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Paddlesports Orientation DVD Available

Paddlesports Safety Orientation DVD Now Available

An up-to-date Flatwater Paddlesports Orientation DVD is now available to members.  The first copy is free with each additional copy costing $49.  The non-member price for the first copy is $125 and $75 for each addition copy.

The DVD may be used to provide customers renting canoes, kayaks, rafts and SUP’s with a general safety briefing that can be played in a continuous loop.  Separate segments provide basic paddles strokes and techniques for each type of craft.  Others segments cover navigation rules for navigable waters and cold water immersion.

A menu on the DVD will allow rental operators to play the segments that are important to their operation.

To order call the AOA office at 800-524-4814.

One Day Paddling Trips

PPA Lifestyle - Old Town Kayaks Image-175x182River trips allow you to discover waters, scenery, critters in the water and along the banks that you simply cannot experience from the banks.

Such experience does not require days of travel to get to the river, nor the commitment to multiple days on the water. We are all busy, and often find it tough to plan a river trip that requires a day of travel to the river and back home.

Most of us are fortunate to be able to find awesome scenery, fresh air  and as much  splashing and exercise as we choose.  if you are within an hour of a boatable, accessible river, lake or coast, you are within two hours of a put-in time and assurance you can be home for the evening news.   If you live in a city, chances are there are multiple options for getting on the water with an outfitter or on your own.

New York?  The East, Delaware, Mongaup, and Hudson Rivers offer easy day trips.

Detroit?   Join thousand of your neighbors who enjoy the nearby Huron River each year.

Oklahoma City? The Oklahoma River is now home to USA Canoe and Kayak and has become a hub for those new to paddling as well as training and competition.

Reno? The reinvention of the city in the early 2000s was catalyzed by re-engineering the Truckee River, now host to tubes, kayaks, and inflatables all summer long.

Mobile? It’s famous bay has been home to boats, paddling and fishing from john boats, and stand up fishing boats for decades.  Kayak fishing and Stand Up Paddling are as alive and well in this area as anywhere in the U.S.

Rafting near end of 2 miles of high quality whitewater in Columbus, Georgia
Rafting near end of 2 miles of high quality whitewater in Columbus, Georgia

Now, before your expectations climb out of reach, you may not find a broad variety of options close by, but there are probably more than you’d think.  In addition, the trend of finding recreational water near densely populated areas may be bringing new options to you soon.  Recent river restoration in Columbus, Georgia(a) is revitalizing its downtown.  The removal of dams on the Elwha(b) and Sandy(c) Rivers in Oregon that no longer served their original purpose has restored habitat for critters and  created recreation opportunities for residents.  Dam removal plans will restore rapids to a city whose name deserves them: Grand Rapids, Michigan(d).

Try our outfitter search service to find one of our members who is just waiting to introduce you a  day trip that may well create memories of a lifetime.

This article links to the following sources:
(a)Uptown Columbus –
(b)National Park Service –
(c)National Geographic –
(d)Michigan Public Radio –


Reliable River Releases Make Trip Planning Easier

Photo courtesy of  Man of Rubber. Valley Kayak Paddles, MTI life vests, RiverGear Helmets.
Photo courtesy of Man of Rubber. Valley Kayak Paddles, MTI life vests, RiverGear Helmets.

Decades ago, finding a river on which you could be pretty certain of an exciting experience used to be dependent on recent rain or the melting of the previous winter’s snow.   The ‘season’ for reliable bouncy and fun river recreation was during the late winter, spring and early summer months.

That’s still the case today on many rivers: you can enjoy whitewater in the spring and return to the same river for a lazy summer float during the summer when flows are lower and slower.  You may not know exactly how much water will be in the river on a given day, but you’ll have a good idea based on the season and recent weather.

Many rivers now flow with uncanny consistency and at the same level of flow, whether you paddle in early May or late July.   They may ‘run’ on certain days of the week, and sometimes provide a slightly higher level, predictably on Saturdays vs. Sundays: it’s sort of weird when you think about it!

Well, this predictability is great for rafters, canoers and kayakers who have jobs during weekdays. Being able to head to a river for a rafting trip at say, 10 a.m. on a specific Saturday knowing the water will be at predictable level is pretty darn great.  This predictability can be a result of an agreement with the owner of a dam that collect water for either flood control or the production of hydropower.  In Colorado, several towns have secured a Recreational Instream Channel Diversion or RICD, which is a type of water right that guarantees flow on specific days, as long as there is sufficient supply available upstream of the town.


Exciting Autumn River Trips

Ocoee River, Tennessee, USA. Photo courtesy of Man of Rubber
Lower Gauley River

Autumn is an excellent time to take to the water.  While early months are times when melted snow and spring rains make for exciting whitewater fun, autumn brings the drawdown of major reservoirs to create space for the next winter’s snow. One of the most picturesque and exciting examples of this ‘drawdown’ release arrangement is the Gauley River in central West Virginia.  The Gauley runs often throughout the year, but you can pretty much bet on finding rootin’ tootin’ whitewater fun there from early September to the middle of October. Beginning the Friday after Labor Day, the Army Corps of Engineers administer controlled releases specifically for river recreation below its Summersville, West Virginia dam on six successive weekends through the middle of October.  These releases bring paddlers travel from all over the United States due to the high quality and reliability of the whitewater.

The Gauley includes two commonly run sections: the Class IV-V Upper Gauley and Class III-IV Lower Gauley.  Day trips can be run on the Upper or Lower or in combination with the in-between Class III-IV Middle Gauley section.  Some outfitters offer overnight trips that span all three sections, just over twenty-six (26) miles in all.

Rafting the Gauley River is a definite ‘must do’ weekend trip to this part of the country from Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, New York DC, Philadelphia in the Midwest and Northeast, Charlotte,  Raleigh, Atlanta, Charlotte and Chattanooga. The Gauley and its neighbor New and Bluestone Rivers are protected from further development by being part of a National Service Recreation Area. They offer spectacular beauty and excitement amidst their majestic gorges, and are even prettier as the leave turn.

October, 2014 Paddling Events

October 1
Stand Up for Safe Families Paddle Parade
Texas Rowing Center, Austin, Texas
The 4th Annual Stand Up For Safe Families event is an awareness event for Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Show up at the Texas Rowing Center on the North side of Lady Bird Lake at 5:30p and we will provide you with a free kayak, canoe or standup board rental. Don’t forget to wear purple for awareness!

October 3-5
The Gales Storm Gathering
Munising, Michigan
An intermediate to advanced Great Lakes Sea Kayaking event

October 4
The Louisville 50
Westport to West Point, Kentucky
The Louisville 50 is adventure race/float  on the first Saturday of October, every year. You can paddle, row or sail the entire 50 miles or any segment – from checkpoint to checkpoint. All paddlers are encouraged to participate. 

Flow the St. Joe
Spencerville to Leo-Cedarville, Indiana
This is a recreational paddle and self-guided tour of the St. Joseph River from Spencerville to Leo-Cedarville. Begin your 4 to 5 hour trip by checking in between 10:30 and 11:30. Transportation, box lunch, water and educational materials are included in the registration fee of $15 per adult or two adults for $25.

October 4 – 5
Gerry Lopez Rainbow Sandals’ Battle of the Paddle
Salt Creek Beach, Dana Point, California
After six epic years, ‘BOP’ moves to a new venue a few miles up the coast, Salt Creek Beach. The weekend will include all the BOP favorites, from a huge expo with demos, to entertainment and multiple races, including an elite race, recreational race, kids race, team relays, and a distance race that takes competitors to Laguna Beach and back.

Nooksa River Slalom
Glacier, Washington
The League of Northwest Whitewater Racers is an all-volunteer group of paddlers in the Pacific Northwest. Under the auspices of the American Canoe Association, US Canoe&Kayak, and the Washington Kayak Club, the League organizes wildwater races and races and training clinics in whitewater slalom. 

October 5
River Rocks Canoe & Kayak Races
Chattanooga, Tennessee
A 3 and 6-mile race up and back. There are no obstructions in the river. There will be a festival and other events afterwards.

October 10 – 12
SUWS Finals
North Shore, Oahu, Hawaii
The Standup World Series wraps up on Oahu’s North Shore at Turtle Bay Resort after a year-long journey with seven stops through five countries. The competitors will race sprint and distance courses with the world champion determined by points from the events earlier in the year.

US SUP Tour Stop #3
Hermosa Beach/Redondo Beach, California
The final of three stops, the US SUP Tour’s Hermosa/Redondo Beach event will feature Elite (5- to 6-km course) and Open racing (4- to 5-km course) and an SUP surfing competition.

October 11
Island to Island Waterman Relay
Santa Barbara Island, California
A 28-mile relay for paddleboard, outrigger canoe and SUP (14′ only) teams. The course takes you from Santa Barbara Island to The Isthmus on Catalina Island. Race with some of the best!

Suwannee River Race Challenge & Marathon
White Springs, Florida
There are two races, a 26-mile and a 52-mile race. The 26-mile race starts at highway 6 and ends in White Springs, FL. The 52-mile race starts in Fargo, GA and ends in White Springs, FL. It is on moving water that has no obstacles. A shuttle service is provided.

Sarasota SUP Race Series’ Race 3 
Sarasota Sailing Squadron, Sarasota, Florida
The final race of the Sarasota SUP Race Series includes a 7-mile elite race, 3-mile recreational race, and a grom race. Experience the bay, mangroves and canals of Lido and Bird Keys in this challenging and picturesque race. This Series Finale determines the winners for each division, as well as the Series Paddle title and bragging rights for the next year.

Golden Nugget SUP Race
Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina
The Golden Nugget Race will be split into a Short Course 5k and a Long Course 10k. The 5k will allow 12′ and under, 12’6 and 14ft, while the 10k allows 12’6″, 14′, over 14′ boards and traditional/prone. Both 5k and 10k will have a division for paddlers 50 + with board length- Open. This year, the event will offer a youth race immediately following the adult races. Age categories are 10 and under and 11-15, both co-ed. There is no restriction on board length in either category. This is a WPA sanctioned event, with proceeds benefitting One-Eighty Place (formerly Crisis Ministries). 

October 12
Phatwater Challenge
Natchez, Mississippi
42.5 mile canoe and kayak race on the Mississippi River held on the second Saturday of October.

Cranberry Bog Paddlefest
Buckeye Lake, Ohio
Paddle Fest participants will navigate from the North Bank Boat Dock to Cranberry Bog.

October 17-18
The 100 Mile Paddle
Los Angeles to San Diego, California
This is the ultimate multi-day charity adventure paddle race in California, taking place from LA to San Diego. This event is open to standup paddlers, prone paddlers, surf skis, marathon canoes, OC-1, OC-2 and 6-man outrigger teams. You can participate as a solo paddler or as a two-, three- or four-person relay team. This is a self-supported race, which means you and your team are responsible for your support boats/vehicles.

October 17-19
Moose Fest
Moose River, Old Forge, NY
New York’s Premiere Whitewater event! Each October whitewater enthusiasts gather in Old Forge to paddle the Moose. Mountainman hosts and organizes clinics and outings all weekend long. We bring in whitewater and industry professionals to teach and lead trips.

October 18
Paddle Bayou
La Batre, Alabama
Paddlers will have an up-close and personal experience of being on a true working bayou, lined with shipyards, shrimpboats, oyster skiffs, and scenic natural vistas. Experience and learn about the bayou’s history as you traverse the waters. Paddle under the vertical lift bridge, one of Bayou La Batre’s landmarks. Enjoy Bayou cuisine afterwards. The trip is approximately 6 miles with an option to take out at 2.5 miles.

October 25
150th Anniversary of Cushing’s Escape Paddle
Plymouth, North Carolina
Join the Washington County Historical Society and the Roanoke River Waterways Commission for a special paddling event on October 25th! In commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the sinking of CSS Albemarle, paddle your way down Conaby Creek – the escape route of the Albemarle’s young daredevil destructor, Commander William B. Cushing.

3rd Annual Chattajack 31 Race
Chattanooga, Tennessee
The South’s 31-mile race downriver is back for its third year. Paddlers will race from Coolidge Park to Hales Bar Marina on Nickajack Lake before taking in all the fun at the River Rocks Festival. Most paddlecrafts welcome.


Being Safe on the Water


Tandem canoeing. Courtesy of Johnson Outdoors
Tandem canoeing. Courtesy of Johnson Outdoors

Plan for an enjoyable safe paddling trip  by learning and remembering a few basics.

Before you head onto the water, tell your plan to a friend on shore or at home where you will be going and for how long,  in case of emergency.

Wear It Logo 150x150Life Jacket or
PFD (Personal Flotation Device)

Always wear one when you’re paddling.


Paddling Conditions: Water +  Air + Weather Forecast

  • Be aware of the current water conditions and take extra care or waiting if recent rain has the river rising, if a storm is brewing, or if the water and/or air are cold.
  • Watch the weather to prepare for local conditions and electrical storms. When you are on the water, head to shore if you can see or hear a storm.
  • Water sometime seems calm when it can be deep, swiftly moving or decorated with dangerous rocks or obstructions below the surface.

Swimming and Safety Practices

  • If you’re planning to go paddling you just may take a spill while you’re learning!  Being in the water a normal part of being on the water. However,  you should be comfortable swimming if you are off your stand up paddleboard or out of your canoe.
  • Keep up-to-date on CPR procedures.
  • Keep a safety kit on your boat if you you have space to store it, otherwise with your gear on shore.
  • Don’t mix paddling with drinking alcohol.
  • Supervise children continually regardless of their swimming abilities, even if they are wearing life jackets.

Paddling Etiquette
On a river,  for instance a person who is heading downstream always has the right of way. If you are about to move out from a resting spot when another person is in the current and about to go by, you should let them pass.

Check out this video from the folks at the Safe Boating’s Wear it! Campaign. They are ready  to get the spread the word to share the importance of wearing pfds!

For more information on boating safety, including safety when using motorized boats,  visit the National Safe Boating Council.

Stand Up Paddleboarding – Give it a try!

SUP in the Tetons. Photo courtesy of Jack's Plastic Welding
SUP in the Tetons. Photo courtesy of Jack’s Plastic Welding

Stand up paddle boarding (SUP) is a great ways to get out and discover new ways to combine exercise and fun on lakes, rivers and open water. Fans of SUP love this option because it’s easy to get started on a stand up board. As with any other watercraft, contacting an outfitter who can show you the ropes and provide expertise on your first or early mini-journeys is a great way to get started.

You won’t be alone out there on your SUP.  According to the Outdoor Industry Foundation 2013 Outdoor Participation Report, 56% of all the first-time participants of outdoor activities in 2013 were to try Stand Up Paddleboarding.

You need only a few basic items to get started: your outfitter will provide all you need for a first time out. Check our Outfitter Search by Activity to find an SUP outfitter near you.

PPA SUP - NRS Czar_XUP 65x207
Czar XUP. Photo courtesy of NRS

Stand Up Paddleboard
They come in many shapes and sizes in both rigid and inflatable designs. The sizes range widely: it’s best to start out with one that is nice and wide, and therefore stable. Longer boards, like other boats, are likely faster so will make better time when paddling long distances. Shorter boards are likely more nimble and better for turning, surfing and paddling on moving water and whitewater rivers. When you visit an outfitter you’ll likely try a model or two they have determined good for first SUP experiences.

Werner Fiji SUP Paddle. Photo courtesy of NRS
Werner Fiji SUP Paddle. Photo courtesy of NRS

Stand up paddles are similar to canoe paddles, but are much longer since you stand when using them, vs. sit while paddling a canoe. They are available in a wide variety of materials with a variety of blade and handle, or grip shapes.

A leash is familiar to those used with surfboards, connecting you with a hook-and-loop closure strap at your ankle to your SUP. Since SUPs can be paddled on different bodies of water, regulations for wearing leashes vary, as well. Check with your outfitter or those who have paddled Stand Up Paddleboards where you are headed to learn the local requirements.

PPA Safety - NRS Vapor_PFD 78x101PFD (personal floatation device)
It is ALWAYS good practice to wear a Coast Guard approved pfd, even though they may not be mandated if you are within a swimming zone at the beach. There are many great looking, comfortable pfds designed for SUP paddlers.

Preparing for the Water and Sun
The weather and water conditions help you know what’s best to wear.  If it’s hot and sunny and the water is warm, shorts or a bathing suit may be fine, combined with a shirt  that won’t get in your way as you paddle. If the water is cool or cold, you should consider wearing a wetsuit or drysuit for you may spend a good deal of time in the water!

Remember to wear your favorite waterproof sunscreen and sunglasses, and reapplying sunscreen during the day.

A few strokes will give you confidence to get out to where you are going to paddle, maneuver when you are out, and back to your home base with confidence. Your outfitter or instructor should provide the basics of a Forward Stroke, Back Stroke and Forward and Reveres Sweep Strokes used for turning.

There’s plenty of time left this season to find an outfitter near you who can introduce you to SUP.  Have fun!

September, 2014 Paddling Events

September 5
5th Annual Midwest SUP Masters
Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
This family-friendly event includes Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) inspired activities and demos. Starting friday withe a Paddle Clinic and get together . Races on Saturday: Short Race, Long Race, and Kids 1 Mile, Pooch Race, with other activities throughout the day. Sunday: Yoga on the beach, social paddle, swap and demo.

100 Mile Paddle: NYC 2014
New York, New York
This is a two-day adventure paddle race for relay teams and elite paddlers.

September 6
2nd Annual California Paddle
Redding, California
Race Whiskeytown Lake with tons of other SUP enthusiasts at the second annual event.

The Butterfly Effect
Lake Tahoe, California
Join Tatiana Howard and ‘Butterflies’ at the Butterfly Effect’s Lake Tahoe event, which features a day of fun and female empowerment, including a downwind run on SUP, kayak, kite or windsurf, as well as lunch, surprises, and more.

Carolina Beach SUP Challenge
Carolina Beach, North Carolina
3-mile race and 1-mile fun challenge around the Carolina Beach Yacht Basin with all proceeds supporting Ocean Cure, a local 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to giving free surf lessons to medically fragile and at risk youth and adults.

Paddle for Tomorrows
Fort Walton Beach, Florida
Standup paddle board race 100% benefits the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Enjoy awesome races, recreational paddling, plus free food and entertainment at the after party! Categories include: 5 mile, 3 mile, and 1 mile with 14′, 12′ 6″, and surf style board divisions. Youth race for children 13 and under.

September 7
Round the Rock Race & Expo
Seattle, Washington
Test your speed against some of the top paddlers on the planet as you paddle 13 miles around Mercer Island. The Elite Paddlers will be competing for big prize money in the unique “Sweep or Weep” format, where various board length classes try to steal the purse from those on longer boards.

September 12,13
Nemacolin Trace Parkersburg Paddlefest 
Parkersburg, West Virginia
Enjoy a beautiful paddle down to the historic Blennerhasset Island. Tour the Blennerhassets Mansion, camp on the Island, Friday and Saturday nights.  The river will be shut down Saturday morning from all power boats.

September 13
Wai Kekoa Water Warrior Festival
Camp Pendleton, California
Join Marines and water athletes in 5K and 10K distance races, or the famous Amphibious Assault Race (Elite and Open Races). Battle your way through the exclusive Camp Pendleton waters where Elite racers will tackle a loop course that includes both surf and flat water, while the Open age group loop is exclusively on flat water. The Amphibious Assault courses include water and land obstacles to determine the ultimate Water Warrior Champion.

Hope Floats Paddle Classic
West Palm Beach, Florida
Our unique event will take place on September 13th and will include paddle crafts from every variety including, outrigger canoes, surf skis, prone paddleboard and stand-up paddleboards. The elite paddle race will consist of 6 miles and 6 technical turns through the palm beach intracoastal. Our spectator friendly course will stretch from the Okeechobee bridge to Flagler Memorial as racers will be paddling fast for cash and giving hope to three amazing charities. $2000 in Prizes!

Paddle AC
Atlantic City, New Jersey
Part of the Atlantic City International Triathlon & Seafood Festival weekend celebration, this is a 100% spectator friendly event. The paddle features a FLAT & FAST 5k race and a Fun One-Miler on the back bay of AC. Who’s SUP for the challenge?! Part of the 2014 SUP CUP Series.

Ku’ono Paddle Series
Hampton, Virginia
The East Coast Ultimate Paddle Challenge brings SUP Racing to Virginia’s peninsula with the Kuʻono Paddle Series. Coursing through the Hampton River, where the infamous Blackbeard’s head was displayed, racers will compete in 12 mile, 6 mile, and 2 mile events. For SUPs, kayaks, and canoes.

One Square Mile of Hope – 2014 Guinness World Record Event
Inlet, NY
The Kiwanis Club of the Central Adirondacks and the One Square Mile of Hope 2014 committee have formed a strategic partnership with the goal of retaking the record while again raising funds to help with breast cancer research and awareness.

September 13 – 14
2014 US SUP Tour Final Stop
Huntington Beach, California
Two days of competition will include both open and technical racing as well as a surf competition to decide the members of Team USA.

September 14
Tahoe Fall Classic
Lake Tahoe, California
The 22-miler wraps up the SUP series with a bang. The final race of the three-part series has racers take off from South Lake Tahoe’s Camp Richardson, racing to Kings Beach in North Lake Tahoe. After the long haul, participants and spectators can enjoy food and drink, demos and an awards ceremony.

Great Peconic Race
Shelter Island, NY
Great Peconic Race is an expedition paddle race circumnavigating Shelter Island, NY, located between the North and South Forks of Long Island. The race honors Ted Baldwin’s love for the bays and proceeds will be donated in support Rogue Wave Foundation work to help east end children build confidence and self esteem

September 15 – 21
Huntington Beach Pro Grand Slam
Huntington Beach, California
The Standup World Tour and Series come together for a week of racing in sprints and distance events, and competitive surfing. The competitors will be stepping up their game as the Finals at Turtle Bay is all that will remain after the SoCal stop.

September 17 – 21
Whitewater Slalom World Championships
McHenry, Maryland
The Adventure Sports Center International is the prestigious venue for the event and is the Only Mountaintop re-circulating whitewater course in the World. Be a part of history!  Olympic level athletes from over 35 countries will be competing for the Gold! This is the 25 year anniversary of the 1989 World Championship in Garrett County, Maryland and only the second time in history this event has been held in the United States.

September 19 – 20
American Whitewater’s Biggest Fundraiser!
All proceeds from the festival support American Whitewater’s river conservation and access works throughout the nation. Started in 1983 to celebrate the derailment of a hydro-electric project that would have disrupted the flows on the Gauley River, Gauley Fest has grown to become the largest paddling festival in the world.  The festival will feature live entertainment, a whitewater marketplace, raffle, and a silent auction where you can pick up some awesome outdoor gear. Come out and join us for a weekend of great paddling, exciting camaraderie, live entertainment, killer boat raffles, and the infamous silent auction.

September 20
Muddy Run Canoe/Kayak Race 
Muddy Run Park, Holtwood, PA
There are three different courses and over 40 different classes for canoes and kayaks. This race is for all skill levels.

Urban Kai King and Queen of the Bay
Tampa, Florida
Urban Kai King and Queen of the Bay features a long-distance elite race, a 3-mile recreational race, a Kids’ race, sprint races, and beachside after party with live music.

Junior Waterman Challenge and Ocean Fest
Sarasota, Florida
This is a youth only SUP race for ages 5-17. All levels of paddlers are welcome. Great prizes for all races! Stay for Ocean Fest too—Ocean conservation groups, vendors, food and lots of fun water themed activities.

September 20 – 21
Triple Crown of the Upper Keys
Tavernier, Florida
A 3-race series featuring the best unique paddling environment of the Upper Keys. Involves paddling through both mangrove creeks and through open water. 

2014 Battle of the Bay 
San Francisco, California
Stand Up Paddling will take over the San Francisco Bay in the 4th Annual Battle Of The Bay Race and Expo! This year in addition to SUP & Prone Paddleboarding, we are inviting our OC1 friends to join us! Our new location at the East Beach at Crissy Field in the Presidio National Park will make this awesome race even more exciting as we take on the San Francisco Bay!

September 21
Butterfly Effect (BE) Movement
Coronado, California
A non-competitive event for water women of every level. Events include a non-competitive paddle, SUP Yoga post-paddle, a catered luau, and sponsor giveaways. Paddle with Roxy’s Gillian Gibree and meet other pros in the industry.

September 26 – 28
2014 Lake Murray SUP Classic
Lexington County, SC
In its third year, this event features clinics, races for all skill levels, parties and even a SUP swap meet. The Lake Murray SUP Classic is part of the Southern Stoke Race Series, a summer series of races set in rivers and lakes throughout the Southeast. Race proceeds benefit South Carolina Special Olympics.
West End Loop Paddleboard Race – Two Harbors, California

September 27
West End Loop Paddleboard Race 
Catalina Island
This unique and adventurous 16mi course will take both prone and SUP athletes around the rural and rugged west end of Catalina Island, beginning and ending in the town of Two Harbors.

Island Paddle’s G-Bay Paddle Race 2014
Galvaston, Texas
The Island Paddle Race Series was created to bring the paddling community together to share the love of the water by providing competitive and family friendly race events. We want to welcome everybody from a beginner to a seasoned stand up paddler, canoer, or kayaker, with fun activities for the entire family to enjoy. We support local community businesses, as well as local and national charities that protect the ocean and support a healthy lifestyle through water sports

Shark River Paddle Battle
Neptune, New Jersey
The Second Annual Shark River Paddle Battle is a Non-Profit paddle race and event benefitting Mary’s Place by the Sea and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. We have a Long Course (5 Miles) race for more competitive and experienced paddlers, and also a Short Course (2.75 Miles) fun paddle for cruisers. B.Y.O.P (Bring your own paddle)!!

Wilderness Trips

MURiver View 1 175x148
Maurice River, New Jersey. Photo courtesy of the River Management Society (RMS)

Once you discover the beauty and good times of paddling  on easy going black water rivers or through tumbling whitewater rapids you’ll never forget the experience, and will hopefully return for more!  And, as grand as the paddling you’ve experienced may be, you can jump from awesome to life-changing  by paddling a wilderness river.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary tells us that ‘wilderness‘ means “a tract or region uncultivated and uninhabited by human beings (2) :  an area essentially undisturbed by human activity together with its naturally developed life community.”  

When paddling  a wilderness river you can’t help but focus on the river’s viewscape and its critters, unaffected  by the audio-visual distraction of  buildings and vehicle-laden roads and bridges. Wilderness paddling may require  a long ride or even a flight to get to the river outpost and your outfitter and you’ll probably spend a night (or two, or three, or ….) camping.  Your investment of time and effort will be rewarded many times over!

lowerowensphoto 175x175
Lower Owens River. Photo courtesy of RMS

‘Wilderness’ rivers are ‘wild’ due to laws that protect rivers and  immediately adjacent land from further development.  The nation’s treatment of our environment changed dramatically in the 1960’s with the passage of the Wilderness, Clean Air, Clean Water and National Environmental Policy Acts – and the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act.

In the past 50 years, we have learned—all too slowly, I think—to prize and protect God’s precious gifts. Because we have, our own children and grandchildren will come to know and come to love the great forests and the wild rivers that we have protected and left to them . . . An unspoiled river is a very rare thing in this Nation today. Their flow and vitality have been harnessed by dams and too often they have been turned into open sewers by communities and by industries. It makes us all very fearful that all rivers will go this way unless somebody acts now to try to balance our river development.
– President Lyndon Johnson on signing the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act, October 2, 1968.

Wild River Areas – Those rivers or sections of rivers that are free of impoundments and generally inaccessible except by trail, with watersheds or shorelines essentially primitive and waters unpolluted. These represent vestiges of primitive America. WSR ‘Wild’ rivers include the Allagash River in Maine, Wind (and over two dozen others) in Alaska, North Fork American in California and Owyhee in Oregon.

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Snake River Raft and Surfer. Photo by Max Mogren, courtesy of RMS. The Snake includes both a Wild section and a Scenic section.

Scenic River Areas – Rivers or sections of rivers that are free of impoundments and  are largely primitive. Their shorelines are largely undeveloped, but they are accessible in places by roads. Federally protected Scenic Rivers include the White Salmon River in Washington, Bluestone River in West Virginia and Wolf River in Wisconsin.

Recreational River Areas – These are rivers or sections of rivers that are readily accessible by road or railroad, may have some development along their shorelines, and may have undergone some impoundment or diversion in the past. National Recreational Rivers include the Manistee in Michigan, John Day in Oregon and Lamprey in New Hampshire.

For more information on the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act and rivers ‘the Act’  protects, visit  Find a wild rivers you’d like to paddle, then search our Outfitter Locator by those rivers!

States also have protected rivers with their own or additional designations.  If you are interested in learning more about state Wild and Scenic Rivers, contact the office of your state’s Department of Natural Resources.