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

Aside

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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Get Your Paddles Ready!

kayak fishing

Get ready to welcome Fall with the most exciting paddling festival in the country. This year’s Calusa Blueway Paddling Festival dates are November 1st to the 4th.

An annual event since 2006, the popular paddling festival has offered races, seminars, guided trips, a fishing tournament, demonstrations, a photo contest, and social events to kayakers. This year’s festival will include stand-up paddleboard (SUP) activities, on-water instruction, and a canoe and kayak film festival. Also, the festival will offer a race to commemorate the 125th anniversary of Lee County, Florida.Florida kayak and SUP festival

Calusa Blueway Paddling Festival 2012

Photo credit: swflsupclub.org/

The festival serves to highlight the Calusa Blueway Paddling Trail, a 190-mile marked-and-meandering saltwater trail that spans the coast and inland rivers along the beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel. It includes saltwater mangrove trails and inland rivers that access the saltwater trails.

The event was selected as a Top 20 Event for 2012 by the Southeast Tourism Society. The festival is coordinated by Lee County Parks & Recreation, which reported attendance for the 2011 festival from 20 states, Canada and Great Britain.

Festival details are available at www.CalusaBluewayPaddlingFestival.com and also on Facebook and Twitter. For trail information, visit www.CalusaBlueway.com.