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If you’re wondering whether you’re ready for The Gales, we have a new opportunity for you to both find out and make sure that you are.
This year, Ladies of the Lake is offering ROUGH AND READY, a Pre-Gales Track, in Munising August 15-17.
Rough and Ready is designed to increase your confidence and skills in bumpy conditions. Like all LOL courses, the course will be fine-tuned based on where you are and where you want to go, but we promise to take you to the next level.
The goal of Rough and Ready is to prepare you, physically and psychologically, to attend The Gales. As an added encouragement, ladies who participate in Rough and Ready will get a $75 discount on their Gales registration, space permitting. (If you sign up for the Gales before Ladies and mention this offer, you’ll still get that discount.)
This track is limited to eight participants, so get your LOL registrations in soon and let us know if you plan to be in this track. Those who sign up will get additional information prior to LOL.


Registration for the 2014 Gales Storm Gathering is now open!




We were fortunate enough in 2009 to have Jeff Allen visit the Midwest for the WMCKA symposium near muskegon. Jeff did a coaches update with a lot of the midwest coaching crowd that still sticks with me as one of the big eye openers. I remember trying to do a scoop rescue on a completely incapacitated paddler (poor victim floating face down) in icy Lake Michigan water and then towing a raft until I thought my head would literally rupture.

Jeff spent a ton of time with us on rescues and sea survival incidents giving a subtle twist of the knife to a lot of age old thinking on sea kayaking paradigms based on his own work in Cornwall and abroad in the far flung oceans of the world. Jeff is one of those guys you hope to run into at an airport bar who gives you his lifestory, because he is way more interesting than you. Words like Royal Marine, kickboxer, commando, bouncer ping and whiz around the conversation before you realize you have met the inspiration for the Dos Equis guy, “the most interesting man in the world.” While this may seem hyperbole, it truly isn’t. And to boot he is a heck of a nice guy. All of this is to quickly say that one of the biggest joys I get in running this event is getting to spend time with paddlers like Jeff.


Jeff has done a ton of very thoughtful writing for Ocean Paddler magazine, traveled Scandinavia, Japan, Ireland, South Georgia Island, Israel, and many other amazing places. He operates Sea Kayaking Cornwall with Simon Osbourne.

Happy New Year Everyone. We are pleased to announce that the 2014 Gales Storm Gathering will be held Oct 3, 4, 5 in Munising Michigan and Piers Gorge on the Menominee River.


Part of the joy of a traveling road show event like the Gales is going to different places each year. We thought long and hard about going back to Marquette, but in the end, we decided to pursue Munising Michigan. Munising gives a host of great options on Lake Superior such as Pictured Rocks national lakeshore, Grand Island, and a number of other awesome locations along the shore for surfing and rock play (conditions providing).

This photo is credited to Ryan Rushton of Geneva Kayak Center.

But we also wanted to go back to the Menominee River for paddling in current to ensure that as many folks got to paddle in moving water as possible. The Menominee is such a great location to introduce sea paddlers to current, or to take paddlers who have already had some exposure to current and push them even further. Paddling a white water river in a sea kayak is definitely not an experience anyone forgets. Even if the wind doesn’t blow, the river will provide.

We look forward to sharing even more about what we have in store for 2014 with you as the year unfolds.

We are very pleased to announce that Downwind Sports will again sponsor The Gales Storm Gathering. Downwind does a magnificent job running Great Lakes Sea Kayak Symposium and Ladies of the Lake. And we are looking to have a great year for the Gales.

We are always happy to spend more time with Bill Thompson.

Congratulations to the winners of the 2013 Gales Feedback contest!

Lise Vaugeois has won 2 spots at the East Coast Paddlesports & Outdoor Festival in Charleston South Carolina in April.

Robert Bertram has won a spot to the Great Lakes Sea Kayak Symposium in Grand Marais, MI in July.

If you attend either of these symposiums in 2014, you’ll also have a chance to win a free spot to the 2014 Gales Storm Gathering!

charleston sympogreat lakes symposium


Announcing the 2013 Gales Logo wear, courtesy of Ibex.

This garment will make the warmest, non-stinkiest drysuit liner top with a cool logo, and pithy saying that will make you the envy of your friends.

We managed to secure a select number of Ibex merino wool tops at bottom basement prices. These tops normally retail at $110.00. And we are going to offer them with our new logo embroidered on the chest, plus our 2013 slogan, “My Home is the Sea” Along the back, and the sleeve reading: Rockstar. Cost for the top will be $70.00 + 10.00 Shipping and Handling.

The Ibex Top Will Embroidered with the Gales Logo Just like the Coaches shirt.



The Ibex description for this top is as follows:

The Indie Crew is the Swiss Army Knife of basic layers. Insulating ski layer? Yep. Impromptu bike jersey? Sure. Laid-back casual wear? You know it. All in the same day? Odor-resistant wool makes it possible. With 18.5 micron Merino wool mid-weight fabric in a clean fit, this is among our most versatile and wearable pieces. The modern adventurer’s new uniform? Indeed.

The lettering will be the exact same, but in black rather than in white due to the heather gray shirt. Supplies are limited in all sizes so order soon to take advantage of this stellar drysuit/drytop liner top!.

Below are the order form buttons below the text description of the item. Please email me @ go kayak now dot com with any questions.


Gales Wear Ibex Merino Crew Top Size Small $70.00 + $10.00 Shipping and Handling US Only


Gales Wear Ibex Merino Crew Top Size Medium $70.00 + $10.00 Shipping and Handling US Only


Gales Wear Ibex Merino Crew Top Size large $70.00 + $10.00 Shipping and Handling US Only

LA inc.2 color

The Gales Storm Gathering likes to partner with local businesses where our event venue is located. We are proud to work with Living Adventure, who’s business has been bringing paddle sports to the Apostles for over 16 years. Gail and Grant have run a number of great events and paddle instruction events of their own including the Inland Sea kayak Symposium.

Gail kayak rack
Gail Green will be speaking on Saturday, so swing by to hear her chat about the Brittany coast at Legendary Waters.


The Gales Storm Gathering 2013
The Gales Storm Gathering is a three day sea kayak training event intended to provide progressing beginner and intermediate paddlers a venue to challenge their skills with great instruction on the Great Lakes.

It is important to note that this event is more contingent on weather and marine conditions than any of the summer symposiums. Due to this fact we must plan courses and activities around the conditions. This means we can’t have pre-event sign-up for courses, nor guarantee that any single course will be available.

What we can guarantee is top notch coaching all three days and that appropriate challenge and stimulation will be provided. Thursday evening will provide a general forecast and an idea of overall conditions. But final day to day conditions will dictate which courses will run. The venues have been chosen to allow for multiple venues, outs, wind direction and fetch. We have relied on local knowledge to give us the best experience.

This agility comes at the cost of being able to tell everyone exactly what you will be doing on any given day. The best way to ensure you get what you need from the event is to use the meet and greet on Thursday to discuss your aims and desires with the coaches and work to sign up for courses recommended to you.

Below is a description of day to day activities for participants.

Thursday Evening

  1. 7 pm Instructor-Participant Meet and Greet Legendary Waters Resort
  2. Open Bar and Hors D’Houevre courtesy of our Sponsor Living Adventure,
  3. Meet your instructors, discuss course offerings.
  4. Quick slide show overview of the Apostle Islands from coach Joe Kochevar.
  5. Gales Weather forecast for weekend.
  6. Day 1 Course Signups


  1. Breakfast 7-8:30
  2. Final course adjustments
  3. Courses start at 9
  4. Dinner 6PM-7PM
  5. Forecast and course signup for Saturday
  6. Presentation Bonnie Perry 7:30


  1. Breakfast 7-8:30
  2. Final Course Adjustments
  3. Courses Start 9
  4. Dinner 6PM-7PM
  5. Forecast course signup final day
  6. Presentation Gail Green 7:15-8:00
  7. Presentation John Carmody 8-8:45


  1. Breakfast 7-8:30
  2. Final forecast and course adjustments
  3. Courses Start 9
  4. Courses END Noon



Steve Macdonald has worked as a paddlesport coach for the past 25 years. He holds the British Canoe Union Level 5 Coach award and frequently works as a Coach Educator for the BCU. Steve paddles and coaches white water kayak, open canoe, slalom kayak and canoe as well as sea kayak. His twin passions are helping paddlers develop, and doing so in the context of an expedition or journey.

Steve currently runs a regional slalom development pathway for the Scottish Canoe Association; manages Beyond Adventure, his own coaching and outfitting business; and somehow manages to find time for his wife and five children. The Gales, he says, will be “a break from my normal routine.”

We asked him a few questions about that break:

Q: You coach and paddle so many craft: whitewater kayak, sea kayak, slalom, canoe…how do feel about a symposium devoted entirely to sea kayaking?

A: The BCU system is built on the concept of transferable skills. It’s all messing about in boats, as far as I’m concerned, and I really don’t kind what kind of boat I’m in. The majority of my working career and my recreation time has been in whitewater kayak or open canoe, but that’s mainly because I live as far away as it’s possible to live from the sea in Scotland.

Q: What excites you about The Gales?

A: To me, it just looks like a fantastic opportunity to be amongst like minded people in a supportive environment. Like I tell my slalom students, If you can push yourself by this much, just a tiny increment in every session you do,  then that’s how we get better. And here you’ve got this perfect opportunity because not only do you have a great outdoor environment, but you’ve got a cross-fertilization of ideas with opportunities to meet your friends, but also you’ve got that supportive context of coaches who are there to help you move forward. So, why would you not come?

Steve will also be coaching all the pre-symposium BCU courses, October 1 through 8 in the Chicago area. These include the BCU 3 star Canoe training and assessment, BCU 4 star Canoe training and assessment, Coaching the Mind, and Whitewater safety and rescue. Sign up soon, as spaces are limited.