No matter how you look at it, traveling to Qajaq Training Camp (Aug. 23 – 25th) at Camp Lookout on Lower Herring Lake in Michigan, is a long haul from here in central Wisconsin. Adding the ferry crossing on the SS Badger takes about 4 hours, but to me it’s totally worth it. I’ve done the drive around Lake Michigan, and am happy to replace some drive time, with a trip on a steamer.
It’s been about 5 years since I’ve been to QajaqTC. I was invited last year, but a situation at home kept me here. I’m was happy to be invited again this year.
Qajaq Training camp is a symposium like no other in the mid-west. Focused on traditional paddling skills and kayak rolling, the training camp is much more laid back then more standard events. Attendees range from sea kayakers just wanting to learn to roll to traditionalists looking to sharpen their skills and gain more education about traditional kayaking skills and history as well. This year’s featured guest will be Maligiaq Padilla, of Sisimiut, Greenland. Maligiaq won every event in his class at the National Kayaking Championships. He is the only person in history to win ten Greenland National Kayaking Championships, winning his first title at age 16 and, most recently, was named champion in 2012. What’s more Maliqiaq has a reputation just an all-around nice guy as well. I wonder if I’ll have time to challenge him to teach a chubby cheese-eater from Wisconsin how to finally nail my balance brace? Bah!
Now the trick at training camp for me is just figuring out what I’m doing there! Practically everyone, students included, have more rolls than I do. On the other hand, I do fancy working with paddlers who want to get that ever-important first roll. I’m also thankful that in 2008 Greg Stammer spent a good amount of time teaching me a solid forward stroke that I can certainly impart on others. Thanks to Greg, I feel like I could almost keep up with Doug Van Doren now. Apart from paddling I think my number one task with be taking lots of photos and sharing them with you all as well.
Now my most immediate task is to spend some time rolling with my new (to me) Betsie Bay Valkayrie. We’ve been so busy since I picked it up, that I’ve not had the time to play with it yet. Well, then there’s the other issue.. I’m not sure I can wrestle it out of Sue’s hands… Oh, and it didn’t help that everyone at the Great Lakes Symposium told her that it just should be HER kayak. Thanks guys!