the website of Greg Stamer

Anglesey Sea Kayak Symposium

Posted by Greg on April 30, 2008

Waiting for the race to build

In a rare moment, Freya slows down just long enough to smell the flowers...

An unwary seal watches the action in the tidal races

I recently returned from ten days of teaching and playing at the Anglesey Sea Kayak Symposium in Wales. This is one of my favorite paddling destinations and I would heartily encourage all paddlers to visit. This area has it all, fantastic tidal races, steep cliffs and interesting scenery, beautiful beach access, castles and a network of hiking/biking trails along the coast (not to mention a fine selection of local “bitters” and smooth Guinness)…

The beauty of the races is that (assuming the ever-present wind is not blowing everything out), you can time your entry according to the tide, to pick the size of the waves you wish to challenge. This makes the races a great teaching opportunity. You can schedule your time to either play/teach in light to moderate conditions or choose “This is the Sea” mayhem that will rudely test your skills. If only the surf of Central Florida was so predictable…

Of course the main attraction is the symposium itself and rubbing elbows with some fantastic paddlers and personalties. I arrived early and picked up a wing to help Freya Hoffmeister train for the Molokai Challenge in Hawaii. After winning a local race with a Greenland paddle I have been enjoying occasional racing with a wing and there are many interesting parallels to a Greenland paddle. In addition to teaching Greenland-style rolling, I enjoyed teaching rolling and rescues with Gordon Brown and Mark Tozer. Although I have known Gordon for a number of years, it was my first time teaching with him, and it was great to finally meet Mark. The nights are filled with presentations of history and expeditions, and afterward, a visit to the pub on the symposium grounds.

As usual it was great to meet the “regular” crowd in the pub. The “core group” of paddlers are an amazingly talented and entertaining bunch. Harry Whelan had me in stitches with his antics once again…

Symposiums are a bittersweet experience. Once over, you may not see many of your best friends for a year or more. As kayakers we make up a very large (and definitely dysfunctiona!) family. But that’s also the very thing that makes these events so special.

  1. Tod Vance Said,


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