1. Sports

Discover the Joys of Canoe and Kayak Festivals

Connect With The Paddling Community

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A family camps out at a whitewater festival.

A family enjoys themselves while camping out at a whitewater paddling festival.

© 2006 by Michael Weber

Some people paddle for the sheer excitement and thrill that it brings. Others do it for the serenity. Still others are motivated simply through their love of floating just inches above the surface of the water. Whatever the reason a person finds their passion at the helm of their kayak or canoe, there is one benefit that is easily overlooked. That is the camaraderie that these boaters share as a result of being a part of this special group of outdoor enthusiasts known as paddlers.

There is perhaps no better way to celebrate that kinship than by taking part in a paddling festival. Kayaking and canoeing events are known by a variety of terms to include festivals, expos, and jamborees to name just a few. Regardless of the name, one thing remains constant for these events. These gatherings are a way for kayakers, canoeists, rafters, and the like to get together and share in the sport they all cherish.

Discover the Latest Developments, Try Out Equipment, Cash in on Great Deals

Among the benefits of attending a paddling festival is that they pose one of the greatest opportunities to stay on top of the latest trends, technique, equipment, issues and developments in the sport. All of the notable vendors, company representatives, and conservation organizations will be out in full force and eager to let you hold, try on, sit in, and demo their products. You will come out with enough literature to fill a file cabinet and there will be an endless array of deals on both new and used equipment for those bargain hunters and gear hounds out there.

Rub Shoulders with the Pros

Of course the discussions and deals would be reason enough to attend a paddling festival but that is just the beginning. How many sports do you know of where you will actually share the playing field with a pro? That’s right. Paddling festivals attract the professionals. Some will be there representing their sponsors and others will go for the sheer enjoyment of it. These guys and gals are extremely approachable and loads of fun. Its amazing how much you’ll learn just by watching their effortless maneuvers and flawless form. If you’re lucky they’ll even give you a tip or two.

Develop, Perfect, and Hone Skills

By watching the many other boaters run the rapids, paddle out into the sea, or just launch from the shore you will quickly learn the right lines to take and the ones to avoid. This leads right into another great point. Paddling festivals are the perfect venue to learn, perfect, and hone your own skills. You will be able to take a lesson, sign up for a clinic, and learn from the best out there. Not to mention that if you’re at a whitewater festival you will be able to watch many different people paddle the same rapids enabling you to clearly see what to do and what not to do.

Events, Camping, The Outdoors and Fun for the Whole Family

Paddling festivals are the perfect events to bring your family and friends even if they have no desire to take full advantage of the water end of things. Most of these festivals are in gorgeous locations in the great outdoors. Camping is the norm when it comes to the accommodations and the night air will be filled with the aroma of campfires, s’mores, and the crackling of wood. During the day your loved ones can watch you paddle, go for a hike, bird watch, or bike. Then in the afternoon you can all meet up for a silent auction, contests, and giveaways all while listening to live tunes from local bands.

Find a Festival Near You

Yes, it is true. There is a river full of reasons to attend paddling festivals, not the least of which is to come together with other paddlers to share and reminisce about this sport for which you have grown to love. So do some research, call your local paddling club, and start planning on going to the next paddling festival in your area.

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