A few weeks ago, I had the great privilege to sit down with Dave for an hour or so, to discuss a passion of his; Kalama Kamp. I have spoken to his partner in the camps, Brody Welte about Kalama Kamp several times over the last few months, and got a pretty good perspective for what the Kamp’s are all about. Still, there is no replacing getting the info right from Dave himself.
With regards to what you will do at a Kalama Kamp, Dave says it it very dependent on the location and the conditions. You will certainly be doing plenty of Stand Up Paddling, but whether or not that means flatwater, downwinding, or Surfing will be dependent on what the day brings. Dave says they start out the day with an agenda, but it is not uncommon for each day to unfold differently than what he and the other organizers had planned. If there is wind one day, you go for a downwinder. If there are waves, you surf. At one recent camp, he even took the group body surfing, which he said for many of the campers, was the highlight of their trip. In other words, flexibility is the name of the game. Each camp is also different, as the days activities are planned around what the location has to offer.
In talking with people who have attended previous Kalama Kamps, a couple of themes developed.
1. They all learned tremendously.
Every one of them felt like they had taken a huge step forward with either paddling technique, surfing ability, or both. A few of them told me they saw an immediate improvement in their racing performance, due to things Dave had taught them during camp. In all cases, they saw measureable gains in areas such as technique, speed, balance, etc.
2. They all told me they had the time of their lives.
I realize that term gets thrown around a lot, but in this case, I believe these people were telling the truth. As a case in point, many of the “Kamper’s” return for a second or third Kalama Kamp, sometimes in the same year. Because Kalama Kamp’s are often held at exotic locations like Turks and Caicos, they are not what you would call a cheap trip. When I hear people are going back again and again there must be a reason. I believe having fun is the biggest motivator for their returns.
Rather than me continuing to tell you all about Kalama Kamp, I think it best to hear it right from Dave himself.
In doing the interviews for this story, I asked both Dave and Brody what they wanted to communicate to our readers, about Kalama Kamp. In both cases, they asked me to help them dispel some myths they hear about Kalama Kamp.
Kalama Kamp is really for only advanced paddlers looking to take their already considerable skills, to an elite level.
According to Dave himself, Kalama Kamp is for everybody. His Kamps have all had a variety of paddlers, at all levels. At a recent camp, one of the attendees came to the camp, without ever having Stand Up Paddled before. She had a great time, learned a lot, and had no problem fitting right in with the rest of the group.
Kalama Kamp is really just for Surfers, or people who have a strong surfing background.
If you don’t know how to surf, Dave will teach you. If you do know how to surf, Dave will make you better. Once again, all levels of ability are welcome. No matter where you are when you come to the camp, you will leave better than you were when you arrived.
Kalama Kamp is for people who are pretty affluent, or well off to some degree, due to the cost at some of the more exotic locations.
Dave told me he has people at all income levels attending the camps. In fact, it tends to be more heavily weighted towards the blue collar crowds than anything. If Costa Rica or Turks and Caicos are out of the budget for now, there are less expensive options coming up this May, in Florida. As Dave said, he wants to make Kalama Kamp accessible to everyone.
I have to be in really good shape physically to keep up with the rest of the group.
You don’t have to be an athlete to attend Kalama Kamp. Dave wants people to only go as far as their body will let them, and not an inch further. He said he would much rather someone quit when they feel they have hit their limit, than overdue it and be sidelined for the rest of the camp. It is up to you how much you do or don’t do.
Kalama Kamp is like a boot camp mentality to some degree, where Dave is really driving the troops hard physically.
Dave’s main goal for Kalama Kamp is to have fun. You will learn greatly at Kalama Kamp, but rest assured, having fun while you’re there is just as important to Dave.
So there you have it. By now hopefully you have a pretty good understanding of what Kalama Kamp is, and how it fits with your goals and abilities as a paddler. Hopefully in this article, we have also been able to eradicate some fears or misconceptions about what Kalama Kamp is and isn’t. I can tell you on a personal note, I had thought about going to Kalama Kamp, but even I was a little intimidated to go, based on my own misconceptions concerning one or two of the myths we discussed above. Now I know I would fit right in and have a blast. I will go to a Kalama Kamp within the next year. After doing these interviews with Brody and Dave, I am completely sold.
If you would like more information on Kalama Kamp, or would like to register, contact Brody at 727-902-4294 or firstname.lastname@example.org