Wondering if this event is right for you?
The Gales is not a beginner event. It is not an elitist event, but we want participants to have FUN. We want you to have the best experience possible. If you are not sure, we prefer to offer self-assessment criteria to help you reach your own decision. We have three categories of questions to allow you to self-assess.
Attitudinal, Skills, and Equipment Self Assessment.
Below are four categories: Try to find your match (though if you’re somewhere in between, no biggie).
- I get grumpy when I’m cold and wet. I like paddling on inland lakes and rivers. I don’t really like to push it; kayaking is about relaxation, not excitement. Bumpy water makes me very nervous. I prefer placid waters and birdwatching to foamy seas whipped with spray.
- I don’t mind venturing out on the Great Lakes when it’s calm. I don’t mind pushing myself a bit, but a steady pace is what I like, not anything too hard. I prefer staying warm and dry, but getting a bit wet is ok. I prefer to head for shelter when I see whitecaps, waves or cloudy skies. I prefer bright skies and calm open water.
- I like some wind waves; they make for a real sea kayaking kind of experience. I don’t mind getting cold and wet, or pushing myself. If it’s cloudy and overcast that’s OK; I just need to make sure I’ve got food and warm drink.
- Yeehaw, where’s the NOAA Forecast, I hope it’s big! I have two boats loaded and they’re both for surfing! I’ve got extra tea and biscuits in the day hatch, and a shelter for lunch. Ahhh whitecaps as far as the eye can see, that’s what I’m talking about!
After taking this fun assessment, if you answered 3 or 4, or if you feel somewhere between the two, we’ll see you at the Apostle Islands!
A couple of basic skills and fitness questions are in order.
- Do you have a developing eskimo roll? (i.e. I have worked on getting my roll in the pool and consider it an essential skill)
- Are you fit enough to paddle between 8-12 miles in a day at 3mph?
- Have you developed some positioning strokes, sweep, draw, reverse, and stern rudder?
- Can you low and high brace to support yourself when knocked off balance?
- Can you perform one basic unassisted re-entry technique in deep water. Re-entry and roll, or cowboy?
If the answer to these questions is, “No”. Or, “what are you talking about?” It might be great to get some instruction prior to the event. You can contact any of our sponsors, Summit Sports, or Go Kayak Now! or Have Kayaks Will Travel for a basic tuneup of these fundamentals prior to signing up.
While we don’t require you to own all your own gear, it is good to have an idea of what might be required for attendance.
- Paddling Lifejacket
- Full Wetsuit, or Farmer John and Drytop combo, or ideally a drysuit.
- Neoprene sprayskirt.
- Sea kayak with full non-bungie rescue lines around the perimeter, rubberized end toggles on the ends of your kayak, two bulkheads, secured and tethered hatches. While we love skin on frame kayaks, and traditional paddling, the courses we will run will require these two safety features for your safety, your fellow participants, and the coaches.
- Helmet. We will be working next to rocks in lumpy water, these are not optional.
- Gloves or pogies are ideal.
- Warm hat.
- Thermos for hot drink.
- Dry bag with warm clothing for on land.
- Tow belt for sea with 30′ line and biner.
If you don’t have these items, or don’t know what they are, or what they are for, probably a good idea to get a lesson set up with Summit Sports, Have Kayaks Will Travel or Go Kayak Now! for a basic tuneup of these fundamentals prior to signing up.