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      Great Lakes Sea Kayak Symposium celebrates 30th anniversary

      Nearly 200 kayak enthusiasts are in Grand Marais this week for the 30th annual Great Lakes Sea Kayak Symposium. The event started on Wednesday and runs through Sunday. Students can participate in as many as three sessions per day.

      â??We have people that have been kayaking for over 30 years here and we have people that have never been in boatsâ?? said Bill Thompson, one of the organizers for the Great Lakes Sea Kayak Symposium. â??We get them all together; bring in coaches from all over the country to teach them all different types of things."

      "The instructors are awesomeâ?? said Jacelyn Splichal, one of the students. â??They are very understanding and are great with helping hands-on. They try to give you feedback so it's not just going out there and kayaking and continuing to do the wrong thing over and over again. They are really trying to teach you the right way so you are more effective in your kayaking."

      Jacelyn signed up after hearing about the Symposium at a Downwind Sports back home in Hancock.

      â??I decided to sign up because I love to kayak, but I have no idea what I am doingâ?? said Splichal â??This is a great opportunity for me to actually learn how to do it properly and then maybe I will enjoy it even more."

      Some of the things they learned include getting in and out of a kayak properly, forward stroke, bracing skills, all the way up to surfing and navigating out on the water with charts.

      â??It is world class kayakingâ?? said Thompson. â??Pictured Rocks National Lake Shore is incredible. It does not get any more exciting than surfing the big waves of Lake Superior. It does not get any more beautiful than watching the sunrise on a calm Lake Superior."

      â??The weather has been awesomeâ?? said Chris Delridge, one of the instructors. â??It has been great, just perfect. The water is a little cold, or the usual temperature you can say for Lake Superior, but the weather has been great."

      The Kayak Symposium is a chance for people to share their love of the sport with each other. It does not matter if you are a beginner or if you have been coming out here for 30 years. You can still come out, have fun and enjoy the beautiful scenery the Upper Peninsula has to offer.