L4 Skills Training Manitou Island Journey WMCKA Symposium


My association with WMCKA goes back a long ways. 15 Years or thereabouts. The event has a special place in the midwest for being the warm friendly place for beginners to learn how to paddle. As an extension of this effort of building skills with the West Michigan Coastal Kayakers’ Association, I will be running a Level 4 Skills training for WMCKA’s Annual Symposium on Memorial Day Weekend 2016.

The description of the course is as follows:

L4 Skills Training Manitou Island Journey

If you have always wanted to do some an expedition, or even just an overnight trip and put your skills to the test. WMCKA is offering a Level 4 Skills Training Event around the Manitou Islands.
This level four skill training is an amazing opportunity to develop your open water skills. We will be working on developing competence in open water conditions for boat control, rescues, towing, surfing, and navigation to create competent leaders on the Great Lakes and the sea.

We will be covering:

  • Efficient forward paddling into winds up to 15 knots
  • Efficient turning in wind and waves
  • Surfing in small surf 2-3 foot waves
  • Towing
  • Rescues in deep water (under 45 seconds)
  • Self-rescues in conditions
  • Risk Assessment
  • Leadership and Group Management
  • Navigation/Chart and Compass

We will be providing feedback and learning development opportunities for every paddler as an outcome .


Helmet, Tow belt, spare paddle, sea kayak with full rescue rigging and end toggles, two bulkheads and hatches required, PFD, camping gear and food (not provided).

Meet Friday Night Near Good Harbor Bay, meet and greet, plan trip based on conditions

The Journey will begin from Good Harbor Bay, rounding Pyramid Point, and then making the crossing weather dependent to North Manitou Island where we will make our base camp.

Journey to South Manitou Island to see the Francisco Morazan and the Valley of the Giants with a Return to North Manitou Island.

Journey Back to Good Harbor Bay and Debrief

This should not be the first time you have paddled a kayak. This trip is intended to provide a development opportunity for paddlers who have already developed a good set of fundamentals.
The coaches for the course will determine your eligibility and fitness through a screening and ensure you will have a great experience. This may include some questions about medical issues and fitness.

This is not a guided trip around the islands. This is a coaching and paddler development journey in a wilderness setting. The coaches will not be providing food, cooking, or guiding activities you must be prepared to
be self-sufficient. If you have questions about the gear needed, please contact Keith Wikle kjwikle@gmail.com 269.245.1526. This journey is highly dependent on having favorable weather conditions. The coaches for the journey
will make final determinations each day on conditions for students. This may require bail out plans such as taking the ferry, or not launching from the mainland at all based on the forecast.

What will be provided?
Waterproof Charts of the Islands for the purposes of planning the journey.
Coaching, Leadership, and Fun.

How do I sign up?
You may sign up for this course by registering on the [ insert WMCKA Symposium Registration Page] the cost for this journey is identical to the symposium’s cost without meals, as participants as mentioned previously
will be bringing their own food.

For vetting purposes please contact kjwikle@gmail.com 269.245.1526

To register for this event, please go to the link below. Cost is $120.