Sunday, October 27, 2013

Trip Report: Lumpy Waters Symposium 2013

We made our way to Pacific City, Oregon to Alder Creek Kayak & Canoe's 5th Annual Lumpy Waters Symposium on Thursday, October 17. Lumpy is a three day event offering kayak instruction aimed at advanced beginners, early intermediates, and advanced level paddlers looking to improve their ocean paddling skills on the beautiful Oregon Coast.
 
Classes range from "Fear to Fun in the Surf"; for those trying the surf zone for the first time, or paddlers who have not had formal instruction in the surf, to "Advanced Rock Gardening and Caving", and everything in between. For a complete list of classes click HERE.
 
The world's top coaches come to Lumpy from all over the world making it the premiere opportunity for ocean paddling instruction in the U.S. For a complete list of coaches, click HERE.
 
We set up base camp on Thursday evening before the students arrived, unloading mountains of food, beer, and fire wood. Although classes take place all up and down the coast, the Cape Kiwanda RV Resort in Pacific City is where it begins and ends each day.
Photo by Dave Slover
 
We caught up with our fellow coaches and made a few new friends at the Pelican Pub that evening as the world of ocean paddling descended on the tiny little coastal town. One of the barmaids seemed puzzled and flustered by the large gathering on a week night in the off season. I over heard someone tell her, "You know you're about to be over run by sea kayakers here pretty soon, right?" It was true. By Friday morning Pacific City would transform from a sleepy little board surfer town to the sea kayak center of the universe. Students come from all over the U.S., Canada, and abroad to take advantage of the high level of instruction offered in such a majestic setting.
Photo by Dave Slover
 
Friday morning I woke before dawn and hit the water at Netarts Bay, fishing for Dungeness crab to cook up for the crowd during the evening festivities. A few coaches hit the water at sunrise to take advantage of the mellow surf conditions and a chance for free play before classes began. Coaches and students gathered at noon for the official kick off to the symposium. Conditions couldn't have been more ideal: High temps near 70F. Winds less than 10kts, West swell 1-3ft at 12-15 seconds building to 6-9ft at 18 seconds for Coach Play Day on Monday following the symposium.
Paul Kuthe: Photo by Dave Slover
  
After the noon meeting people split into their various classes. Chris taught short boat surfing with Sean Morley to an eager group of students.

Chris Bensch: Photo by Neil Schulman
 
Photo by Neil Schulman
 
Photo by Neil Schulman
 

Crabbing proved futile. Despite fishing all day, only two keepers managed their way to the boiling pot, which made for a nice lunch on the beach for me but no crab feast for the group festivities that evening at base camp. Unfortunately crabbing has been slow this year compared to most, and the epic crab boils of the last several Lumpys were not to be this year.
 
After classes everyone returned to camp for dinner, drinks, and socializing before Rowan Gloag and Marty Perry of The Hurricane Riders and White Sea Magazine premiered a short video.
 
Saturday morning classes began earlier, with students having the option of half day and full day instruction. Conditions were perfect. As predicted, sea kayakers dominated the coastline.
Photo by Jason Goldstein
 

Photo by Jason Goldstein
 


Photo by Dave Slover
 
Photo by Jason Goldstein
 
Photo by Jason Goldstein
 
Photo by Neil Schulman
 
Photo by Dave Slover
 
Photo by Dave Slover
 
Photo by Dave Slover
 
Photo by Jason Goldstein
 
Photo by Dave Slover
 
Rob Yates: Photo by Neil Schulman
 
Sean Morley: Photo by Jason Goldstein
 
At the end of Saturday's classes, the group gathered for the evening's festivities. Saltwood Paddles provided two kegs to get things going right.

Photo by Dave Slover
 
After dinner Chris and I started off with a short Team OSOM round of ocean plastic pollution trivia. Asking the group questions such as; "How many plastic bottles are purchased every year in the US?" (answer: 21,900,000,000) and "What percentage of plastics actually get recycled in the US annually?" (answer: Less than 24%) and "How much garbage gets dumped in the world's oceans annually?" (answer: 14 billion tons). For those that answered closest to correct, we awarded stainless steel pint cups made by Klean Kanteen. Immediately following plastic trivia, we showed the trailer for our upcoming movie, "The Search for the Perfect Day".
 



Following our short presentation, Marty Perry unveiled his official Lumpy Waters Symposium 2013 video. It's not an easy task to shoot and produce a video in two days and have it be ready for showing Saturday night, but Marty pulled it off with style and grace, producing one of the best Lumpy videos yet.


After the videos, Danny Mongno hosted his ever popular Coach's Roast/Pub Quiz/Trivia Night. This is one of those things you really have to see to appreciate. Let's just say it gets a little rowdy and out of hand and people learn, drink, eat, and smell things they shouldn't, all in good fun. 
Paul Kuthe & Kate Ross Kuthe: Photo by Rob Yates

Sunday morning brought a little fog and a later start to classes than the previous day. Both deemed appropriate considering Saturday night's festivities. We gathered for breakfast before splitting into groups for the days classes.
Paul Kuthe, Leon Somme, Shawna Franklin: Photo by Dave Slover
 
Malcolm Kelly & Annette Pierson: Photo by Dave Slover
 
Rob Yates: Photo by Dave Slover
 
 Shawna Franklin: Photo by Dave Slover
 
Rob Avery, Matt Palmariello, Neil Schulman: Photo by Dave Slover
 
Leon Somme: Photo by Dave Slover
 
Jason Self: Photo by Dave Slover
 
Helen Wilson: Photo by Dave Slover
 
Chris Bensch and Ryan Rushton: Photo by Dave Slover
 
Cate Hawthorne and John Schlesinger: Photo by Dave Slover
 
Paddlers hit the water to slightly bigger conditions Sunday, with West swell coming in at 4-5ft at 16 seconds. Although the swell height prediction was average, the long period gave the breaking waves more energy than our typical eight to twelve second period here in Oregon. The result was increased challenges for students looking to take their newly honed ocean paddling skills up a notch.


Sean Morley: Photo by Jason Goldstein
 

Pushing your limits always comes with a cost, and this day was no different. A boat collision while paddling through the surf at Cascade Head resulted in a bit of fiberglass damage and an opportunity to practice incident management for the coaches and students. Although the damage appears significant, no one was hurt and the boat can be repaired like new.
 
Rowan Gloag: Photo by Jason Goldstein
 
Sunday's classes wrapped up and students and coaches made their way back home, tired and content. As is tradition, several coaches stayed for what has become known as Coach Play Day. With conditions predicted to pick up to 6-9ft at 18 to 20 seconds, Monday would prove to be meaty. The day began with fog and big, powerful surf, making it challenging for paddlers to get outside the break to catch a wave. Chris managed to get some footage of the end of the coach's play session. Sean Morley proves why he is one of the top kayakers in the world by catching an incredible ride in a surf kayak near the end of the clip.  



Lumpy Waters Symposium is a one of a kind event. The coaches and event organizers (Paul Kuthe, Suzi Elle, and Dave Slover) put their heart and soul into Lumpy Waters for the shear love of paddling.  Lumpy is more than just kayak classes, it's a gathering of kindred spirits and friends with the sole purpose of celebrating ocean kayaking in one of the most beautiful locations in the world. If you have the opportunity to attend next year, we highly recommend it!

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