We made our way to Pacific City, Oregon to Alder Creek Kayak & Canoe’s 5th Annual Lumpy Waters Symposium on Thursday, October 17. Lumpy is a three day event offering kayak instruction aimed at advanced beginners, early intermediates, and advanced level paddlers looking to improve their ocean paddling skills on the beautiful Oregon Coast.
The world’s top coaches come to Lumpy from all over the world making it the premiere opportunity for ocean paddling instruction in the U.S. For a complete list of coaches, click HERE. We set up base camp on Thursday evening before the students arrived, unloading mountains of food, beer, and firewood. Although classes take place all up and down the coast, the Cape Kiwanda RV Resort in Pacific City is where it begins and ends each day.
We caught up with our fellow coaches and made a few new friends at the Pelican Pub that evening as the world of ocean paddling descended on the tiny little coastal town. One of the barmaids seemed puzzled and flustered by the large gathering on a week night in the off season. I overheard someone tell her, “You know you’re about to be over run by sea kayakers here pretty soon, right?” It was true. By Friday morning Pacific City would transform from a sleepy little board surfer town to the sea kayak center of the universe. Students come from all over the U.S., Canada, and abroad to take advantage of the high level of instruction offered in such a majestic setting.
Friday morning I woke before dawn and hit the water at Netarts Bay, fishing for Dungeness crab to cook up for the crowd during the evening festivities. A few coaches hit the water at sunrise to take advantage of the mellow surf conditions and a chance for free play before classes began. Coaches and students gathered at noon for the official kick off to the symposium. Conditions couldn’t have been more ideal: High temps near 70F. Winds less than 10kts, West swell 1-3ft at 12-15 seconds building to 6-9ft at 18 seconds for Coach Play Day on Monday following the symposium.
After the noon meeting people split into their various classes. Chris taught short boat surfing with Sean Morley to an eager group of students.
Crabbing proved futile. Despite fishing all day, only two keepers managed their way to the boiling pot, which made for a nice lunch on the beach for me but no crab feast for the group festivities that evening at base camp. Unfortunately crabbing has been slow this year compared to most, and the epic crab boils of the last several Lumpys were not to be this year.
After classes everyone returned to camp for dinner, drinks, and socializing before Rowan Gloag and Marty Perry of The Hurricane Riders and White Sea Magazine premiered a short video.
Saturday morning classes began earlier, with students having the option of half day and full day instruction. Conditions were perfect. As predicted, sea kayakers dominated the coastline.