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Hoosier Canoe & Kayak Club

Open Water Skills Practice Van Buren, MI

  • July 21, 2023
  • July 23, 2023
  • Van Buren State Park, Michigan

Lake Michigan Training Paddle – South Haven, Michigan

Dates:  July 20 – 23, 2023

Sponsors: Nate Strong & Carrol Anderson

Camping: Van Buren State Park, 23960 Ruggles Road, South Haven, MI 49090

* If you are interested in Camping for this weekend, you will need to make reservations soon aspossible, campsites fill up quickly 

Description:  Lake Michigan offers the opportunity to kayak on an inland sea where conditions like wind, waves and surf are common.  This is an opportunity for paddlers to get experiencepaddling on a large, open body of water and in (limited) conditions that may be common there. 

During paddles we will take advantage of opportunities for training and getting experience inpaddling in whatever conditions we find.  This may include launching and landing in smallwaves/surf, paddling in wind/waves and paddling in (limited) breaking surf.  If conditions areappropriate, we will also work on boat control, bracing in waves/surf and rough water rescues. 

We will limit paddles on Lake Michigan to conditions of 1-2 foot waves and winds up to 15-20knots.  Should conditions on Lake Michigan exceed our limits; paddles will be moved to theBlack River in South Haven, or the Paw Paw River or St. Joseph River in Benton Harbor.  Wemay also do some on land training in the evenings covering various topics related to paddlingand safety.

The goal of this trip is to primarily focus on training and skills development for HCKC Level 3+trips.  Participants should have some paddling experience and be comfortable in their kayaks. 

Paddlers should expect to spend at least an hour in their kayaks at a time and be able to keep upwith the group.  Spray skirts are required for paddling in surf, preferably neoprene, and helmetsare recommended.  This is a great opportunity for paddlers to advance their skills and confidencein rougher conditions and prepare themselves for more advanced kayaking trips.  The goal is totake advantage of safe conditions to learn in and maybe find some more advanced conditions to practice in.

We will not be launching from Van Buren State Park as the carry is significant.  Our primary launch site on Lake Michigan will likely be at South or North Beach in South Haven.  We alsohave options of launching at Deerlick Creek Park, a short drive North of Van Buren State Park,or Black River Park in South Haven, or on the St. Joseph River in Benton Harbor.

What to bring:  This is an open water paddle.  Sea kayaks, kayaks 14’ or longer with fore and aftbulkheads and sealed hatches.  PFD, spray skirt (neoprene preferred), safety equipment (pump),and helmets are recommended for paddling in surf.  Also, drinking water, snacks, lunch, sun screen for paddling trips.

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Questions contact Nate Strong 

Hoosier Canoe & Kayak Club

Background image provided by Karl Zemlin

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