Last week ended the long series that started in October as the Loreto Kayak Symposium on the Baja California peninsula in Mexico. The classes happening here are simple, yet of tremendous importance. Loreto is on the cusp of government sponsored mega-development on the scale of Cancun and Los Cabos. These kayaking events provide tools, inspiration, and voice for sustainability in development, from both ecological and economic standpoints.
Symposium festivities were enhanced by competition prizes donated by Kokatat, Werner, NRS, Seals and Cascade Designs. Appreciative winners of the solo kids’ race, the kids & parents race, an obstacle course, and a long distance race, took home top quality gear to inspire their continued paddling and camping experiences. Thanks to our sponsors!
At a weekend beach festival in October, university students offered short presentations on the beach. Abraham Levy, a Mexican who paddled the entire coastline of Mexico, gave a rousing presentation at the university. British Canoe Union courses carried on for the next week and a half, and brought participants from Venezuela, Canada, and Australia as well as Mexico. For logistical and economic reasons, a 21-day Expedition Challenge from Mulege to Loreto was sandwiched into the event. Paddlers hailed from Sweden, Australia, Georgia, California, and Washington state.
In two years of Loreto Kayak Symposium, years of prior classes crystallized into some real progress. In October 2010, three Mexicans became certified as BCU coaches—Ivette Granados, Santiago Berrueta , and Yuriria Hernandez (and 1 Canadian Leah Blok who works in Baja). Since then, one more Mexican, Oscar Manguy has become a Coach 1, Santiago has trained for Coach 2, and both Oscar and his wife Yuriria Hernandez have trained for their 4-star Sea Leadership awards. Santiago already has this leadership award, making him the first and so far only Mexican to hold this challenging certification. The series ended this week with a simple class of great significance: mentoring the first generation of British-certified Mexican coaches as they train the university interns who will likely become the future guides and owners. - Ginni Callahan