The Traditional Paddlers Gathering

Earlier this week Mark and I returned home from The Traditional Paddlers Gathering. It was my third year mentoring at this event, and Mark’s first, and we had an absolute blast. One of the things that makes this Qajaq USA event so great is the people. The personalities that show up for The Gathering somehow blend in a way that not only makes the event an absolute riot, but it creates a unique learning environment as well.

A bunch of kayaks and a gorgeous lake.

Throughout the weekend I instructed five rolling clinics and a skin-on-frame rescue clinic. Mark and Jeff Forseth instructed two sessions titled “Strokes and Maneuvers with Uncle Jeff and Dr. T.” Mark also worked alongside me during two of the rolling clinics, and on Sunday morning he took a group out for a tour of the gorgeous lake. The local mentors were wonderful and worked both alongside us and ran classes of their own. On Saturday night Mark and I presented on our East Greenland expedition, and had lots of fun helping to raise funds for the event through raffle ticket sales.

Storm rolls.

A rolling clinic.

Joanie showing dynamic body rotation.

A common sight at any event that has skin-on-frame kayaks…

Another way to check out a skin-on-frame?

Sipke is ready to get wet.

Talking about differences in kayaks during the skin-on-frame rescue class.

Jeff talks about paddles during an on-land class.

Tony conducted an on-land class on rib bending.

All that rib bending can make a man hungry.

The Traditional Paddlers Gathering also hosts a fun, and somewhat famous, harpoon contest, run by Jeff Bjorgo, and sticking with tradition, the rules had once again been changed for this year’s gathering. Mark and I will be practicing harpooning styrofoam seals on a regular basis in preparation for next year’s contest.

The winners of the harpoon contest proudly display their trophies.

There were lots of goodies to be bought or won during the silent auction and the raffle drawing.

Special thanks to Jeff and Michelle Forseth for taking such great care of us.

See you all next year!

Photos by Mark Tozer and Renee DuFresne.

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