Photo courtesy of David Fajula
Note — The following post was written just after returning from Spain, but I was soon traveling again, and didn’t get a chance to edit and post it. Just this last weekend I enjoyed teaching locally at Paradise Coast Paddlers Festival. Following the festival I attended a great wing technique session taught by Oscar Chalupsky.
I’m just getting over the jet-lag, returning from visiting Europe, after enjoying teaching for the second time at the Pagaia symposium in Spain. This is by far the most international of events that I have ever participated in. Classes are overflowing with diversity with students speaking French, English, Spanish, German, Italian and Catalan. My hat is off to José Calderón, Anna Morena, and everyone who helped to organize this vibrant (and logistically challenging) event.
It’s been a few years since I have have taught in Europe so it was great to catch up with a number of old friends, both students and coaches.
The venue is on the clear Mediteranean. The landscape is bordered by vineyards, olive trees, rosemary bushes and green foothills that touch the sea. Coming from Florida, the temperatures were cool. I wore a drysuit for most of my classes.
The Greenland-style class sizes were unbelievable — I was pleasantly surprised. Fortunately there were enough G-style instructors to split the large groups into manageable sizes — both by numbers of students and by language preferences.
The last time I was there, about six years ago, I was accompanied by Maligiaq, Dubside and Freya, and the class sizes were fairly small.
It is good to see that G-style is a now an accepted form of paddling virtually world-wide. As a discipline, G-style has truly blossomed over the last 20 years. It’s something that John Heath (kayak historian and mentor) would have loved to see, although his wish would probably have been for a higher percentage of skin-on-frame kayaks out there.
Many thanks to the organizers of Pagaia for the invite, and for the students who worked so hard on their skills. I would definitely love to participate again in the future!