Give Paddleboarding a try

Vermont Paddleboard Festival June 24

The sport of stand-up paddleboarding has worked its way from west to east and is now becoming established in Vermont. The sport is easily accessible to all ages and abilities, from casual cruising to racing. The Vermont Paddleboard Festival will be held at Waterbury Center State Park on June 24 from 11 am to 4 pm, featuring activities for everyone from beginners to experts.

“Stand-up paddleboarding has grown in Vermont since it arrived here about three years ago,” said organizer John Bauer of the blog Vermont Paddling. “This festival is designed to allow people to try it for the first time and to give experienced paddlers a chance to try different boards.”

Over 50 models of paddleboards from 12 different manufacturers will be available for people to test paddle at the event. There will be clinics ranging in topic from “How to Choose a Paddleboard” to “How to Make Repairs.” There will also be a paddleboard yoga demonstration and races at the end of the day.

“Surfing is the original cool-kid sport and paddleboarding brings the balance and athleticism of surfing to our inland waterways,” said Marc Sherman of the Outdoor Gear Exchange. “Paddleboards are far more stable than most people imagine and they provide a great way to get on the water with a completely different perspective and experience than any other paddle sport. We’re excited to be involved in this festival and expect it to be a staple of spring in Vermont for years to come.”

Steve Brownlee from Umiak Outfitters agrees. “It’s the most enjoyable form of exercise I have ever found,” he said. “The neat thing about paddleboards is you don’t have to go fast or work hard to have fun with one. You don’t need a lot of instruction, and paddleboards are light weight. Many of my customers comment that it’s really cool, like walking on water.”

Waterbury Center State Park is expected to fill quickly. Fees: $3 Day Use Fee or Vermont State Park Pass, $5 Vermont Paddleboard Festival Fee, donated to Friends of the Winooski.
Attendees with canoes, kayaks and paddleboards are encouraged to park at the boat launches at Cottonbrook, Blush Hill, and the Waterbury dam and paddle to the state park. Launch locations may be found at www.vtpaddlefest.com.

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