hilltop log lodge

Critical Update:  Oscar Chalupsky, 12x Molokai World Surfski Champion, will be joining us for the full three days of Surfski Immersion this year.   Oscar has coached paddlers all over the world and is widely regarded as the best big ocean paddler of all time.   He is also a consummate student of technique and brings unprecedented passion to coaching new paddlers.    The core agenda will remain as planned and the four coaches will all be working along with Oscar providing a high coach to student ratio

It is hard to believe we are already approaching the 5th Annual TC SURFSKI Immersion Vacation. The first weekend in June has become one of the best weekends of the year and much anticipated kick-off to the paddling season

I’m confident I speak for all paddlers who have attended over the past 4 years when I say that while the immersion will accelerate your paddling substantially, the true memories you’ll take away are around the camaraderie of hanging out with an awesome group of people who share your passion. The lodge where we stay, the waters we paddle, the instruction we absorb, and the food we eat all combine synergistically to make this an unforgettable weekend.

In the 5th year, we plan to stick largely with the same core agenda, but take it up another notch leveraging the feedback and learning we’ve had from the past few years.

Whats New

Diet and dry land training have been big topics of discussion the last couple of years during the “unscheduled” times while hanging out at the lodge. This year, I’ve invited my trainer and local strength and conditioning coach extraordinaire Ian Cardenas from North Bay Fit, to come speak to us. Ian will discuss ways to increase padding specific flexibility, explosive strength, and strength endurance. I’ve never met anyone more creative with more tools up his sleeve than Ian. This should be a really fun session aimed to give you lots of specific tools and techniques to work on off the water.

Additionally we will plan a session on diet and supplements to improve performance. This overview will not take any one specific agenda (i.e. paleo, vegan, ketosis/low carb, etc) and we are not selling any supplements whatsoever, rather this is intended just to to cover the tip of the iceberg in the latest research around diet and nutrition, with a specific focus on the tools and tips you can use to discover what is the right next experiment for YOU! As an example, we’ll have a glucose and ketone meter on hand, we’ll talk about websites that offer truly neutral vitamin/mineral/supplement research, we’ll get into the pros/cons of Ketosis, balancing performance with longevity, and much, much more.

Thursday Group Paddle Followed by Casual Dinner at the Lodge

We will kick-off the immersion, as we have every year with a casual group paddle early Thursday evening on West Grand Traverse Bay right in front of the Lodge. Following the group paddle we’ll have a casual group dinner of salad and pizza at the lodge.

Friday AM we will focus on forward stroke technique. This year we will switch venues and plan to use North Lake Leelanau as our venue (about 20 minutes from the Lodge). We will break for lunch in Leland (sandwiches provided from the Cheese Shanty), and then in the afternoon we will focus on safety drills, rescue techniques and some fun group and solo competitions to put them all to the test.

My reason for using North Lake Leelanau is that it will allow us to be just two minutes from Lake Michigan. If there are going to be waves for surfing, the best odds are by far the beaches in Leland. Depending on the wind and the group, I want to be prepared to split the group and allow the more experienced paddlers to get out for some surf coaching. We’ll plan to wrap up Leland by around 4:00 or 5:00 and head back to the lodge. We will not plan a dinner Friday night in order to allow everyone to explore the area and have dinner where they choose.

In the past couple of years, there has been a short race on Saturday morning. I don’t think that race will happen this year, so I’m going to plan to do the strength and conditioning and diet talks on Saturday morning. Saturday afternoon we’ll plan for downwind instruction. If the wind delivers we’ll use Lake Michigan and setup a downwind paddle for the intermediate and experienced paddlers. For the beginners, we’ll plan to just do out and backs off the beach. If we can’t find waves, we’ll organize a ski boat on North Lake Leelanau to surf behind.

We will return to the lodge on Saturday early evening where the coaches will review surfski videos to demonstrate both forward stroke and downwind skills, as well as talk boat setup, gear, etc..

Last year we had a very enjoyable potluck style grand finale dinner at the lodge on Saturday, which was definitely a highlight for many. We will plan to do that again this year. It is really a great opportunity to enjoy the lodge, socialize, and relax.

Those not staying at the lodge are invited to all of the planned events including the Thursday casual dinner, Saturday video analysis and beers, and the grande finale dinner.

What to Bring:

  • Pizza will be provided Thursday night, and lunch will be provided Friday. Beyond that, please plan to bring your own food and snacks. Both homes are fully decked out with gourmet kitchens and everything you could possibly need to prepare meals
  • We have boats/paddles available for rent if you can’t bring your own, plus a special offer for anyone planning to race the M22 Challenge
  • The water is still cold this time of year. I suggest a 3/2 wetsuit or equivalent neoprene in order to stay warm during the safety drills and downwind paddling.
  • On Friday I suggest packing dry clothes to change into at lunch, additionally for those who want some dry land adventure and to see a bit more of the area, there are some 1-2 mile hike right around Leland that you might want to check out after we finish up on Friday afternoon.

Detailed Pricing for 2017

Note:  All Instructional Rates have been reduced for 2017!

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