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Washington Kayak Club
Fun and safe kayaking through trips, education, skill development, and conservation
Thomas O'Keefe


May 2018  Join Our Club
Check out our Facebook Page for additional news, trips, training, and events!

 From the Prez

By Mike Germani
Hope you are all enjoying the sunshine and taking full advantage of prime Washington kayaking season!

Congratulations to recent graduates of the WKC Basic Whitewater Course and to those who passed their ACA IDW/ICE Certifications! Thank you for the effort you put in to master a sport we are all passionate about.  And a special thank you to those who will go on to use their certifications to teach - and pass along the skills necessary to safely enjoy kayaking in Washington waters.

WKC founder Tom Steinburn (1924-2018) shared this passion for paddling and devoted much of his life to exploring new routes, making first trips along rivers and coastlines, then introducing others to the sport. As one of his many contributions, he worked hard to convince Washington State and other parks that the idea of dedicated access points along the shoreline was viable, and eventually Washington Water Trails Association was born. We sadly acknowledge his passing this month and are planning a club paddling trip in his honor.

As we are celebrating great history, make sure not to miss the 57th Annual WKC Salmon La Sac Whitewater Races and Weekend Gathering - this year June 1-3. Volunteers are needed.

And don't miss another great kayaking event, the Clackamus River Whitewater Festival - May 19-20.

Congratulations WKC Kayak Polo teams who just returned from a tournament in California where they finished first and second in the B division!

Thank you for your support of the Nisqually River Cleanup last month. Volunteer turnout was great! AND 2,080 pounds of trash was collected!

There are two more training opportunities coming-up with space left to fill:

- World-renowned swift-water rescue instructor Casey Garland will teach River Safety and Rescue Course - May 19-20 

- WKC's dynamic duo Rhonda & Chris will be teaching the annual WKC Basic Sea Kayaking Course at Deception Pass - June 1-3.

Finally, SAVE THE DATE: 5th Annual WKC Luau will be August 18!  This could be the best weekend of your life.

See you on the water!

 Featured Trip

WKC Salmon La Sac Whitewater, Slalom and Music Weekend - June 1 - 3

WHAT IS 57 YEARS OLD AND THE MOST FUN, EVER??  WKC's Annual Salmon La Sac Whitewater Races and Weekend Gathering!

Everyone is welcome; it’s not just for racers!

Slalom Race!! Kid’s Scavenger Hunt! Downriver Race! Music Jammin’ around the Campfire! Whitewater River Runs from class II to more! Great Hiking! Fun Camping! The downriver race is 4 miles long and Class II+. The sprint race will be just through the slalom course. You may participate in either or both!

When: June 1 - 3
Where: Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest Salmon la Sac campground - Near Roslyn, eastern WA
Contact: Jenefer Monroe

Event Details

Volunteers needed: Friday to hang the course and then on Saturday and Sunday for timing , judging, and scoring. No prior experience necessary. Contact Race Director, Jennie at:


 River Safety & Rescue with Casey Garland: May 19-20

Casey Garland will again present a course on river safety, rope utilization and rescue techniques. Team leadership and rescue planning will also be covered to achieve the best results in a rescue effort.

This class is great for a beginning whitewater kayaker or even a kayaker looking to tune up their rescue skills.

2-day class (Sat/Sun); Max 12 participants

5/19 (Sa) 9am - 5pm
5/20 (Su) 9am - 5pm

Lectures will be held at Mike Grijalva's house Saturday morning before heading to the river. River work will likely be on the Cedar River, Landsburg site.

Register Here

 WKC Basic Sea Kayaking Course: June 1-3

Join us for a weekend of FUN and ADVENTURE as you develop your techniques and skills on the water!

This course will provide beginners with a safe and fun introduction to the sport of sea kayaking. You will develop, refresh, and improve basic skills which are essential to paddling:

- Effective Paddling Skills
- Safety and Hazard Awareness
- Capsize Recovery Techniques
- Navigation, Tides and Currents
- Gear, Equipment and Clothing

Register Here

News and Events

Save the Date - August 18:  5th Annual WKC Luau!

DON'T MISS the 5th annual WKC Luau at Hobuck Beach - August 18!

Come enjoy a pig roast with a Caribbean flair. A tender slow cooked brisket is also on the menu. Pot luck, BYOB, and children welcomed. Please register so we can get an idea how many will be attending. Dress Hawaiian!

- Surf Zone Clinics with Hamp All for surf, whitewater, and SOT kayaks will teach techniques for edging, stroke proficiency, and techniques for reading moving water.

- Intro to Surf and Rock Gardens class with Deb Volturno will teach skills to maneuver a kayak through safety, play, transition, and hazard zones.

REGISTER EARLY for these clinics, as they fill every year!

 Congratulations Newly ACA Certified WKC Members!  

By Rhonda Schwab

Several members of WKC have just finished their IDW/ICE with the American Canoe Association and received L3 and L2 certifications!   

The ACA National Paddlesports Instruction Program has been acknowledged as the premier paddlesports education program throughout the United States and in over 30 countries. 

Through ACA training and teaching programs, participants improved personal skills and developed the ability to teach others the sport of kayaking safely:

Bill Porter L3
Jose Reyes L3
Nelson Stansbury L3
Kyle Thomas L3
Barry Walstead L3
Shirley Rogers L2


See More Images

 Congratulations 2018 Beginner Whitewater Course Graduates!

By Shanna Gachen

The WKC beginner whitewater was another huge success! This year we taught the course in April because a lot of the instructors and some helpers were floating the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon during March. Teaching in April has its challenges with the heavy rains in the northwest, but we persevered and didn’t have to reschedule any river days.

Read More

 WKC Bids Farewell to One of Its Founders, Tom Steinburn

By Kurt Reidinger

Tom was born near Seattle and spent his early years on a farm in what is now South Seattle. As a young man he worked as a riveter in the shipyards and joined the Army during WWII but did not serve overseas for health reasons.

After WWII, he worked for the USGS surveying Alaska's North Slope, floating down Arctic rivers, escorting geologists and their equipment in order to map the landscape. This work presaged his later kayaking career. He also took up mountain climbing in the postwar era and was skilled enough that he, Fritz Lippman, and Dave Collins successfully summited Denali (then McKinley), one of the more difficult and harrowing peaks in North America. They were the tenth expedition to climb Denali and years later he shared his experiences with an online narrative and slideshow: He took from this experience that while mountaineers had to carry their own equipment, for kayakers, the equipment carried them.

Read More

Tom Steinburn, 1924 - 2018 

 Clackamus River Whitewater Festival: May 19 - 20

The Upper Clackamas Whitewater Festival was first held in 1984 by an informal group of river lovers. It’s a weekend of fun, exciting, and safe whitewater activities. May 19th & 20th, 2018 marks the 35th anniversary of this great event on the Upper Clackamas River. The goal is to provide you with a place to learn, to challenge, to bond and simply spend a GREAT weekend with your fellow boaters. Please consider volunteering for the festival!

Event Details

 SSTIKS 2018: June 8-10

South Sound Traditional Inuit Kayaking Symposium (SSTIKS) is the Northwest’s premier event devoted to traditional kayaking skills and culture. SSTIKS is held in June every year in Twanoh State Park on the beautiful Hood Canal in Washington. SSTIKS is a family-friendly event featuring some of the best mentors in Greenland-style kayaking. SSTIKS is a volunteer-run event.

Registration is NOW open! 

Register Here

 Following Freya: Circumnavigation of North America

Last year Freya Hoffmeister began her legendary circumnavigation of North America in Seattle, kayaking north to Kodiak, then returning to Seattle and paddling south to Oregon. This month, she resumes her trip.  She plans to paddle south for three months to California before returning to Alaska and continuing through the Northwest Passage.  She will repeat south and north legs yearly, until she arrives in New York.

Follow her progress here:

Follow Freya

Bon Voyage, Freya!

Seattle & Portland Kayak Polo Teams Scored Big!

By Karl Guntheroth

The Seattle and Portland kayak polo teams just returned from a tournament in California April 6-8, where we finished first and second in the B division. That means we beat the Bay area's one B team. What is really impressive is that Seattle had seven players willing to make the trip (five play at a time). We also had two days of training camp where we all improved greatly.

Kayak polo in the Tukwilla pool is over for the year but we will have a few outdoor games this summer. We welcome new players from white water and sea kayaking, and have a few kayaks you can borrow. If you are interested, contact the Polo Chairman Chris.

2018 NW Whitewater Salom Cup Race Dates

The Northwest Whitewater Slalom Cup continues with the best whitewater slalom races west of the Rockies. Come out and compete or just learn some whitewater slalom moves and have some fun!

Upcoming Races:

June, 2,3 - WKC Salmon la Sac Slalom Races (downriver and slalom)
July 30-Aug. 5 - Canadian National Championships, Canoe Meadows, Kananaskis

Event Dates

 WKC San Juan Seven Challenge

We love circumnavigating islands and want to encourage more paddlers to join the fun, so we have launched the San Juan Seven Challenge. 
The seven islands selected for the San Juan Seven challenge are San Juan, Orcas, Lopez, Cypress, Guemes, Lummi, and Stuart

You can circumnavigate the islands in any order that you like and can take as much time as you need or want to circumnavigate each island. To qualify for badges you need to circumnavigate the island during a WKC trip that has been announced on the WKC website.

Upcoming WKC Trips:

Contact Steven Exe for more information.

San Juan Seven Challenge

 WKC Seven Rivers Challenge

WKC members who participate in club trips to the seven designated rivers will receive collective paddle/boat stickers designed by a whitewater kayaker and artist Zeus Rudner.
Challenge yourself to get all seven stickers! When a member completes all seven rivers, he/she will receive a finisher’s sticker. To make it easy to keep track, participants must register for the club trip online.

The designated rivers and in Seven Rivers challenge are: Nisqually, Nooksack, Sauk, Sol Duc, Stillaguamish,Wenatchee, and White Salmon
Upcoming WKC Trips:
May 25-28: Sol Duc Weekend
June 2: Wenatchee III
Check Events Calendar for more dates
If you have any questions or suggestions about the Seven Rivers Challenge program, contact:
Kanako Iwata-Eng


 Looking to Buy/Sell Used Paddling Gear?

Maybe kayaking isn't your sport.  Need to sell some gently used gear?  Looking to purchase some paddling treasure?  Check out the WKC Classifieds Forum to list your items or to purchase kayaking gear from fellow paddlers.  Easy to follow instructions for posting items included below:


Schedule for ACA and PNA (formerly BCU) Paddler Certifications

Thinking of taking your paddling skills to the next level?  Become ACA or PNA (formerly BCU) certified this season. Special awards signify specific paddling, safety and leadership skills at different levels and in various craft. These awards provide a way to track your own progress as a paddler, and give others a reliable indication of your preparedness for trips and further trainings. Improve your skills or become a certified coach and lead others on the water:
ACA Certification
Founded in 1880, The American Canoe Association (ACA) is a national nonprofit organization serving the broader paddling public by providing education related to all aspects of paddling.  River, coastal, and surf kayaking certifications offered.

PNA Certification
Paddlesports North America (PNA) was formed in 2013 to provide access to British Canoeing (formerly known as the British Canoe Union or BCU) paddler awards and coaching certifications in North America, including canoe, kayak and stand up paddleboard.

 Recent Trip Reports

 Check out the Trip Reports  tab to see more WKC kayaking adventures.  

 Nisqually River Clean-up - 2,080 lbs Trash was Collected: April 21

 By Greg Provenzano

I wanted to thank you for your support of the Nisqually River Cleanup on Saturday, April 21, 2018 and give you a quick recap of this Event. The river was at a great level, approximately 2180 cubic feet per second (cfs) at McKenna. The weather was fantastic, plenty of sunshine and no rain. More importantly, the volunteer turnout was great!  AND 2,080 pounds of trash was collected!

Read More

 Illinois River Self Support Trip

By Kanako Iwata-Eng


The Illinois River in Oregon had been on my bucket list for a few years. As this is a challenging Class 4 32-mile stretch, we were aiming for the optimal 1000-1500 CFS range and a nice warm weather. Bill Petty, Doug Nicholson, Bob Metzger and I chose April 20 as our launch date and headed to Grants Pass, OR the day before. Bill has run the river about 10 times, Doug has several times, Bob once about 20 years ago, and this was my first.

Read More

 Team Petty Adventure: Humptulips

 By Kanako Iwata-Eng

The Olympic Peninsula is known for its rain, but whenever I go to the Humptulips Narrows (Class 3), it is sunny, and my fourth visit to this river on November 18, 2017 was no exception. Captain Bill Petty, Bob Metzger from Olympia, and I launched around 12:30 p.m. under the bright sun.

Read More

 Team Petty Adventure: British Columbia 2017

 By Kanako Iwata-Eng

This is our fearless leader Bill Petty’s 40th year of paddling. He has been leading annual whitewater road trips to British Columbia almost every year for the past 28 years, and BC continues offering endless rivers he has never run. To paddle unknown rivers again this year, the Team headed to the northern capital of Prince George this time.

Read More

 Fall in the Wall for First Timers

By Shanna Gachen

Shout-out to one of our lifetime members, Jon Almquist, who never stops volunteering his time to help others adventure and experience our beautiful rivers. Whether it's helping out with the whitewater class, heading up skill builder trips right after class, leading adventure trips to the beautiful Olympic Peninsula or pushing any level paddler to their next level - he's always game!
Thanks Jon for all your guidance!

Read More
See more trips on the Washington Kayak Club Facebook Page!

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Copyright 2014 Washington Kayak Club

President: Mike Germani
Secretary: Bill Porter
Treasurer: Jackie Brown
Editor: Brenna McVety

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