BCU 3 Star Course Available This Year

November 19th, 2014 Comments off

15323903782_cc093cd92c_zThis year we are happy to announce that we will be offering a BCU 3 Star course.  The course will held over two full days on Thursday and Friday.  It will be taught by featured coach Bonnie Perry and  will cost $150 in addition to the symposium registration. Space will be limited.

In Bonnie’s words:

“BCU 3 Star Award is an internationally recognized step in a paddler’s development. Achieving this award signifies that you have transitioned from a novice to an intermediate paddler. The BCU 3-Star training is designed to assist you in achieving that transition. As such it is an intermediate sea kayak course. This course does not start with the basics, but rather seeks to improve existing skills for experienced kayakers who are ready to move up to the next level. If you have been paddling for a while, or are planning a sea kayaking adventure, 3-Star training is an excellent way to refine skills and build confidence. At the 3-Star level, paddlers will show skill with a variety of strokes, maneuvers and rescues. Participants will train on efficient forward paddling, maneuvering on the move, and linking strokes into maneuvers. Basic understanding of tides and navigation are also covered in this course. I think the best trainings are fun. So I include games and scenarios as an essential part of the learning process. The training will take place over two days. We’ll be on the move as on a journey and will be off site for most of each day. Bring a packed lunch, a helmet, a tow belt and a smile! At the end the training Bonnie and Lyn will sit down with you and work out a plan as to what steps you may take to be at a point of passing the 3 star assessment.”

For more information, here is the BCU 3 Star syllabus http://paddlesportsnorthamerica.s3.amazonaws.com/downloads/bcu-3-star-sea-kayak-syllabi-v3-0-oct13.pdf

You will be able to sign up for this course during your registration.  If you have any questions please feel free to call us at (906) 482-2500. Stay tuned as registration will be opening soon!

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2015 Featured Coach Bonnie Perry

November 13th, 2014 Comments off

IMG_3547This year’s Featured Coach will be Bonnie Perry. Bonnie has been coming to LOL for many years and is always one of the highlights of our stellar coaching team. On top of teaching all weekend she gets up early on Sunday Morning to put on the always popular Blessing of the Boats.

Nothing makes Bonnie happier than coaching and paddling with people in ALL sorts of conditions. She has had the opportunity to paddle and teach in the Midwest, Maine, Canada, Baja, Scotland, England and Wales. Last year she took students to paddle in Scotland, next year it will be Wales.

In the BCU, Bonnie is the fourth woman in North America to be awarded the 5 Star Leader on the Sea. She’s also a Level 3 Sea Coach, a 3 star assessor, and 3 star open boater. In the UKCC she is one of three people in the US with the Level 3 Discipline Specific Sea Kayak Training. In the ACA, Bonnie is a Level 4 Open Water Instructor Trainer and in Paddle Canada she’s a Level 2 Instructor. Bonnie would also like you to know that when she was a Girl Scout she earned the Housekeeping, Sewing and Camping merit badges ! :) When Bonnie is not on the water she is the Rector/Senior Pastor of All Saints’ Episcopal Church www.allsaintschicago.org

At this year’s symposium Bonnie will be offering a special 2 day BCU Three Star course on Thursday and Friday.  Stay tuned over the next week for more information on this as well as other announcements and the opening of the registration for the 2015 Ladies of the Lake!

Bonnie Perry


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Wine and Cheese Welcome!

November 12th, 2014 Comments off

Every year at Ladies of the Lake we kick off the symposium with welcome event on Thursday night.  Typically this has just been a low key chance for us to give out the latest information and you to catch up with friends you may not have seen since last summer. In 2015 we would like expand on this by throwing a little food and drink into the mix.  We’ll provide the snacks and libations and you bring that winning LOL charm that we’ve come to love so much.  Of course we will still be doing all of our announcements  and we’ll have the store set up so you can check out the latest and greatest in paddling gear and get all of the things you may need for a weekend full of classes and fun. This will be a great chance to meet the instructors and share some fun paddling stories as well as go over your schedule for the weekend and maybe make a few friends.

Stay tuned for more announcements about the 2015 Ladies of the Lake.  Class Schedule will be posted soon and registration will open shortly after!


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Calling All Coaches!

November 11th, 2014 Comments off

instruction2Last year we saw a huge surge in support for Ladies of the Lake.  Our attendance jumped from around 70 to near 120!  It was amazing to see so many female paddlers in one place; all learning together and having a great time.  To see our community come together to save a symposium that was on the verge of collapse was definitely inspiring.

But with huge growth came some challenges.  We rely heavily on the best group of female instructors in the midwest and they always do a fantastic job.  It’s the coaches that make LOL such a great event. Last year we stretched them pretty thin.  There were more students and the about the same number of coaches so they had to work considerably harder.  They did all we asked them to and more and we couldn’t be more grateful.

Registration for the 2015 Ladies of the Lake symposium is looming and we are expecting to have a similar turn out to last year.  We’re hoping to expand our coaching staff in order to offer more and better educational opportunities to our participants. This means one thing: WE NEED MORE COACHES!  And for that we could use your help.  If you know a female kayak instructor who might be interested in joining our impressive cast please pass this along.

We’ve started a coaches registry to make it easier to express your interest in coaching.  If you would like to join us in teaching the most enthusiastic and fun group of female paddlers around please take a moment to fill out the form below.  When we receive the your form, we will review it and get in touch with you with more information about the event.  Again, please pass this along to anyone you know who may be interested.

You can also find the Coach’s Registration Form under the Coaches button above or at http://downwindsports.com/lol/coaches/become-a-coach/. If you have any questions about the event please give us a call at 906.482.2500.

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Big News! LOL 2015 presents GREASE!

November 6th, 2014 Comments off


Dust off your poodle skirts and get ready for some summer love because this year’s LOL theme will be taking us back to the 1950′s. Grease is the word! Start getting your costume ready now for our annual Werner Paddles theme party. It may be hard to top last year’s Wild West party but we’re certain that you’ll put on your leather jacket, slick back your hair and show us why LOL is the most fun we have all summer!

Stay tuned over the next week as we’ll have lots of info about next summer’s symposium!

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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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