Posts Tagged ‘Paddlefest’

Toronto Paddlefest 2011 – Reflections in Photos

safety first

It was an ominous forecast.  Thunderstorms and 100% chance of rain for the better part of the

lookin' for an adventure

day.  It seems though, that our collective hopes turned the tides.  The rain held off on Saturday and the cool overcast weather made for perfectly comfortable paddling.  Admittedly the water was a little (read: a lot) cool, but there were still smiles all around.

early morning day two

Sunday was picture perfect.  As the clouds passed over the sun, the air see-sawed between chilly and warm.  It couldn’t have been better weather.  Very few sunburns and even fewer blue lips.

zach enjoys the sand

The instructors were top-notch

lambie tags along

and the enthusiasm was infectious.  Unsuspecting passersby on the boardwalk were sucked into the party and many were in boats before they knew what was happening.  I’m sure we’ll be seeing many of them back next year.

zach in it up to his neck

luke chillin'

It all seemed to go off without a hitch due to the meticulous planning by a crack team from Mountain Equipment Co-op.  In attendance was a strong contingent of vendors, instructors, volunteers, staff and participants.  The whole paddling community came out to support this wonderful event.

Thanks again for another unforgettable year everyone.  No matter where in the world our family may end up, we will always make time to come back for the best paddling event in North America.  Yay paddling!

helping clean up garbage after the festivities

Paddlefest Toronto Rocks Sunnyside

early morning set up

It only happens once a year.  Like a special occasion without the cake, although I do accept cake donations.  The family looks forward to the event with unrestrained enthusiasm, counting the days, planning the wardrobe and bragging to anyone who will listen.  We are going to Paddlefest.

kids camp

Paddlefest is a celebration of all things aquatic.  At least all things aquatic that

you need to paddle.   We’re talking kayaks, canoes, stand up paddleboards, dragonboating and more.  It’s a big old paddle party, and you’re invited.

brotherly love

There are tonnes of courses and demos.  Although registration for paid courses is now closed, that’s no reason not to attend.  There is a registration booth at the beach and any empty spots can be signed up for free of charge, or add your name to the waiting lists and

painted face and a quick drink

cross your fingers that there is a no-show.  There are boat demonstrations for adults and kids, a marketplace to purchase anything from sunscreen to a new boat.  There are over 40 exhibitors so you can shmooze with some of the industries best and brightest and

gaining skills

try out some of their products.  Also don’t miss the trips up the Humber River in a North Canoe.

bumper boats

The event happens rain or shine.  Water courses will run in inclement weather as long as the sky keeps the thunder and lightning to itself.  Otherwise courses will be suspended until the rattling and lightshow is done, at which point they will resume.  We have seen some crazy weather in Paddlefests past, believe me, it would be hard to top some of those!

passing the torch

Bring your bathing suit, your  towel, your verve and your joie de vivre, cause it’s Paddlefest time baby!

Paddlefest runs all day June 11th and 12th.  Stop by and get inspired.

show off

What SUP?

Yeah, yeah…that one was predictable.  I know.  This whole stand up paddleboarding thing is so new to me, I haven’t had a chance to come up with a punny title.

luke SUP-ing june 2009

how do i use this thing?

Although I was only formally introduced to the sport two years ago at the Toronto Paddlefest event, our family stumbled on board sports accidentally, years ago.  While visiting Fraser’s folks in Bridgenorth Ontario (just outside of Peterborough), we were looking for things to do with little Luke.  He was just barely three and was in constant motion.  The house sat on a beautiful lake, so we popped over to the closest big box store to find some kiddie water toys.  We ended up purchasing a boogie board (for a whopping $15 if I remember correctly).

almost ready to go it alone

He took to it like a duck to water.  The thing about kids is that they can be fearless.  They don’t yet have the trepidations that we adults have acquired through years of close calls, skinned knees and inhaled water.  Kids just go with the flow and are surprisingly dexterous.  Things that scare the pants off of me don’t give Luke or Zach a moment’s pause.  They also use stuff in ways that we couldn’t imagine.  Adults have been trained to believe that markers are for paper, not for faces.  We foolishly assume that underpants are for bottoms, not for heads.  Well I thought that boogie boards were for lying/kneeling on, so when Lukeypopped up on it with both feet, my jaw dropped and my eyebrows raised.  What is he doing?  He’s gonna fall down!  Nope.  That little guy who hadn’t completely mastered the art of walking without stumbling over his growing feet, was stand-up with-no-paddle boarding.  He rode the little waves washing into shore like a mini surfboard.

luke getting his sea legs

Fast forward to 2009.  We were all in attendance at Paddlefest and there was some downtime between attending and teaching courses.  Paddleboards were on site for the first time and they drew Luke’s interest.  A friend offered to take him and we agreed.  He was in safe hands, so I turned my attention elsewhere.  The next thing I knew, Luke was paddling at a reasonable clip from one end of the beach to the other.  I’d seen adults falling all over the place in their classes but Luke didn’t fall once that day.  He was hooked.

that'a'boy!

Like so many times before, WE have followed HIS lead.  Fraser has now taken some classes in a pool and has hit Lake Ontario in some pretty rough water.  It’s apparently harder than it looks and really gives you a good workout.  Read: Fraser walked around like his whole body hurt for days after.  I guess it’s my turn.  Toronto Paddlefest is happening again this weekend and though I’m sure I’ll end up in the drink, I can’t pass up the chance to add a new paddlesport to our family repertoire.  I can’t stand being left on shore.

Paddlefest Burlington

Just a quick note while I’m on my lunchbreak…
Check out Paddlefest in Burlington tomorrow! For more info see the website www.mec.ca/paddlefest

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