The Big Bear Paddlefest is back for it’s third year. Held at the north shore of Big Bear Lake, coordinators Jim and Janet Dooley of the North Shore Trading Company, began the race in 2008 with the goal for a ‘fun family day for everyone.’ Since then, participation numbers have almost tripled.
“The best thing about the event is how it is for everyone,” Jim says. Attendees can learn to paddle for the first time, advanced paddlers can strengthen their skills, and even people who don’t want to get in the water can enjoy the party.
All day Saturday, July 10, learn how to safely enter or exit a canoe, and master basic paddle strokes during beginner or advanced clinics that begin at 10 a.m. There will also be a clinic on self and team rescue for both canoeing and kayaking.
Jim says the highlight of the day is the new clinic on stand up paddleboarding, which is quickly gaining momentum. Board maker Hobie is sponsoring the clinic, and anyone who signs up can use one of their boards for free.
Booths with gear from Keen, Smith, Big Bear Fishing Adventures, Emotion Kayaks, and others will be set up at the vendor’s expo all day.
After the clinics, dry yourself off and head over to Captain John’s Fawn Harbor and marina for the first Paddlefest Luau, where you should bring your own drinks and food to throw on the grill. A local reggae band will set the mood for the party.
On Sunday, put your skills to the test in 30, 10, or 5k races for canoeing, kayaking, and paddleboarding. Compete in tandem, men solo, and women solo heats. For the younger generations, a kid’s fun paddle will begin at 11 a.m. with awards to follow.
“People just keep showing up each year,” Jim says. “It should be a great weekend of learning and fun.”