Would you like to coach at the 2019 Gales Storm Gathering? If you’re an ACA Level 5 Sea Kayak Instructor, we’d like to hear from you. We are seeking a diversity of coaches: gender, geography and coaching style. And we pay!

If you’re a Level 5, please contact Alec at kayak.bp(at)gmail.com.


Sam Crowley’s kit for one of his solo trips.

Every night, Gales attendees gather for dinner at our headquarters at 387 Restaurant & Beer Parlor. On Saturday, we’ll also have a presentation about solo expeditioning, featuring three remarkable paddlers. They are:

  • Greg Anderson, who completed a solo circumnavigation of Vancouver Island in 2017.
  • Sjana Shanning, who paddled around Lake Superior “mostly solo” in 2018
  • And Sam Crowley, who has more than a dozen solo expeditions to his name, including a circumnavigation of Ireland and other daunting journeys.

Sharon Bloyd-Peshkin will be moderating a panel discussion with these three intrepid kayakers, seeking to learn more about why they chose to paddle solo, how they prepared for those adventures, what was rewarding and what was challenging about being alone on the water so long, and what lessons they learned for their next adventures–or yours! There will be lots of time for asking questions, too.


We’re watching the weather. Are you?

updated Tuesday, Oct. 2

Last year, Greg gave an evening presentation on waves and coached participants on how to paddle and enjoy them. He’s back this year, bringing his big bag o’waves for the Munising shore.

Coaching thought: I learned to kayak on the Great Lakes. The opportunities our Inland Seas provide, and the quality coaching available in the Midwest gave me the skill and confidence to be a successful expedition paddler.  At the Gales, I look forward to helping new and advancing paddlers expand their comfort and  confidence in conditions so that they can carry them forward on their own adventures.

Paddling thought: I am very fortunate. I am able to spend my summers expedition paddling. I paddled over a thousand miles up the inside passage in 2015, circumnavigated Vancouver Island solo in 2017, and canoed exciting whitewater on the Thlewiaza River in Nunavut for the better part of a month this past summer.

Neal, from Ironwood, Michigan, gets the short commute award.

Coaching thought: I’ve been working this season on developing a paradigm on training & certifying ACA L4 instructors as I seek to move from L3 to an L4 IT (Instructor Trainer).

Paddling thought: This season, I had the privilege of kayaking the Pacific coast of Baja & in Croatia, yet always cherish my time in the Apostle Islands.

Dale Williams wins the longest-commute-to-coach award for this year’s Gales. Based in Tybee Island, Georgia, Dale is taking a weekend away from the salt water to join us on Lake Superior.

Coaching thought: What I’ve been working on in coaching is how to make use of time in transit for higher level students  that require a journey of some sort. Quantitative stroke analysis for later discussion is one way, using Body/Boat/Blade as a base, but adding analysis beyond that. To reiterate what I’ve been working on. How to differentiate the needs of advanced student needs from those who are less so, how to give quantitative information without inferring a value judgement and how to do some of this while underway through reciprocal teaching/learning.

Paddling thought: As Keith Richards once said in response to the rest of the band telling the Hampton, VA audience how good it was to be in Hampton, “I’m just happy to be anywhere!” Never-the-less, I’d say my happiest to be there moment was paddling around the Blaskett Islands in Ireland this July, in all that highly textured water with a handful of close friends and my most amazing wife.

We sent this out some time ago by email, but spam filters are hungry these days. So if you need another copy, here it is!


We’re thrilled to welcome Rebecca Merz to the coaching ranks of the Gales as an assistant this year. We’re sure you’ll be as impressed with her skills and insights as we are.

Coaching thought: This past year as a coach I have been really focusing on creating a psychologically and physically safe space for students to learn and challenge themselves in ways that they may not have realized they could. I want to give my students the tools that they need to be safe and competent paddlers at whatever level they aspire to, whether that be the local pond or the open ocean, and I want to instill in my students the excitement and joy that I have for the sport.

Paddling thought: The thing that I love most about paddling is the myriad of ways in which we can experience water, and how we can always find new ways to challenge ourselves. Some of my favorite times on the water this past year have been in my whitewater boat, which is a new discipline for me, and even though I found myself upside down far more often than I would have liked, it really pushed me to learn and grow as a paddler in ways that have been incredibly fun and rewarding.

Don’t be fooled. Trey Rouse may seem like he’s into paddling and coaching, but he’s actually TOTALLY into paddling and coaching.


Coaching thought: What I have been focusing on recently is identifying that key, basic piece that is preventing the completion of the puzzle.Sometimes it can be discovered by reverse engineering the skill and sometimes it lies in fears or anxieties (acknowledged and unknown). THEN, once we identify that key piece, how do we teach it in a way that is learned by the whole body and not just verbally comprehended. There are so many simple components that we as coaches or instructors take for granted that students say they understand, yet are unable to actually apply in the learning environment.

Paddling thought: Something I really found joy in this season was a 6 week training routine I did this spring. I am not one for daily workouts (ok, I hate working out), but I challenged myself to get out on my local river and do an attain on my SUP every morning. The joy came not from better conditioning or water reading skills (that was nice), but the true JOY came from being a PART of the water breathing life into itself. Incremental, yet so powerful. I totally did not see that coming. I was left full, energized and amazed.

Did you know that Chuck Norris’ twin brother, separated at birth, will be coaching at this year’s Gales?

Coaching thought: I’m thinking about enhancing guided discovery by trying out different approaches with different learning styles: how to better have a thinker doing and then analyzing, a watcher doing and seeing how they did, having a doer learning as they do and guiding the feeler doing & learning. What cues, support, directions, etc gets that learning style deeper engaged in discovering.

Paddling thought: What paddling did I do that made me really happy to be in a kayak? Paddling from Dublin Ireland to Isle of Skye in Scotland. Crossing Ireland to Scotland across the North Channel and its challenge of currents and navigation. Islay and touring the Laphroaig Distillery. Visiting Iona with it’s 5-6th century Celtic Christian monastery site and arriving by small boat from Ireland as did its founder.