Want to know what’s up in the world of whitewater, and pick up a few on-and off-water tips from the world’s top experts in the process? Head to the Deerfield River at the Zoar Outdoor Center in Charlemont, Mass., Oct. 1-4, for the 2009 Whitewater Symposium, where you can paddle with EJ, pick up international travel tips from Sam Drevo, polish your safety skills, and wash it all down with beer afterwards…PL will be there in full force.
The good news: trace the definition of symposium back and you’ll learn that it originally meant a drinking party. Over time it’s transitioned to an academic conference. The Whitewater Symposium sort of combines both. It’s a gathering of anyone who wants to see the sport of whitewater flourish. Leaders of the community hold sessions on everything from boat design to safety or instruction. In the evening paddlers do what they do second best: have a big time, swap stories, watch movies, and make new friends.
New this year is the PaddleFest, a one-day event on Saturday that brings the whitewater paddling community-at-large together with manufacturers, retailers, instructors and other professionals for on-water and classroom seminars. It starts with a free Rescue Rodeo and Skills Competition followed by access to the exhibiter’s space.
“Back in the day a few leaders of the whitewater community conjured up an idea to gather whitewater’s biggest advocates and have a few days where they work together to grow the sport,” says Symposium Marketing Coordinator Ben VanCamp. “Zoar latched onto the idea and hosted the first event in 2003 and it’s since ventured to the Southeast, out to Colorado, California, and returns to Zoar this fall.”
“The symposium seeks to advance the sport of whitewater by bringing together key players from all aspects of the whitewater spectrum,” says director Janet Cowie. “It is an opportunity for paddlers to exchange ideas about trends in equipment, instruction and technique, and provides an all-inclusive package of technique instruction, dryland seminars, adventure film presentations and roundtable discussions. It also offers the chance to update instructor credentials in several areas.”
While the autumn colors of the Berkshires makes it worth the trip alone, so does this year’s all-star line-up. Presenters include Eric Jackson, Kent Ford, Jimmy Blakeney, Mark Singleton, Bob Campbell, Anna Levesque and more.
For full event schedule, Click Here
Sample Presenter Bios
Wayne Dickert has been a part of the Nantahala Outdoor Center since he started paddling competitively in 1981. He began teaching paddling in summer camps in 1977 and at NOC in 1986. As an athlete, he also competed in the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games in Slalom C-2. Wayner has been the Director of NOC Instruction Programs since 2000 and enjoys working with this exciting group of professional instructors.
David Hughes is the founder and director of Huge Experiences and the New River Academy. David has led international trips all over the world, his most recent project is the development of a kayak community base in Pucon, Chile. Whether you are seeking to promote a new program or increase your current numbers you will enjoy attending David’s discussions on international trips and teen camps
In 1989, Bruce Lessels and his wife, Karen, founded Zoar Outdoor, an outdoor center on the Deerfield River in Massachusetts where the first Whitewater Symposium was held. He has written several articles and books on paddling including the Classic Northeastern Whitewater Guide and Paddling with Kids. He is an ACA Instructor Trainer Educator in Whitewater Kayak and Canoe and a former member of the US Whitewater C-1 team
Anna Levesque, Anna Levesque is a world-class kayaker who has a passion for inspiring and teaching women. Her experience as an accomplished international competitor, author, instructor and business owner has placed her as the leading expert in her field. Anna combines her international expertise in kayaking with her experience as a yoga instructor and student of meditation, to inspire women in confidently creating success and happiness in all aspects of their lives. Her company, Girls at Play, is based out of Asheville, NC.
Organizers would also like to thanks sponsors Jackson Kayak, NRS, Werner, IR, Shred Ready, AW, Kokatat, Snapdragon and the ACA for making this year’s event possible.
Info: www.wwsymposium.com; 800-532-7483,