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April 17, 2012 > Paddlefest

Paddlefest

By Mauricio Segura

Summer is just around the corner, and here in California that means fun in the sun, but more importantly, fun on the water. While many choose swimming as their recreation of choice, others find that being above the water is much more enjoyable.

Think about kayaking or paddleboating down a lazy lake or river, the soothing sights and sounds of nature enveloping you as the time leisurely passes by into relaxing memories. Maybe the ocean is your forte, an early morning kayak along the coast, possibly interacting with a pod of dolphins or the mighty splendor of a migrating Humpback singing beyond the fog. For the more adventurous, heading down a whitewater river is a rush like no other.

Whatever scenario appeals most, the right equipment is what's going to make it happen. Will you need a canoe, a kayak, or paddleboat for your adventure? Which style or model is the best choice? And what about beginners who simply need lessons? The 2012 Bay Area Paddlefest will answer all those questions and more.

Coming to the Quarry Lakes Regional Recreation Area in Fremont on April 21 and 22, the 3rd Annual Bay Area Paddlefest is the largest expo of its kind in California. With classes, equipment sales, and hands on testing of hundreds of canoes, kayaks, and paddleboats by leading manufacturers, this will be an entertaining event for the entire family.

A demo day pass will allow the ticket holder into the exhibit area to try out unlimited demos in and out of the water. For an additional fee, one can obtain the classes day pass, which also gives access to day classes and clinics.

On water classes will include beginner intros to kayaking (launching, landing, and basic strokes), canoeing (the forgotten craft of family fun, camping, fishing, and travel), and stand-up paddleboating. Advanced kayakers can learn more difficult stroking techniques, and self and assisted rescues in case of capsizing. Kids will learn water techniques while playing games, and the fitness conscious can try surfski paddling made popular by the 1980s TV show "Magnum PI."

In On-Land Clinics, pros will be at hand to instruct on the various designs and purposes of each type of boat to determine which is the best for each person. Also, what you wear is as important as what you ride, so an introduction to paddling clothing will be essential. And last, but not least, fishing is a paddleboat pastime, and instructors will teach the ins and outs of this side of the sport in detail.

As a side class, Helen Wilson will be teaching the art of kayak rolling. These classes are only available for groups of 10 with prior registration at the cost of $60.

Aside from the classes, the big draw is being able to try out all the demos. With over 50 exhibitors including Sunrise Mountain Sports, Rivers For Change, Pyranha, Mad River Canoes, Feathercraft, Dagger Kayaks, Bay Area Sea Kayakers, Hurricane Aqua Sports, North Shore Kayaks, and Outback Adventures, there will be literally hundreds of boats and gear to try out.

Currently no food vendors are scheduled to appear, though organizers are planning to supply free hotdogs. Snack vending machines are available throughout the park, but bringing your own lunch is definitely allowed.

Families with dogs are welcome to bring them along to play in the park, but not along the swimming and exhibition areas.

With all the boats to test out, there won't be a need for anyone to bring their own. However, you may bring your boat, but please remember that Quarry Lakes will charge both a launching fee as well as an invasive species inspection fee upon entrance to the park.

So whether a seasoned kayaker or a novice still learning how to keep balance, the 2012 Bay Area Paddlefest is a day to take your boating experiences up a few notches. "You can try out as many new crafts as you want while meeting people and making new friends who share a love of paddelboating," says Regina Casassa of East Bay Parks District. It will be a weekend of fun for the entire family that you won't want to miss.

-Demo Only Day Pass $15 - This pass allows you entry to the exhibit area and unlimited demos of boats and SUPs.
-Classes Day Pass $30 - Along with entry to the exhibit area and access to unlimited demos, this pass also allows you to take an unlimited number of classes.
-Kids 15 and under get a free Class Day Pass with paying adult entry (up to two kids free with each paying adult entry).
-Helen Wilson Rolling Clinics $60 (includes demo fee) - 10 spots are available at each clinic and pre-registration is required. Call California Canoe & Kayak at 1-800-366-9804 to sign up.

Quarry Lakes charges a parking fee (currently $5) for each vehicle. For more information, please call (510) 544-3130.

Bay Area Paddlefest
Saturday and Sunday, April 21 and 22
9 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Quarry Lakes Regional Recreational Area
2100 Isherwood Way, Fremont
(510) 544-3130
www.thebayareapaddlefest.org
Cost: $15 - $30

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