Thursday, June 08, 2006

New and Renewed Paddling Friendships BIKs Kayaking Symposium

I spent last weekend at Lamar Hudgens's Barrier Island Kayaks (BIK) 2006 Southern Outer Banks Sea Kayaking Symposium, in Swansboro N.C. This has become an annual event at Lamar’s, and it’s been getting better and better every year. A great example of southern style and hospitality, Lamar keeps it intimate, casual, and informal. There is always something for everyone. Photo of Lamar and me.

This years big name was again Nigel Dennis from the UK, while other well known coaches came from as far north as Maine, down the eastern seaboard, and south from Florida. A special treat was Russel Farrow's music video of his trip to Labrador last year, and Nigel's slide show of his South Georgia Expedition last December. In all there were about 40 students and coaches.

Mark Schoon from Carpe Diem Kayaking Company in Maine talking to his 3* class. Congratulations Kristen, you go girl.

Tom Nickels owner of Ocean Air Sea Kayak, Folly Beach SC, leading the 4* class out to the "zipper" in Bougue Inlet

Aside from the instruction and experience participants gain (that’s a given), this event is perfect for making new and renewing old paddling friendships, discussing paddling destinations and trips (dreamed, and realized), and enjoying the excitement and passion we each feel for the sport. Each evening afforded great opportunity to meet and mingle over cold beers and great food, (Lamar's wife has the best cookouts).

The Boys, Thomas, DrJohn, Bill, and Kevin, regulars at Lamar's. Bill and Kevin are now coaches. Bill has also started a new company "Lumpy Paddles", custom making Greenland Paddles (if interested, I'll get you in touch with him).

So many interesting people. There's always at least one person you seem to connect with at these events. Well this year for me, it was three.

  1. Within minutes of meeting and talking to Rick Wiebush, I sensed a common interest in kayak tripping. It wasn't long before he had me thinking quite seriously about planning a future kayak trip to Baja (a change from my usual cold water trips, ie Maine, Newfoundland, and Michigan). A Google search found a trip report written by Rick about one of his previous Baja trips, Isla Espiritu Santo. Hmmm, then I found another of his trip reports of paddling East Greenland.
  2. Wendy Wicke's love and excitement of life and paddling was so much fun and very contagious (oh, to be 20 years younger). A paddler, environmentalist, and paramedic, looking towards building a new future filled with paddling and teaching paramedics.
  3. Tom Nickels, owner of Ocean Air Sea Kayak at Folly Beach SC. I'd met Tom last year at Lamar's. He is a skilled instructor with an obvious passion for the sport and in working with students. He exhibits a wonderful calmness and patience on the water, in the surf, and in his teaching.

I so enjoyed visiting and paddling with these paddlers. Hopefully I'll get to paddle with them again. Hey, maybe they'd like to go to Baja with me.

Be sure to check out Derrick Mayoleth's blog at for a great article on this Symposium written by Thomas Duncan, new BCU 4* paddler.

My favorite rainbow.

A great sunset, looking down the ICW in Swansboro.


Anonymous said...

That was so much FUN this year!


Anonymous said...

It was so wonderful to meet you at BIK BCU 2006! I had a great time paddling with you. I am so jazzed about the event that I feel sick when I can't get on the water every day. Hmmmm.... can I call in sick every day to go paddle?

I so look forward to getting together with you again sometime. I will be at SKG in October; hope to see you there. If not, Charleston is a great paddling destination and you are always welcome here!

All my best,