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.