Kari-Tek Midwest Sea Kayak Symposium

Paddling out

The 2013 early May Bank Holiday – specifically 4th, 5th and 6th May – sees Tayvallich on Loch Sween in Mid Argyll host the Kari-Tek Midwest Sea Kayak Symposium – underlining the extent to which sea kayaking is fast becoming a frontline Argyll watersport.

MWSKS land based coaching

The event will bring together sixty sea kayakers, their families and friends, with ten qualified coaches [doing land and sea coaching, as the photograhs show], twenty or so willing support assistants, a fleet of over 30 demonstration sea kayaks, a village hall, a ceilidh band, a coffee shop, a pub, a campsite, B&Bs and a bank holiday weekend.

This is far from being easy to put together yet it is exactly what’s been happening in Argyll since May 2010.

MWSKS sea based coashing

Hatched from an unnamed, Mid-Argyll, embryo event in 2009, the Kari-Tek Midwest Sea Kayak Symposium now caters for 60 sea kayakers every early May bank holiday and 2013 will be its third birthday.

From early twenties to late sixties, established sea-kayakers will be returning to Argyll to add to their existing skills set.

New comers will arrive eager to experience one of the UK’s fastest growing leisure pursuits for the very first time.

The Symposium’s ethos is:

  • Small Group Coaching (a coach: paddler ratio of 1:6).
  • Delivered by British Canoe Union qualified coaches.

This practice has seen the event praised as ‘pitched perfect…immense fun’; and having ‘really fired our enthusiasm’.

MWSKS lunch in the sun

Alongside straight sea kayaking skills workshops – such as forward paddling, rolling, rescues, edging and turning – relaxed paddling trips into Loch Sween’s, Fairy Isles on one day can lead to more adventurous journeys the next day – like paddling out  from Carsaig Bay or going on exploratory marine biology paddles on Lihnne Mhuirich.

Coaching innovations include the use of a prototype paddling machine that allows paddlers to see themselves paddling via plasma, from several different viewpoints.

Workshops – structured around what to look for when test paddling a sea kayak – will make use of Kari-Tek’s extensive demonstration fleet, in an effort to help those new to paddle-sports make an informed choice  when they make the decision to purchase their first sea kayak.

MWSKS cocsh Adam Richards

Argyll sea kayak coaches, Colin McWilliams [above]and Gill Barnsley [below] of Oban Sea Kayak Guides, direct the symposium’s schedule and coaching team. But it’s Ayrshire based Geoff and Ann Turner of Kari-Tek, whose determination, hard work and commitment maintain an event bringing upwards of 120 people into a small Argyll village on a yearly basis.

MWSKS Coach Gill Barnsley

So – where has all of this been going on? You may ask.

Well, tucked between Loch a’ Bhealaich, on Loch Sween and Carsaig Bay, in the Sound of Jura … the idyllic Tayvallich has become home to this annual Symposium.

You can get more information on the 2013 event from the following sources:

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