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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Special Canoecopia Deal

March 7th, 2014 No comments

This weekend we’ll be down in Madison, WI for the annual Canoecopia Paddle Expo.  If you’ve never been to this event before you should definitely take a minute and check it out.  Between the vendors and the presentations it is a pretty cool weekend.

We’ll be there signing up women for this summer’s symposium so if you are in Madison stop by our table in the lobby. We’ll have special pricing for ladies who register at the event.

If your not coming to Canoecopia we don’t want you to feel left out.  We are offering a special deal for you as well.  If you register this weekend you can save $50.  The deal is only available this weekend so make sure you sign up By Sunday Night.

To take advantage of this deal just use the coupon “canoecopiaonline”  when you check out.  This will discount your registration $50! The deal ends when Canoecopia ends so make sure you take advantage of this by Sunday night.


We still need about 45 paddlers to reach our 100 participant minimum.  This will be your last chance to get a discount on registration, so if your on the fence about attending this years symposium now is the time to sign up. Registrations are pouring and we’re confident that in the next three months we’ll meet our goal so tell your friends and save some money.

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LOL is heading to Munising!

January 24th, 2014 No comments


This year we’ll be holding our 11th annual Ladies of the Lake Sea Kayak Symposium in beautiful Munising, MI.  The dates will be  August 15-17th.

Located on the southern end of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Munsing offers incredible scenery and a well protected harbor for classes.   With Grand Island National Recreation Area sitting just offshore, this may just be the perfect place to paddle.

Headquarters will be set up upstairs in Sydney’s restaurant.  This is where you will go to pick up your registration materials, check out and return rental and demo equipment, it’s where the speaker presentations will be held, and is a great place to grab a bite to eat.  Their staff treats us like family so please stop in and patronize and support this business.

Early registration this year will end Feb 20th, so make sure you sign up early to save yourself some money.  This year we need 100 participants to register in order for us to hold the symposium.  If you missed  our post about it last week, please check out

Registration is all online this year so make sure you sign up at

Stay Tuned for more info in the coming weeks. If you have any questions give us a call at 906-482-2500.

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Really Important News for LOL 2014

January 18th, 2014 6 comments



For the past ten years we’ve been amazed by the love and support we’ve had for Ladies of the Lake. We’ve made countless new friends and watched the growth of so many paddlers.  It’s been a great decade for us and we really hope you’ve enjoyed it too.

Unfortunately, dwindling participation and rising costs are putting a tremendous strain on this symposium. Every year it gets harder and harder keep above water.   After weeks of heartfelt deliberation, we came to the conclusion that there are really only two ways to meet the financial needs of the symposium: increased cost or increased participation.

Raising the entry cost seems unfair to you.  We understand that sea kayaking can be an expensive sport and we want to do our best not to make it excessive. Keeping the cost of the symposium as low as possible has always been a priority for us. Instruction is important but it shouldn’t break the bank.

That leaves us with increasing participation. Having more people helps us spread out the cost without decreasing any of the great events and instruction you’ve come to expect. Plus, having more people improves the quality of the socials and makes more fun for everyone.

So here’s the big news. For Ladies of the Lake 2014 we have to have 100 participants to hold the event.   If we can’t get 100 women to sign up we are going to be forced to cancel.  If you love this event as much as we do please help us out. Sign up. Tell your friends to sign up. Tell strangers to sign up. Share the event on Facebook, twitter, your website, or any other outlets you may have.  We really want to keep this symposium going.  If there was ever a year to sign up, this is it. 

We’ve set a deadline of June 1st to make it to 100 participants.  Hopefully this will give you plenty of time and this will be no problem at all.

We don’t see it happening, but if disaster strikes and we don’t reach 100 participants we will work with you to make the best of it. If you have already registered, we will either offer you a full refund or transfer your entry to our Great Lakes Sea Kayak Symposium.

Registration is all online this year so check out to get signed up.

OK, so that’s the REALY important news.  Now for some regular important news.  LOL 2014 is coming to Munising Michigan on August 14-17!  And we’re going Western! But we’ll have more info on that in the coming days.  So dust off your cowboy boots,  sign up, and tell your friends!

If you have any questions please feel free to give us a call at 906-482-2500.

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LOL 2013 Recap!

August 28th, 2013 No comments

This past month Down Wind Sports hosted the 10th annual Ladies Of The Lake Sea Kayak Symposium on the gorgeous Drummond Island.  Drummond Island is an island located in the warm waters of Lake Huron in eastern Upper Peninsula.  The island is comprised of 87,000 acres, 150 miles of rugged scenic shoreline, 133 square miles of forested landscape, and 34 inland lakes. 

Access to Drummond Island has always been by boat, be it an ancient canoe or the modern ferry, or any of a host of boat possibilities utilized over the years…..this weekend the ferry to the island was loaded with kayaks making their way to our home base the Drummond Island Resort.

This annual gathering of female paddlers was 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.” This is also a unique symposium in that it is a “traveling” symposium.  We pick a new location in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula each year that offers diverse paddling opportunities and somewhere new to explore.

Our headquarters for the long weekend was the Drummond Island Resort, built by the former owner of the Detroit Tigers and Domino’s Pizza. The Brooder House ( so named by Tom Monaghan of Domino’s Pizza to help his executives visualize a chicken coop as the place where new ideas are hatched) is where our retail location was set up and all off water activities took place.


On Thursday August 15th the symposium kicked off with Bonnie Perry’s BCU 3 Star training program where 8 eager participants hit the warm waters of Lake Huron to gain the  necessary skills to assess for the BCU 3-star award.  Participants were greeted with beautiful sunny skies, calm water and the opportunity to learn from one of the Midwest’s top coaches!

The Brooder House was transformed into a paddle sports market place with Down Wind Sports displaying the latest boats, kayaking gear, Silverwaves Jewelry 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.  The symposium drew participants from as far away as California, Georgia, Kentucky, 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 coaches returned to this event through our Gold Level sponsors- without these sponsors and these talented ladies our event would not have been the same!

Marsha Henson- Werner Paddles

Ginni Callahan- Werner Paddles

Shawna Franklin- Kokatat

Cindy Scherrer- Confluence Water Sports

Two trips also departed the resort for the day to explore Potagannissing Bay and the many different islands in it.  Perfect weather and calm conditions greeted paddlers who enjoyed exploring the diverse shoreline.  During the evening the official symposium welcome greeted over 30 1st time participants to our symposium!


On Friday participants were greeted with another spectacular day of sunshine and warm temperatures!  From forward strokes to rescues participants learned new and exciting techniques to help improve their paddling.  After the morning sessions the ladies could participate in a Lunch Box Lecture and learn while they ate!


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 participating in The Family Feud! (Richard Dawson edition of course) Lots of swag was given out to our lucky contestants and many hilarious moments were provided by “Richard”.

After settling down from the game show participants were treated to a presentation by Ginni Callahan.  From Baja to the south seas, Ginni presented amazing photos which showed just how adventurous this woman is.  Great job Ginni!


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 and rescues were all fun…..but the one with the most laughs was the Stand Up Paddling class!

Friday and Saturday saw sessions of boat demos.  Many participants used this great opportunity provided by the symposium to test paddle the latest boats from all of the leading manufacturers. We are proud to say that this allowed some people to find the perfect boat for them, finishing up their time with a shiny new kayak and a smile from ear to ear.

After another long day of paddling the ladies got dressed in their best costume for The Werner Paddles PirateParty! This year we had the most people dressing up and putting a lot of effort into their outfits.  From pirates to parrots, Peter Pan to a whole ship of signing pirates, a great time was had by all!


Sunday after a long night on the dance floor, we were surprised as 18 ladies showed up for the sunrise tour!  Afterwards Bonnie Perry gave a moving talk during her annual Blessing of the Boats.  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!  More photos of the 2013 LOL can be found here!

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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