BANGOR, Maine — The ninth annual Paddle Smart from the Start safety symposium and primer for the annual Kenduskeag Stream Race will be 5-9:30 p.m. Friday, April 10, at a new location, Husson University’s gymnasium. The event is free.
The university’s swim coach, Jeff Wren, is partnering with Paddle Smart organizers to allow the use of the Newman Gymnasium pool area.
The organizing committee for Paddle Smart has worked hard to prepare the information-packed symposium featuring pool rescue demonstrations, static and interactive displays in the gym area, and a smorgasbord of presentations in the facility’s three large pool-level classrooms. Free parking and easy building access add to the appeal of this annually popular event aimed at paddlers of all skill levels.
If paddling a watercraft is your cup of tea, Paddle Smart promises to deliver — with everything from in-pool rescue demonstrations for kayakers and canoeists to instruction on how to build your own Greenland-style kayak paddle.
Karen Francoeur of Castine Kayak Adventures will demonstrate the finer points of partner and self-rescue for kayakers.
As always, there will be classroom presentations. They include such topics as the risks of cold water immersion and how to survive a capsize by registered Maine guide Paul Travis, and a PowerPoint tour of the Maine Island Trail by Dave Mention, trail director of the Maine Island Trail Association.
Other presentations include race preparation and outfitting by Jeff Owen of the Maine Association of Canoe Kayak Racing Organization; how to pick the right boat for your paddling needs; and canoe rescue, a Coast Guard discussion on recommended safety gear and search-and-rescue procedures.
Kayak guide Ben Fuller of Searsport will show how to outfit a boat and how to dress to be seen on the water.
Guide Jeff Strout will discuss the finer points of making the transition from fresh water paddling to ocean outings.
New this year is the opportunity for in-pool boat tryouts.
Epic Sports will have kayaks available to demonstrate before the start of the symposium — from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Epic also will have paddling gear for sale at the event.
Back by popular demand is a canoe track for paddlers planning to compete or participate in the Kenduskeag Stream race Saturday, April 18.
Learn about preparing for the race and outfitting your canoe from Jeff Owen of the Maine Association of Canoe and Kayak Racing Organization or members of the Penobscot Paddle and Chowder Society.
Classroom presentations and workshops will offer advice on planning a safe outing — anywhere from a day on the lake to a week on the Allagash River to an ocean adventure — and doing it all by Leaving No Trace.
Interactive and static displays include those by the U.S. Coast Guard, Maine Marine Patrol, Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, Penobscot Paddle and Chowder Society, Penobscot Riverkeepers, Penobscot River Restoration Trust, the Maine Island Trail Association, the Maine Association of Sea Kayak Guides and Instructors, Fields Pond Audubon Center and others.
Lt. Robert “Bryan” Hollis, Chief, Sector Intelligence, Northern New England, U.S. Coast Guard, will give a presentation on kayaking and canoeing and required or recommended safety gear. The presentation also will touch on the process of search and rescue.
For information, visit www.castinekayak.com/paddlesmart.htm.
The symposium is sponsored by Husson University, Epic Sports, Castine Kayak Adventures, U.S. Coast Guard and the Maine Association of Sea Kayak Guide and Instructors.
Paddle Smart is a nonprofit group of paddlers concerned about safety on the state’s waterways. Over the past eight years, Paddle Smart has helped spread the word of water safety to some 2,000 attendees in the Bangor area.