What’s New This Year at the Calusa Blueway Paddling Festival?

A new relay race! The CaluSUP Fun Race for canoeists, kayakers and SUPers who pair up with pals for a relay competition on the Sanibel Causeway on Nov. 4, the final day of the event.

The event kicks off with a captain’s meeting at 11:15 a.m. at Causeway Island A, 19500 Sanibel Causeway Road, which is the main festival site. Festival attendees can easily watch; the race course is just off the beach.

People can bring their own paddlecraft, borrow a friend’s boat or board, or rent from one of the vendors on site. (Advanced reservations are recommended.)The race can be done with up to three people per team and only one canoe, kayak or SUP. The course is one-third of a mile. In honor of Lee County’s 125th anniversary, the format will be 1-2-5 – as in one lap, two laps and five laps around the oval course. People can put their novice paddler in the first lap and take it from there. Racers will pass a baton that is a piece of recycled PVC pipe sporting an animal puppet.

The cost is $5 per team of up to three people, with proceeds going to the festival’s signature non-profit partner, CROW (Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife). You can pre-pay online and print out the receipt at www.crowclinic.org/calusa_blueway/index.php. Or you can pay at the event. All registration forms will be completed on site race day. See the race map at www.calusabluewaypaddlingfestival.com and click on “activities” and then “canoe / kayak/ SUP race.”

The event is being coordinated by the SWFL SUP Club and Lee County Parks & Recreation with support from the Sanibel-Captiva Power Squadron.

Get complete festival details at www.calusabluewaypaddlingfestival.com. Festival hours on the Sanibel Causeway way are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 2, and Saturday, Nov. 3, and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 4. Admission is $5; kids 12 and younger are free. Race questions can be directed to Lee County Parks & Recreation Senior Supervisor Vicki Little at (239) 229-0649.

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Proceeds benefit CROW

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