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Sweetwater Symposium 2013

Rob Hazard

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I know it can't compare with the hysterical highjinks at the Portsmouth Pool, but I just spent three very enjoyable days in St Pete, FL, improving my notoriously uneven paddling skills in warm salty waters under breezy, sunny skies.

The highlight of the weekend for me was taking 3 Greenland classes led by Greg Stamer. I actually managed to achieve one of my New Years Resolutions, to Balance-brace my Romany! I only managed it once, and then just, but I did it! Whoopee!

Plus, I roughed in the elements of my first Forward-Finishing Roll! I was doing really well until we got to the "wind-up-and-fall-over-backwards" part, at which point I lost it.

I also spent a productive morning taking apart and reassembling my Forward Stroke with a coach named John Ozard(sp?) whom I'd never met, though he seems to know a lot of NSPN folks. The Good Old Forward Stroke is a skill that seems to benefit greatly from occasional tuneups.

Although I didn't see any other NSPN members there, there were plenty of familiar faces, including John Carmody, Steve Maynard, Lamar Hudgens, and Dale Williams.

And to top it off, I made some connections with other sea-kayakers down here, which was another of my reasons for going.

The bottom line is, if you have never come down this symposium, you should do it next winter if you can, and spend a few days away from the snow, soaking up the sun, paddling all day in a T-shirt surrounded by pelicans and dolphins, and picking up new skills from some of the best sea-paddling coaches around.

This is NOT a paid advertisement, and if you want photos, you'll have to wait for them to show up on Sweetwater's website.



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