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2024 Courses and Trips

The following section presents an overview of all the 2023 Cross Currents courses and trips. If you'd like to register for one or more courses/trips - or have questions about any of them -  just email us at  CrossCurrentsSeaKayaking@gmail.com.

Belize

March 1 – 10, 2024 (Fri – Sun) 

Location:  Lighthouse Caye and San Ignacio Belize + Tikal, Guatemala    

Instructors/Guides: Laurie Collins, Rick Wiebush

Cost: $2,135 + airfare

After arriving in Belize City, our outfitter will transport us by boat to our luxury Lighthouse Reef basecamp for five days of snorkeling, SUPs,  kayaking, kayaking sailing, swimming and fishing including a visit to the Blue Hole.  This is resort style rather than "hard core" paddling. The scenery is spectacular and the meals are fresh and local. 

 

Then we'll journey inland for three days of visiting Mayan ruins in Guatemala and exploring waterfalls and caves in the Belizean mountains.  There should also be time for people to choose other adventures like zip lining and river kayaking.  We'll be staying near San Ignacio,  a charming small town in Western Belize with a famous outdoor market and a chance to sample Belizean cuisine.

The $2,135 course cost includes your first night stay in Belize City, five days and four nights on beautiful Lighthouse Reef basecamp,  all meals, activities, transportation and guiding while on the Caye, four nights at a spectacular inland rental house, transportation during the three inland days, a visit to one of the largest Mayan ruins in Guatemala, and transportation to the airport for the return trip.  

Note: This trip is full but has a standby list

 

 

10,000 Islands Mini-Expedition

March 18-22, 2024 (Mon - Fri)

Location: Everglades City, FL (meeting place)

Instructors/Guides: Jeff Atkins, Rick Wiebush

Cost: $550 Note: Save 15% if you do this and the Sun Coast trip the following week

The 10,000 Islands section of Everglades National Park is a virtually untouched wilderness that seems to have been designed for exploration by sea kayak. So that's what we are going to do for five days and four nights, moving from camp site to camp site, expedition-style.  We'll be carrying all our own food, water, tents and camping supplies with us in our boats.  Expect to paddle about 10-12 nm each day, using the tides to give us a boost. We'll be keeping our eyes out for Brown (and maybe White) Pelicans, Roseate Spoonbills, dolphins, sea turtles and possibly a manatee or alligator.  We'll also be paying close attention to our nautical charts since that many islands so close together can seem like a maze!

Our camp sites are wide, sandy, pristine beaches that we want to keep that way, so Leave No Trace principles will apply.

Note: This trip is full but has a standby list

The Florida Sun Coast

March 22 - 29, 2024

Location: Dunedin, FL

Instructors/Guides: Rick Wiebush, Jeff Atkins

Cost: $895 + housing Note; Save 15% when doing both Florida trips

There is nothing like being in southwest Florida in 80-degree weather and endless sunshine, while everyone up north is freezing their bunderundes off.  Add a six-bedroom, three and a half bath estate as a base and endless paddling opportunities and you'll be set for a week. 

The paddling will include some places we've been on previous trips, as well as some new places. Figure an average of 10 nm/day.  We'll do a different paddle each day including Anclote Key with it's classic lighthouse, Honeymoon and Caladisi Islands, Ft DeSoto and Shell Key, and a new, challenging crossing to Egmont Key.  So most of it will be coastal stuff, with generally calm conditions, blue skies, white sandy beaches and warm weather - in March!

Note: This trip is full but has a standby list

Finding Your Way: Navigation Practicum

May 11 - 12, 2024 (Sat. - Sun.)

Location: Janes island State Park, Crisfield, MD

Instructor: Paula Hubbard

Cost: $195  + housing

Join us for a fun-filled weekend that will focus on refining and expanding your sea kayak navigation skills. You may have taken a one-day classroom navigation course or the multi-part online series, and now it’s time to apply that learning to the real world of sea kayaking. This set of weekend classes will cover just about everything you need to know for on-water navigation and give you repeated opportunities to practice new skills in real life.  Review how to read a nautical chart and, more importantly, practice comparing what you see on the chart to what you are looking at while you’re on the water. The classes - most of which will be on the water - will include understanding aids to navigation, using ranges, how to measure distance, the basics of the “rules of the road”, and how to safely cross busy boat channels. Learn how to use a chart and compass together to plot a course and then follow that course to a specific location.   We will also challenge you with games that will test and stretch your navigation skills. One will be a team challenge that will require your team to follow a series of clues, navigating from one place to another to reach the final goal.

Paula is an expert in sea kayak navigation and has helped teach the online series in addition to running  one-day classroom navigation course for several years. 

These classes will be held at Janes Island. We will have the use of the huge lodge there for indoor classes, meals and socializing.  Housing is up to you, but we have reserved 20 spots in Loop C for Finding Your Way participants.  To make a reservation, call 888.432.2267 and tell them you have a group code. That code is "kayak24". Then tell them which site you want. You can view the camp sites and other housing options in the state park (e.g., mini cabins) here: Camping and Cabins (maryland.gov)

Intensive Intermediate Skills Workshop

June 8 - 9, 2024 (Sat - Sun) 

Location:  Rocky Gorge Reservoir, Laurel, MD and Kent Island, MD

Instructors:  Denise Parisi,  Shelly Wiechelt

Cost: $225 

 

This is a two-day intensive skills development course that will focus on learning or refining a whole range of core skills including strokes and maneuvers, edging, bracing and rescues. It is designed for rising intermediate paddlers. We hope to get you on the road to paddling with grace and style.

The course will include refinement of all the basic strokes (forward, reverse, sweeps, draws, stern rudder) and rescues (e.g. T-rescue, paddle float) as well as a range of intermediate strokes (e.g., bow rudder, low brace turn) and rescues. We will place a major emphasis on edging to facilitate turns (or going straight!), bracing, and using the wind to your advantage. The course is geared toward developing ACA Level 2 (and some Level 3) personal skills proficiencies.

Introduction to Kayaking

June 1, 2024  (Sat.)  This course is repeated on July 6 and Aug 3

Instructors: Denise Parisi, Shelly Wiechelt

Location: Rocky Gorge Reservoir, Laurel, MD

Cost: $125

 

This course is designed for people who have just started out (or are about to). The whole point of it is to get you feeling comfortable and confident in your boat and to become aware of the safety issues associated with kayaking. And to have fun doing it!

 

We will intersperse discussions, skills practice, and short trips throughout the day. Rocky Gorge is both a very protected and very scenic waterway.  We’ll cover boat control skills including forward, reverse, sweep and draw strokes. There will be games and drills to help master the various movements. We’ll introduce you to the basic rescues and give you plenty of time to practice them. For those with a spray skirt, we can cover the procedures for a wet exit (getting out of the boat while upside down).

 

Note: you need to have your own boat for this course. We may be able to make one or two rental boats available at $45 for the day.

 

Paddle Smarter, Not Harder: Women’s Skills Workshop

Dates: June 29 - 30, 2024 (Sat - Sun)

Location: Sassafrass River, Chestertown, MD

Instructor: Paula Hubbard, Marilyn Cooper

Cost: $225  (+ housing, if needed)

 

This course is all about helping grow the women who have recently started in our sport and for those who may have been paddling for a while but have never had outstanding formal instruction. The women who did this course last year absolutely loved it! The class emphasizes the ways in which women can use proper technique, better balance, and a supportive learning environment to develop and enhance skill development. Learn how small women can keep up with the big boys, or even leave them in the dust.  Explore ways of using your body to facilitate assisted and self-rescues, and see how a lower center of gravity can be a huge advantage in some aspects of paddling.  This is all about paddling smarter, not harder.

 

The classes on both days will be on flat, calm water on the Sassafrass River.

 

On Saturday, the focus will be on strokes.  It will start with a review of the basics, and emphasize effective use of the body to get the maximum performance with minimum effort.  Don’t worry about being the slowest paddler in a group, we will spend a lot of time on the forward stroke making keeping up easier.  Then we will work on boat control with grace and finesse.  This will include standard sweep strokes, draw strokes, and blending strokes for efficient, elegant, and precise maneuvers.  We will finish with support strokes, bracing and sculling.  These strokes can increase your confidence in rougher water by giving you more stability.  While it sounds very serious, be prepared for fun, games and lots of laughs, no pressure.

 

Sunday will be all about Recovery, Reentry and Rescues. The focus is on different ways to perform self and assisted rescues.  The class will start with a review of the basics, then we will work on different aspects of a rescue starting with boat maneuvering, using your body to effectively perform an assisted rescue, climbing back into a kayak using a variety of techniques, plus a few more scenarios.  There will be more fun, more games and more laughs. 

 

There will be housing options. If people want to, we can rent a charming house in historic Chestertown. If you feel more comfortable getting a motel or renting your own Airbnb, that’s fine too. We will have some way of socializing on Saturday night. We can do a potluck in the back yard of the house, or at a local park, or go to a restaurant and sit outside.

Introduction to Kayaking

July 6, 2024  (Sat.)  This course also takes place on June 1 and Aug. 3

Instructor: Denise Parisi, Shelly Wiechelt

Location: Rocky Gorge Reservoir, Laurel, MD

Cost: $125

 

This is the second of three Intro courses. It is designed for people who have just started out (or are about to). The whole point of it is to get you feeling comfortable and confident in your boat and to become aware of the safety issues associated with kayaking. And to have fun doing it!

 

We will intersperse discussions, skills practice, and short trips throughout the day. Rocky Gorge is both a very protected and very scenic waterway.  We’ll cover boat control skills including forward, reverse, sweep and draw strokes. There will be games and drills to help master the various movements. We’ll introduce you to the basic rescues and give you plenty of time to practice them. For those with a spray skirt, we can cover the procedures for a wet exit (getting out of the boat while upside down).

 

Note: you need to have your own boat for this course. We may be able to make one or two rental boats available.

 

Greenland Skills with Mike Hamilton

July 13, 2024 (Sat.)

Location: Rocky Gorge Reservoir, Laurel, MD

Instructor: Mike Hamilton

Cost: $125

 

Learn, practice, and refine a whole range of Greenland paddling skills with a master: Mike Hamilton! Mike is an ACA L4 instructor, a rolling guru, and a master of all things Greenland.

 

Spend the day learning how to efficiently power, control, and maneuver your boat using Greenland techniques. There will be lots of practice drills and feedback. Find out how a Greenland paddle is different from – and similar to - a Euro paddle, and the pros and cons of each. In addition to basic (forward, reverse, sweep, draws) and advanced strokes and maneuvers (e.g., bow rudder, low brace turn), we will explore ways to prevent capsizes through effective bracing. We’ll focus on edging your kayak and extending your paddle to make your turns crisper and to counter the effects of wind. Then we’ll incorporate that into your basic forward and turning strokes. Note that his class does not include rolling instruction.

Surf Camps with Ginni Callahan!

July 25 - 26, 2024 (Surf Camp I); July 27 - 28, 2024 (Surf Camp II)

Instructors: Ginni Callahan, Ashley Brown

Location: Cape Charles, VA

Cost: $295 per session + housing  ($250 per session if doing both)

Ginni runs Sea Kayak Baja Mexico and her surf camps are legendary, both for their duration (six days), the level of personalized attention (about a 1:4 ratiio) and her teaching methods (including use of video and partner observation and feedback. Ginni is bringing that tradition to the East Coast for two surf camps this summer and will have Ashley Brown coaching with her.  Our hope is that some people will be able to treat this as one camp (i.e., do both sessions) to get the maximum benefit and to facilitate that the cost is reduced by $90 when doing both. The venue will be the outstanding surf off the south end of Smith Island (where the Kiptopeke surf classes are held). Participants should expect to be in the water about half the time and observing a buddy about half the time. This will vary based on the situation, but that’s a solid expectation to start with. Much learning is done on the beach between sessions, as that completes the “review” and “conclude/internalize” portions of the learning cycle. It also supports learners visually, and allows one to recharge mentally and physically between rounds with the waves.  On the first night, there will be a goal- and expectation-setting meeting at the rental house and the second night will include video review of the surf sessions.  This is not to be missed.  This is not for beginners. You need to have solid intermediate paddling skills and preferably some experience in surf. A roll is great, but not required. Some form of solid self-rescue is a good idea. 

 

We will be staying in a rental house in Cape Charles, about 10 minutes from the put in. The cost per night for housing is usually around $55 for a shared (two-person) room. The group can decide if it wants to do a group meal, go out to a local restaurant or both.

Introduction to Kayaking

Aug. 3, 2024   (Sat.)

Instructor: Denise Parisi, Shelly Wiechelt

Location:  Rocky Gorge Reservoir, Laurel, MD

Cost: $125

 

This is the third of three Intro courses for 2022. It is designed for people who have just started out (or are about to). The whole point of it is to get you feeling comfortable and confident in your boat and to become aware of the safety issues associated with kayaking. And to have fun doing it!

 

We will intersperse discussions, skills practice, and short trips throughout the day.  Rocky Gorge is both a very protected and very scenic waterway.  We’ll cover boat control skills including forward, reverse, sweep and draw strokes. There will be games and drills to help master the various movements. We’ll introduce you to the basic rescues and give you plenty of time to practice them. For those with a spray skirt, we can cover the procedures for a wet exit (getting out of the boat while upside down).

 

Note: you need to have your own boat for this course. We may be able to make one or two rental boats available.

 

Intensive Intermediate Skills Workshop

Dates: Aug. 10 - 11, 2024 (Sat -Sun)

Location:  Rocky Gorge Reservoir, Laurel, MD and Kent Island, MD

Instructors:  Denise Parisi, Shelly Wiechelt

Cost: $225

 

This is a repeat of the two-day intensive skills development course (see June 8 - 9) that will focus on learning or refining a whole range of core skills including strokes and maneuvers, edging, bracing and rescues. It is designed for rising intermediate paddlers. We hope to get you on the road to paddling with grace and style.

The course will include refinement of all the basic strokes (forward, reverse, sweeps, draws, stern rudder) and rescues (e.g. T-rescue, paddle float) as well as a range of intermediate strokes (e.g., bow rudder, low brace turn) and rescues. We will place a major emphasis on edging to facilitate turns (or going straight!), bracing, and using the wind to your advantage. There will be a LOT of drills, games, getting wet, and fun!

Risk Assessment and Incident Management

New Date:  Aug. 10, 2024 (Sat.)

Location: Chestertown, MD (Sassafras River)

Instructor: Paula Hubbard, Marilyn Cooper

Cost: $125

 

This course will introduce paddlers to the concept and practice of risk assessment for sea kayakers. It will also train participants in how to deal with situations in which – in spite of the assessed risks – things have gone very wrong.

 

The risk assessment portion of the course will present and discuss the factors that need to be taken into account by all paddlers at all times before getting on the water and what issues require constant monitoring once on the water, to avoid chaos and possible tragedy. Wind, weather, waves, current, the group’s skill level, available equipment, and other considerations will all be reviewed. In addition, Paula will present the formal risk assessment models used by the Tsunami Rangers (discussed in the November 2019 issue of Coastbusters) and by Body, Boat, Blade (discussed in the January 2020 issue of Coastbusters).

 

Sometimes, in spite of careful planning and risk assessment, bad stuff happens. The situations that arise – and responding appropriately to them – will form the main part of this course. During a journey on the water, various and multiple manufactured “incidents” will confront the group and will need to be dealt with by them. These may include relatively mild incidents like the paddler who wants to go off on her own, or a blown/lost hatch cover. They will also likely include more serious incidents like a capsized paddler who is unable to get back in his boat, a lost paddler, or a situation in which everyone in the group has capsized.

 

This course is on flat water, but it will challenge you both physically and mentally. It will also deepen your understanding of how to prevent “incidents” and how to respond safely and creatively to them when they do happen.

Surf Camps!

Weds - Thurs, (Sept. 18-19, 2024)

Instructors: Dale Williams, James Kesterson, Jeff Atkins, Ashley Brown

Location: Cape Charles, VA

Cost: $295 (+ housing)

These two-day, pre-symposium surf camps are geared to paddlers who want some intensive instruction to improve their surfing skills. There will be two tracks: advanced and intermediate. The venues will include Metompkin Inlet and/or Smith Inlet. There is an additional fee of $295 for this training and registration is separate from the symposium registration.  Group housing will be available. If you are interested, please contact Rick Wiebush (rwiebush@gmail.com; 410.788.1241).

Advanced Surfing Track

This course will be run by Dale Williams (ACA L5  ITE) and James Kesterson (ACA L5).  It is for people who have a lot of surf experience, a reliable roll in conditions, strong self-rescue skills, a strong forward stroke and plenty of stamina. You need a helmet. In addition to refining several aspects of surfing technique, both days will include an extensive (e.g., 1.5 hour) debrief session to reflect on what you’ve accomplished, where you want to go next, and any “incidents” that may have occurred. These debriefs will take place at one of the group houses after people have had a chance to shower and change. This course is limited to eight participants.

Intermediate Surfing Track

This course will be led by Jeff Atkins (ACA L4 IT). and Ashley Brown (ACA L5 and L2 IT) It is geared toward people who have paddled in surf multiple times, have taken at least one formal surf class, but have surfed primarily in a shore break. You should feel comfortable in 2 - 3 ft surf. A roll is a definite plus but not required. However, you should be adept at one or more self - rescues and totally competent with assisted rescues. The skills will include understanding the surf zone, identifying safe areas, the set-up and take-off, timing, power strokes, holding position on the wave, surf zone etiquette, and launching and landing, among others. There will be lots of drills to increase your confidence in a dynamic environment. You need a helmet. This course is limited to eight participants.

 

11th Annual Kiptopeke Sea Kayaking Symposium 

Sept 20 – 22, 2024 (Fri – Sun) 

Location: Cape Charles, VA

Instructors:  Dale Williams, Jeff Atkins, Ashley Brown, James Kesterson, Rick Wiebush,  Ken Fandetti, Brian Blankinship, Paula Hubbard, Kathryn Lapolla, Bev Coslett, Mike Cavanaugh, Laurie Collins

Cost: $535 (includes three days of classes + three nights lodging +Sat. dinner)

         $375 (if you are arranging your own housing or camping)

 

The Kiptopeke Symposium routinely is a fabulous event - people love it! There are several reasons for all the positive reviews including:

 

  • the range of courses, with everything from novice to advanced level courses; and the number of courses, with about 10 to choose from each day

 

  • the quality of the coaches, who are the best in the mid-Atlantic area and include some who are considered to be the best in the country

 

  • the mix of participants, who come from 10 -12 different states, some as far away as Tennessee, Texas, California, Florida and Canada!

 

  • the fact that the vast majority of participants stay together in the beautiful state park lodges, which helps create a wonderful sense of community

 

  • the venue itself, next to the Virginia barrier islands, and with immediate access to the calmer waters of the Chesapeake Bay and the rougher conditions that can be had in the Atlantic Ocean.

 

The full description of the 2023 courses and the registration form will be available around May 15.  See the "Symposium" tab above.

 

We will be offering the most popular courses from past years, plus some new ones. The range of courses will  provide great opportunities for paddlers of all skill levels. The courses include:

 

  • Beginning and Advanced Rolling

  • ACA L5 Skills

  • Greenland Skills

  • Intermediate skills

  • Life on the Edge and Open Water Skills

  • Intro to Surf; Advanced Surfing

  • Intro to Rougher Water

  • Basic and Advanced Rescues

  • Towing

  • Barrier Island touring trips

  • and more!

 

Also, don’t forget to check out the video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PA6ls-AsWl0

 

Housing

 

Most people will be staying in one of the five Kiptopeke State Park lodges that we’ve rented for this year. The lodges all have six bedrooms and three baths with a full kitchen and plenty of room to spread out and relax. The cost for a two-person lodge room is just $160 for all three nights (Thurs., Fri., Sat.)

 

There are several other housing options available for those who don’t want to be with a group. Kiptopeke State Park has a really nice campground and there are several motels in the area.

 

The Georgia Barrier Islands

Nov. 3 – 8 (Sun – Sat)

Location: Savannah, GA

Instructors/Guides: Kathryn Lapolla, Rick Wiebush

Cost: $695 (+ housing)

 

One word to describe the Georgia Barrier Islands: Spectacular! A couple of words to describe Kathryn Lapolla: she lives there and knows the area inside and out!

 

This week-long, rental house-based, trip will involve a wide range of venues and water conditions, ranging from surf and strong current to water so calm, everything is perfectly reflected in it. Places like Tybee Island and Jack’s Cut, Wassaw Island and “The Boneyard”, the Savannah River with Fort Scriven and an abandoned light house, and the incredible Ebenezer Creek with it’s flooded, 100-year-old magnificent trees.

 

There will be paddling options on most of the trips. We would like to use a “teach and trek” model on some of the days so that we are combining skill development with touring. On a couple of days there will be the option to surf for those who want to. Of course, on other days it will be pure touring, especially as we head out to some of the more remote barrier islands, riding the strong ebbing current out and the equally strong flood back to the put in. Those currents make longer mileage trips a piece of cake. Throughout all of this we will have the benefit of Kathryn’s wide-ranging and in-depth knowledge of all the trees, plants, history, and wildlife. She adds a whole other dimension to the paddling.

 

There are two options that we will work out with the participants. One is to take a day off to explore Savannah and some of the historical/cultural sited in the area (like the Gullah Geechee communities). The other is to set up an optional dayof sea kayak surfing instruction with the master, Dale Williams.

 

This trip is not to be missed. The 10 people who did it in 2023 still talk about it!

 

 

 

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