LOL 2014 Recap!

September 22nd, 2014 Comments off

8-24 Hannah Paddling toward Grand Portal

This past August Down Wind Sports hosted the 11th annual Ladies Of The Lake Sea Kayak Symposium on the southern shores of Lake Superior in beautiful Munising Michigan.  Munising is the gateway city to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore…..unquestionably one of the finest destinations for sea kayakers in the country.

This annual gathering of female paddlers has always been organized to paddle, learn, socialize and celebrate another year of paddling.  Our idea is to provide a quality paddling experience promoting “women kayaking with women for women.”


Our headquarters for the long weekend was Sydney’s Restaurant.  Sydney’s, located in downtown Munising, has been the host for two of the previous LOL including the inaugural event!  The Grand Island Room is where our retail location was set up and all off water activities took place.


On Thursday The Grand Island Room of Sydney’s was transformed into a paddle sports market place with Down Wind Sports displaying the latest boats, kayaking gear, and clothing.  As the day wore on, participants weary from the road, stopped in to register themselves and gear up for what would prove to be a great, fun filled  weekend.  Once again the symposium drew participants from as far away as Virgina,  Florida, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Ohio, Washington State, North Carolina, Indiana, and Michigan. Some even traveled internationally from Canada!  We are very proud to say that we have some of the most talented coaches in the country joining us, many of whom reside right here in the Midwest. Our featured coach Cindy Scherrer returned to this event through our Gold Level sponsor Wilderness Systems- without our sponsors and these talented ladies our event would not have been the same!


The trips that were scheduled for Thursday were re configured due to weather so participants were treated to an Autrain River Float as well as two trips that explored the shoreline of Grand Island.


During the evening’s official symposium welcome- a weekend game plan was discussed and we included over 35 1st time participants to our LOL symposium family - a new record!


On Friday from forward strokes to rescues participants learned new and exciting techniques to help improve their paddling.  New this year LOL offered a One Coach class as well as an advanced Rough and Ready Class….both well attended and participant favorites.  The afternoon classes went off in their different pods which made for an amazing view, over 100 kayaks on the water, with lots of laughter echoing off the water and back to the shore.




After cleaning up and finishing dinner, participants headed on over to the headquarters  and enjoyed an interesting and informative presentation from our coach Andrea Knepper, on Chicago Adventure Therapy. Using outdoor adventure sports like kayaking, orienteering, cycling, and rock climbing, Chicago Adventure Therapy (CAT) helps under-served youth in Chicago have a lasting positive impact on their communities and become healthy adults by teaching effective social skills, increasing participants’ sense of possibility, and fostering a sense of empowerment and personal responsibility.  It was a great way to finish off  a day on the water.


On Saturday the weather was again stellar and participants started their morning off with a yoga session thanks to our favorite early morning riser, Patty Boucher!  After stretching out, the ladies hit the water for more in depth instruction and fun.  Bracing, rolling, towing, rescues and even stand up paddling were all fun!




After another long day of paddling the ladies got gussied up in their best costume for The Werner Paddles Western Party! This year we had the most people dressing up and putting a lot of effort into their outfits.  From outlaws to Annie Oakley- as usual this was the party to be at!



Sunday after a long night on the dance floor, we were surprised as at how many  ladies showed up for the pastries and paddle tour!    Sunday was also a great opportunity for participants to hop into one last class and get a little more practice in before packing up for the long drive home.


We have been involved with many sea kayak symposiums around the great lakes and with all honesty this is by far the one that we look forward to every year.  How great is it to see participants so eager to learn, coaches so willing to give so much, and to be surrounded by laughter and smiles all weekend long……can’t wait until next year!  A great big thank you to all of those who promoted this event to ensure that 2014 LOL happened.  Please keep spreading the word as we will have our new updated 2015 class and tour schedule announced soon!


A big thank you goes out our Gold Level Sponsors who work so hard in helping to make our event successful!  Please consider your next purchase from one of these outstanding paddle sports leaders!











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LOL 2014 Evaluation

August 14th, 2014 Comments off

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Thursday Tours

August 4th, 2014 Comments off

We’ve had overwhelming interest in our Thursday tours this year. We have over half of the women coming to this year’s event coming for these early tours and we couldn’t be more excited.  The more paddle time the better as far as we’re concerned.  Interest was so high that we maxed out the number of participants we can support on these tours several weeks ago. For those of you that are taking a tour on Thursday, you need some basic information like where, when, and what.

Tours are meeting at 9AM on Thursday at our Ladies of the Lakes headquarters in the upstairs of Sydney’s Restaurant.  All of the tours have a bit of a drive to get there and we want you on the water as soon as possible so please have your boat loaded on your car and all of your gear ready to go.

Please be prepared for your tours with everything you need for a full day of paddling.  In addition to your boat and paddling equipment, you will need lunch, water and any personal gear you like to have when out paddling.   We would highly recommend bringing a camera as these tours are really scenic and we love seeing your pictures from the symposium.

Make sure you are dressed appropriately for the conditions.  Lake Superior is cold. Seriously.  Current surface water temperature in Munising is 56 degrees.  Even though the air temperature might be warm and pleasant, cold water and can be very serious. Please dress for immersion.  Dry suits are recommended, wetsuits are required.  Weather conditions on the the big lake are always changing.  Be prepared for sun, rain, wind and anything else you can think of.

The first step at our symposium, prior to any tour or classes, is signing in.  We will be set up in the upstairs of of Sydney’s Restaurant beginning Wednesday afternoon. If you come into town on Wednesday, we would highly recommend stopping in and taking care of this.  With 60 women in need of signing in before the tours go out Thursday morning, the earlier you sign in the better.  We will also have our Ladies of the Lake Paddle Shop set up with lots of paddling clothing and accessories so if you can pick up anything you’re missing for the weekend (and at a discount too!).

If you have any questions or concerns please give us a call at 906-482-2500.

8-24 Hannah Paddling toward Grand Portal

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Every Cowgirl Needs a Bandana

July 30th, 2014 Comments off

buffWe recently had a brainstorming session on what kind of gift we could give to the participants at this year’s symposium.  We wanted something unique, useful and something that fit our western theme.  We got to thinking about cowgirls, the epitome of the wild west. One of the prerequisites for being a cowgirl  is a horse.  So you’re all getting horses!  Just kidding. We couldn’t get everyone a horse, as much as we wanted to.  So we moved on.  What else do you always see cowgirls with? A hat… some spur… a bandana… Bingo! A Bandana! But we couldn’t do just any old bandana, it had to be better than that.

The latest advancement in bandana technology is the tubular bandana.  Endlessly functional, it can be wrapped, tied and folded into a myriad of useful head coverings.  Great for blocking the sun, the wind and the cold, it is perfect for paddlers.  So this is our gift to all of the women participating in this year’s symposium.  A limited edition, one time only print tubular bandana featuring the western artwork from our symposium posters.  Show off your cowgirl style on the water and look good while doing it.

We tried to get one of our female staffers to model the bandanas for us but they were all feeling shy so we got the cutest little future paddler we could find to show off our gift to you.  While she was modeling, her best friend got jealous of how good she looked in the bandana so we had to include her too.  We’re just a few weeks away from Munising and we couldn’t be more excited!


Future Lady of the Lake rocking the official 2014 bandana.


Future Lady of the Lake’s jealous best friend.

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This Year’s Lectures and Presentations

July 29th, 2014 Comments off

Education is a staple of Ladies of the Lake experience and we try to squeeze in as many opportunities to learn as we possibly can. For the past few years we have even squeezed a little learning into your daily lunch break. We call them Lunchbox Lectures. They’re an opportunity to get off the water, dry out, refuel and still pursue your quest of becoming a better paddler. A wide variety of topics get covered and we try to vary the presentations year to year. This year we are proud to offer two Luch Box Lectures.

On Friday instructor Renee Dufresne will give a presentation on the history of kayaking. Come learn about the origins of our sport in what is sure to be both an entertaining and informative lunchtime session.

On Saturday, you can take a break from the water and get some information about how you can become an ACA instructor from Lynn Dominguez. If you want to see Ladies of the Lake from the other side, as an instructor, this presentation will tell you how.


On top of all the educational opportunities we try to show you the fun side of kayaking as well. On Friday evening, after our game show, we have slide show presentations about all of the great things you can do in your boat. Trips, tours and expeditions go center stage as our guest speakers take you to some of the best paddle destinations in the world. This year, long time LOL supporter and coach Andrea Knepper will present about the amazing work she has been doing with Chicago Adventure Therapy. Chicago Adventure Therapy uses outdoor adventure sports like kayaking to help under-served youth in Chicago have a lasting positive impact on their communities and become healthy adults by teaching effective social skills, increasing participants’ sense of possibility, and fostering a sense of empowerment and personal responsibility. This will be an inspiring presentation and is surely not one to be missed.

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Will you be Werner Paddle’s Most Improved Paddler?

June 30th, 2014 Comments off


Ladies of the Lake is all about growing.  Growing friendships, growing the women’s paddling community, and of course growing your skills.  Every woman that comes to the symposium leaves a better, stronger paddler.  With classes, tours and social events it really is the perfect atmosphere to learn.  For the past seven years Werner Paddles has been a huge part of that atmosphere and this year won’t be any different.  Their incredible support, as well as their incredible paddles, have helped countless women reach their paddling goals.


Paddlers comes to LOL with a wide variety of goals. Although these goals differ for each person, they are all lofty in the mind and soul of the individual. This year we would like to reward the hard work put forth by our participants as they strive to reach these goals. Whether it is a better forward stroke, the first rescue, or simply exiting your kayak more safely. Over the course of the symposium your coaches will evaluate you as you work to achieve your goals. Each coach will make note of the paddler they feel has put forth exemplary effort in achieving the most improvement in their paddling skills. As the event nears a close, the thoughts and suggestions of all our coaches will be taken as we pick our Werner Paddles Most Improved Paddler. Not only is this a great honor, but it comes with a big bonus: a Custom Werner Paddle!


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The biggest LOL Ever!

June 2nd, 2014 Comments off

2007-3Back in January we announced that due to declining participation we were considering canceling this year’s event.  Without 100 paddlers we wouldn’t be able to continue organizing the symposium.  We set a June 1st deadline to reach this goal and left it up to the participants to see whether they wanted to see LOL continue.

So, here we are six months later. It’s the beginning of June and we are really excited to announce that we have made our goal.  We currently have over 100 women coming to Munising in August!  This not only means that we will be able to continue putting on this incredible event, but that this year’s symposium will most likely be the biggest Ladies of the Lake EVER!

Ladies of the Lake is great atmosphere because of the women who attend.  They make this one of the most fun paddling events out there.  The more women who come, the more fun it gets.  With this years event having the largest crowd, we can only assume that it will also be the funnest symposium we have ever had. The more the merrier, as they say. As more women sign up, the fun factor just keeps growing! It just snow balls and we are currently are currently picking up speed!

2012-2Just because we made our June 1st goal of 100 participants doesn’t mean we’re done with registration.   In fact, it means just the opposite! It’s shaping up to be our best year yet and it would be a shame if you missed it.  If you haven’t registered yet make sure you sign up, and tell a friend so you can share the fun.    We’ll be taking registrations right up until the event starts, but try not to wait too long to sign up. It makes it way easier on us to know how many ladies are coming.

As usual, if you have any questions give us a call at 906-482-2500.  We’re so excited for this years event!



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20 is the magic number!

May 12th, 2014 2 comments

We have twenty days remaining to reach our minimum of 100 paddlers at this year’s symposium.  By some wild and unlikely coincidence we also still need 20 participants to register.  Serendipity? We thought so. So we decided to put together a special deal to enhance this improbable numerical incident, as well as entice a few more ladies to sign up.

So here’s the deal.  For the next twenty days, any past or present LOL participants or instructors who refer a friend to register for the symposium will earn a $20 gift certificate to Down Wind Sports for both of you . That’s $20 for you for referring them, and $20 for them for signing up!  It’s our 20 for 20 deal!  All you have to do is have the new registrant email us at or call us at 906-482-2500 and let us know they were referred by you. It’s that simple.  If you refer two friends, you get $20 for each of them, so the more people you get to sign up the richer you can become! There’s no limit! Even if you can’t make it this year, if you get someone to sign up you’ll get a $20 gift certificate!

The 20 for 20 deal is just for those who register between today (May 12th) and June 1st, it can’t be applied to anyone who’s already registered. So if you have signed up and want to take advantage of this you’ll have to get a friend to come this summer.  We’ll give out the gift certificates at the symposium in August and mail them out to anyone who can’t make it after we get home from Munising. The deal will end on June 1st so make sure you tell your friends to sign up in the next 20 days.  Please let us know about all referrals via phone or email as soon as possible after registration.

So tell a friend, share the fun, and make some money!  As usual, if you have questions give us a call at 906.482.2500 or email us It’s the final countdown! 20 for 20!



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47 days Left!

April 14th, 2014 No comments

6070069645_fd9346cd2bThe snow and ice are melting and spring is coming quickly. That means paddle season is just around the corner!  Coming just as quickly is our June 1st deadline to get 100 participants registered for this years symposium.  We’re down to only 47 days. Just 1,135 hours!

If you recall, we announced earlier in the year that due to rising cost and dwindling participation we need 100 ladies to register for this years event. You can read about it HERE. We saw a huge outpouring of support and the registrations flooded in.  At this point we have about 80 women registered.  We only need 20 more people to sign up over the next seven weeks to keep this very special event alive.   If you haven’t signed up yet now is definitely the time.  Please don’t wait until the last minute. The sooner we reach 100 participants, the sooner we can get down to doing all the things that make LOL so wonderful. We have coaches and sponsors waiting with bated breath. We do still need the 20 more participants to make this a reality.  So please sign up if you haven’t, and if you have signed up already please invite a friend (it’s more fun that way).

That being said, we’re pretty confident that we’ll be seeing you all in Munising this August.  We do still have room for three more in the first ever Rough and Ready course. So if you want to take your paddling skills into some bigger water we can make sure you have all the skills you need.  For more information check out our write up HERE.

As far as we can tell, our online registration is up and running. That’s the easiest way to get signed up, just click the REGISTER link and follow along through the two step process.   We have had some issues with the website over the past few months, so if you run into any snags just give us a call and we can get you all taken care of over the phone.  We’re flexible.  Our number is (906) 482-2500.


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New for LOL 2014: Rough and Ready!

March 15th, 2014 1 comment

wavesIf your paddling aspirations include paddling in rough water, surfing waves, rock gardening and pushing your paddling skills to the next level, we’ve got the track for you! This year, we’re offering Rough and Ready:  LOL’s Pre-Gales Track, designed to increase your confidence and skills in bumpy conditions. Like all LOL courses, we’ll fine-tune the course 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, a rough-water symposium.  For two days eight paddlers will work closely with two coaches to hone their skills on rougher water.  This is for intermediate and advanced paddlers who want to get out when the weather is a little less friendly.

The Gales is a rough water paddle event and will be held in Munising on October 3-5. To sweeten the deal, if you take the Rough and Ready track at LOL, you’ll receive $75 off your registration for the Gales.

This track is limited to eight participants so sign up today to ensure your spot.  If you’ve already registered please give us a call (906-482-2500) or email us and we’ll change you’re schedule.  If you haven’t registered, what are you waiting for? Click the registration button on the top of the page.

If you have any questions just give us a call.

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