Important Reading:

  • To ensure your safety and that of your fellow paddlers, please read through the Skill Levels before making your class choices.
  • Possible venues include Trinidad State Beach, Trinidad Harbor, Moonstone Beach, Big Lagoon County Park and Humboldt Bay. Actual venues will be determined by prevailing weather and marine forecasts.
  • When purchasing a full event ticket (Option One or Option Two), you are registering to participate in four sessions during the symposium. Please note that full-day Saturday classes count as two sessions.
  • Please pick your first four class choices, and list them in the priority that you wish to take them. That is, the class that you’d like to take the most, list first.
  • The Storm Gathering USA Team will do their best to give you your first choices. To help us, in case of class cancellations or maximum numbers reached, please provide four additional choices (total of eight).
  • We will consider your learning progression when scheduling the classes, however, there will need to be some flexibility as to which session you take which class.
  • ALL classes are subject to weather and sea conditions. We reserve the right to make changes to venues, schedules, instructors and/or students at any time.
  • The Storm Gathering USA Team will not provide refunds due to weather or sea conditions. We will work to provide alternate classes and safe venues as appropriate.
  • By signing up for the symposium you are accepting the risks with full knowledge that we cannot guarantee safe sea conditions for all classes.
  • The Storm Gathering USA Team recognizes that certain instructors are known internationally for teaching certain classes. If a class is listed as an “Instructor Specialty Class,” that simply means that the instructor is well-known for teaching that specific class.

All Levels

Simplifying the Roll (FULL – Instructor Specialty Class: Helen Wilson –  Session 2 Only – FULL)

This is a multi-level class. Topics that can be covered include first rolls, other-side rolls, layback paddle rolls, forward finish paddle rolls, norsaq rolls, hand rolls and beyond. The techniques examined can be used with any type of paddle and any type of kayak.

Greenland Strokes [(Instructor Specialty Class: Maligiaq Padilla –  Sessions 1 (FULL) and 4 (Space Available)]

Maligiaq Padilla doesn’t need much of an introduction in the traditional paddling world. His grandfather spent his days hunting seals, whales, birds and other animals from a kayak (qajaq in Greenlandic), and it was from him that Maligiaq was taught the hunting traditions of his ancestors. At the age of 12, Maligiaq built his first kayak and learned to hunt from it using a harpoon and a rifle. He has since built over 300 kayaks. Maligiaq first competed in the annual Greenland National Kayaking Championship when he was 12. He won every event in his age group, and at 16 became the youngest National Championship winner in history. He has now won a total of nine Championships. Over the years, Maligiaq has shared traditional paddling skills with paddlers all over the world, and we’re thrilled to have him as part of the event.

If you’re interested in Greenland paddling technique, this is an amazing opportunity to learn from the best. Spaces are VERY limited. Maligiaq will also be teaching a qajaq building class through Mind’s Eye Manufactory leading up to Storm Gathering USA. Click HERE for more information. Special thanks to Mind’s Eye Manufactory for supporting the event by bringing in such a wonderful keynote speaker and mentor.

Wild Harvesting (FULL – Instructor Specialty Class: Georgianna Wood and Bruce Hales –  Session 3 Only – FULL)

In this class you will learn about a variety of seaweeds, shellfish and edible crustaceans common to the Pacific Northwest. Starting in the kitchen, you will prepare and taste several ocean-based dishes, including Turkish Towel pudding, Bull Kelp pickles, Sea Salad, steamed mussels, Crab and Cioppino. You’ll learn ways of preserving a harvest, including dehydrating, pickling, freezing, smoking and canning. We will discuss harvesting techniques, seasons, regulations, ethics and safety. On the water we’ll paddle south from Indian Beach toward Baker Beach through the rock gardens and a variety of tidal zones to see what it all looks like in the wild.  You’ll have the opportunity to locate and identify the seaweeds you’ve learned about, as well as others, and harvest some for yourself.

Developing Boat Control [Sessions 1 (Bill Vonnegut) and 4 (Ben Lawry)]

This class examines the principles of active posture, balance and connection, all of which assist in developing fluid boat control skills to become a more efficient paddler. The class focuses on bracing, maneuvering and directional control through stroke analysis and dynamic coaching activities.

Level 1 – 2

Surf Zone Fundamentals [Session 1 (Kelly Henry)]

This class takes participants into a gentle surf zone where you will learn fundamental surf zone skills. You’ll develop confidence while learning to read the water. This class is about comfort, safety and understanding the dynamics of the surf zone. It is not about learning to “surf,” although that may be covered as well.

Storm Paddling Essentials [Session 1 Ben Lawry and Mark Tozer)]

This class gives participants a safe and enjoyable introduction to storm paddling with an emphasis on essential kayak skills to develop boat confidence and abilities. Participants will be introduced to a range of boat handling techniques for use in wind and swell.

Fundamentals of Rock Gardening [Sessions 2 (Paul Kuthe, Sean Morley and Cate Hawthorne) and 4 (Cate Hawthorne)]

This class is for those new to rock gardening. You’ll learn essential rock gardening skills, such as timing waves and swell, reading water and safely playing around rocks, tunnels and/or caves.

Coastal Journey [Sessions 3 (Kelly Henry) and 4 (Mark Tozer and Don Cheyette)]

This class covers the essentials needed when planning a coastal sea kayak journey. Participants will journey in a sheltered coastal location. By the end of the class participants will understand the planning and considerations that should be done before day tripping on the ocean.

Fundamentals of Sea Kayak Leadership [Full-Day Class: Saturday Only (Don Cheyette)]

This class focuses on the fundamentals of leadership. It is helpful for sea kayakers who want to take responsibility for others in easy and moderate sea conditions. Participants will explore the principles of planning, anticipation, communication, group management, route choice and positioning.

Level 2 – 3

Moderate Water Boat Handling [Sessions 1 (Don Cheyette) and 3 (Ben Lawry and Jeff Laxier)]

Moderate Water Boat Handling will have you paddling with confidence and efficiency in moderate water conditions. Participants will learn how to turn with accuracy and control using their boat to its full potential. The session will take a progressive approach, building your skills in a variety of conditions. This class is suitable for experienced sea kayakers aspiring to greater boat handling skills in moderate to rough sea conditions.

Situational Rolling and Bracing [Instructor Specialty Class: Bill Vonnegut – Sessions 2 (FULL) and 4 (SPACE AVAILABLE)]

This class is intended for those who already have a reliable pool or flat water roll looking to grow their rolling skills and increase comfort and confidence when encountering the need to roll and/or maintain stability in dynamic water. Whether you are wanting to take your pool roll into conditions or tune up the roll you already have, this is the class you have been waiting for. The class will focus on tuning up your current roll and honing in on your bracing skills. We will start the day in the the calm harbor water and then gradually build into working in dynamic water while practicing rolling under a variety of different situations and conditions.

Unscrambling the Scramble: Self Rescue and Beyond (Instructor Specialty Class: Roger Schumann – Sessions 1 and 4)

More than a mode of self-rescue, the Cowboy(girl) Scramble technique is great for expanding your launching and landing repertoire, and for developing core skills to help you become a better paddler. Before working on rescues, we’ll break down the scramble technique as used for basic launching /landing, offering tips and tricks for getting off/on beaches quickly and easily (compared to awkward knuckle walking). We’ll also cover more-advanced versions like “lunge launches” and “speed launches,” useful for accessing “tricky” beaches. In the process of practicing Scramble Launches/Landings, you’ll automatically be refining your deep-water rescue skills, as well as improving the core bracing and balancing skills that help keep you from capsizing and needing to do a rescue in the first place. Participants should have been introduced previously to both the Scramble Rescue and the sculling brace.

Ocean Journey [FULL – Session 4 (Sean Morley – FULL)]

If you are planning to leave the coastline behind and head out for distant blue horizons, or if you are looking for top tips and techniques to fine-tune your open ocean planning skills, then this class is for you. This session will have you paddling with confidence and efficiency in moderate water conditions. You’ll receive advice and practical training to help prepare for your own offshore adventures.

Long Boat Surfing [Sessions 1 – FULL – (Sean Morley) and 4 – FULL – (Jeff Laxier and Paul Kuthe)]

Participants will learn how to safely catch and ride a wave in a sea kayak. The class will cover surf zone dynamics, surfing ethics, safety and reading water.

Intermediate Rock Gardening [Sessions 1 (Cate Hawthorne) and 3 (Bill Vonnegut and Paul Kuthe)]

This class is for those who have previous experience rock gardening and would like to take things up a notch. This class takes place in rock gardens that are more exposed to swell and waves, have tighter turns, more obstacles and longer pour-overs than Fundamentals of Rock Gardening. Previous rock garden experience is required.

Incident Management [Full-Day Class: Saturday Only (Roger Schumann)]

This class covers skills and procedures that help participants to develop a step-by-step approach to handling potential incidents on the ocean, while under pressure. As an active group, participants will be faced with a number of challenging scenarios. This class will help develop your ability to deal with potential incidents safely and utilizing clear operating principles.

Level 3

Tricky Launch, Tricky Landing [Sessions 1 (Paul Kuthe) and 2 (Jeff Laxier)]

This class looks at launching and landing in tricky surf zones. This class is not about surfing, but instead it covers reading a tricky launch or landing site and the techniques to get through the surf zone effectively. Please note that this is an advanced-level class that takes place in a tricky surf zone. Participants must have previous experience in surf and a reliable roll.

Rough Water Boat Handling [Sessions 1 (Jeff Laxier), 3 (Sean Morley) and 4 (Kelly Henry)]

This class is for intermediate and advanced level paddlers who want to master the skills needed to maneuver a sea kayak efficiently in rough water and challenging conditions. Participants will develop confident boat control using swell and waves. They will paddle the most exposed parts of the coast, actively searching out “adventure.” Strong seamanship skills, solid paddling ability and a desire to get a bit out of your comfort zone are a must.


Photo Credit: Greenland or Bust Collection


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