastics in the basement and then a slideshow presentation by Eric Soares of the Tsunami Rangers. Eric took us all through the journey of the Tsunami Rangers over the past 26 years. This group of people are truly inspiring, and if you ever have a chance to listen to their tales of adventure, fun and friendship, I suggest you do it. Eric released a book this year, Confessions of a Wave Warrior, (available at I’ve read it and highly recommend it. Later that evening was a raffle drawing with lots of great prizes. Proceeds went to The Marine Mammal Center.

Tsunami Rangers, Eric and Steven.

The weekend was awesome, with way too many stories and adventure’s to list here. Thank you to the organizers, Matt Palmariello and Sean Morley, the fantastic kitchen staff who kept everyone well fed and somehow managed to keep smiling the entire time, the sponsors of the event and to new and old friends. See you all next year!

A bunch of troublemakers.

More pictures can be viewed in the Gallery.

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