Joy, pure joy. The photo pretty much sums up what LOL is all about. Learning, laughing and friendship. It all started back in 2002, ironically by a male. Bill Thompson of Down Wind Sports was sitting in the pole barn at the Great Lakes Sea Kayak Symposium thinking of ideas of how to plan a paddle sports event that was different than all of the rest. And that is when he saw it, Paddler Magazine had just released their all Women’s Issue and the seed was planted. At the party, he pulled aside a few female coaches and told them “keep this quite but I think I’m going to plan an all women’s sea kayak symposium”, of course by the end of the evening everyone was coming up and stating how excited they were to hear about this new event!
In the early years we decided that it would be a traveling symposium and we visited many small unique paddling destinations around the Upper Peninsula. Finally, a few years back the symposium settled in Munising, the home of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, where we now have a permanent home.
We started as a sea kayak symposium where over the years ladies came to learn, develop friendship and even plan kayak expeditions. Now we have become a large family of close friends and the event has evolved to include all facets of paddle sports including stand up paddling and canoeing!
Down Wind Sports organizes this event each year because we believe that we are addressing a need in the paddle sports community that was not currently being met. Our idea is to provide a quality paddling experience promoting “women kayaking with women for women.”
During the Paddle Sports Festival there will be instructional courses, clinics on a variety of paddle sports related topics, interesting and inspiring slide shows, as well as opportunities to try out the latest and greatest paddling gear and clothing.
The highlight of the symposium of course is the now famous Saturday evening Werner Theme Party!
We invite you and your friends to participate in Ladies of the Lake and enjoy the incredible paddling the Upper Peninsula has to offer and in the process become part of our growing group of friends. From first time paddlers to seasoned veterans, all of us are going to have a great time!