Pine Barrens Functional Freestyle Canoeing Workshop

Tim Burris

October 12-14, 2018
Camp Ockanickon, Medford, New Jersey

Fall in love with canoeing.

The 2018 Pine Barrens Workshop offers Functional Freestyle to canoeists of all levels, whether they are solo or tandem. The purpose of this workshop is to introduce some techniques and maneuvers that will increase your canoeing enjoyment.

Participants learn and practice basic skills on lovely Lake Stockwell. Classes are small and individualized, augmented with personal coaching.

On Sunday, apply those lessons in the real world on one of the challenging Pine Barrens streams.  Here’s a video, where you can watch the skills in action:

Two other classes will be offered: “Obedience Training for Your Canoe” for new canoeists who want to learn the basics; and “Forward Freestyle Maneuvers” for those that want to delve deeper into the basic maneuvers that are the foundation of precision flatwater canoeing.

The Batsto River


You’ll learn to love your Canoe.

The root of Freestyle Canoeing is the accurate and efficient use of the paddle, body and boat. Many people may associate freestyle canoeing with the Interpretive canoe routines, but the basic techniques used by freestylers make canoeing easier (and fun). Whether you are traveling to your next campsite, or twisting down a narrow Pine Barrens stream, doing it efficiently makes a difference at the end of the day.

Hopefully, once you learn some basics in the Functional Freestyle class, you’ll want to learn more at one of the other canoe symposiums. Learning the advanced techniques will allow you to accurately put your boat in the right spot for the situation, and then set up for your next move.

With practice, you’ll become one with your boat. Conscious thought about which stroke or maneuver to use next will vanish, giving way to spontaneous transitions. The flow of strokes and maneuvers will become as natural as walking down a narrow path through the woods. You’ll learn to love your Canoe.

g30-1LOCATION: Camp Ockanickon is located in Medford Lakes, New Jersey – just outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, but within the vast undeveloped Pine Barrens.

The Pine Barrens is a unique eco-region known for its rare plants and pure tannin-stained streams.

The region’s rich history dates back to colonial times when early industry took advantage of the pure water, iron deposits and lumber.

In the Pine Barrens, one can escape the modern world into a world of nameless sand roads, ghost towns, and legends of a Jersey Devil.

Camp Ockanickon is an 800 acre facility featuring lovely Lake Stockwell. The dining hall, Douglas Lodge, camping area and boat launch are located within walking distance of each other in an area called Algonquin Village.

LODGING: There are several options for different preferences. (The lodging options at Camp Ockanickon are all the same price.)

1. Douglas Lodge –Dorm and central meeting area.

Separate Men’s and Women’s dorms each have 14 bunk beds and their own restroom/shower room.

The central lounge area features a fireplace and view of Lake Stockwell, as well as snack area for coffee and refreshments.

2. Hard-sided tents (6)– Next to Douglas Lodge. These are Spartan in nature, basically allowing you to camp without setting up your tent. They are one room, eight-bunk units. These are unheated without electricity. Restrooms and showers are located in the DeMartini Craft Center beside the cabins.

3. Tenting and/or campers – Tent camping is near Douglas Lodge and the Hard Tents. Those bringing trailers/campers can set up in the parking area, within sight of the camping area. Again restrooms with showers are right there. (No hook-ups available.)

4. Hotels – Hotels are located nearby in the Red Lion, Mount Laurel, and Hammonton areas.

MEALS: Meals are included if you are staying at the Camp.

The Dining Hall is a great building, just a short walk from Algonquin Village. The camp offers a nutritional and varied menu with vegetarian options.

If you are staying off site, you can take advantage of the convenient meal plan at camp.

CLOTHING: October in South Jersey is still mild. Daytime temperatures are generally in the 50s and 60s, but the evenings can be quite cool. Cold snaps are always possible, so bring warm clothing too. Dry or wet suits are handy if you have them. If you don’t: insulating layers and quick drying clothing are adequate. Neoprene boots (or similar) will be useful for getting in and out of boats comfortably.

Please come prepared for any weather; we paddle unless it is storming.

GEAR/EQUIPMENT: Bring a canoe, paddles, PFD (to be worn at all times when on the water), and kneeling pad. If you need to rent any of these items, please let us know ASAP, so we can make arrangements. Additional items to bring include: bedding, towels, personal toiletries, flashlight/headlamp, camp chair, water bottle, camel back for hands free drinking while paddling, dry bag, sunscreen, bug dope.


Links to all the registration forms are located below. Confirmation, directions, other information will be sent upon receipt of registration. For additional information feel free to contact:

Tim Burris at,
Bruce Kemp , or
Marc Ornstein

We hope to see you under the pines,
Tim, Bruce and Marc


Read what  Pine Barrens participant Jamie Smith had to say about the Workshop, and about how Functional FreeStyle Canoeing Techniques work for him:  old-dog-new-tricks

2018 Info & Forms are not yet available…  Here are the 2017 materials, for examples:

2017 PBFFS Class Descriptions


Don’t forget your WAIVERS!!!