Custom Search

Monday, November 3, 2008

Festival gives outdoors enthusiasts a chance to experience kayaking

Wow this is fun!

Karoline Stadelmann and her father, Philip, love nature and all it has to offer.
So when the West Palm Beach residents heard about a sporting adventure a little different from the norm, they jumped at it.
They spent almost 10 hours over two days — five hours each day — participating in the Okeeheelee Fall Kayak Festival at Okeeheelee Park in West Palm Beach. The weekend attraction, which drew about 200 people, enabled outdoors enthusiasts to test different kayaks.
Hosted by Adventure Times Kayaks and Okeeheelee Park Rentals in conjunction with the Friends of Okeeheelee Nature Center, the festival featured basic paddling instruction, advanced kayak rescue classes and Eskimo rolling clinics.

"I wanted to come and try all of the different kayaks," said Karoline, 14. "This is really fun. It is a lot of exercise. It works your arms, and it works your feet."
Her father agreed.
"This is a lot of fun. This is the first time I tried it," he said. "It gives me a chance to spend time with my daughter. I love everything outdoors, including fishing. My arms will be a little sore tomorrow, but it is worth it."
Stephen Wigal, who runs an operation that provides tours for kayakers along the Intracoastal Waterway and other saltwater areas, said the event was established 16 years ago. It started with just a tent at the park's lake.
"We were doing classes and bringing kayaks out here for the nature program," said Wigal, who will present another event of this type in March. "We started doing this as a fundraiser. We raise a little money, and it gives people an opportunity to have some fun in the water. It also helps promote the nature center."
The center benefits from the festival to the tune of $1,200 to $1,500 per attraction. A donation of $8 for adults and $6 for children younger than 18 was charged to participate. Weekend passes were also available for $12 and $8, with proceeds going to the Friends group.
About 2.5 miles of trails wind through 90 acres of pine flatwoods and wetlands. The nature center features hands-on exhibits, animal encounters and a nature-related gift shop. There are birds of prey and live snakes.
Roger Roque, who owns a kayaking business based at Okeeheelee Park, likes that the festival gives newcomers an opportunity to experience the sport.
"We wanted to show people the different styles and types of kayaking," Roque said. "It brings families out and gives them the opportunity to try out different kayaks."
Roque said the fact the Stadelmanns spent two days at the festival doesn't surprise him.
"It is really a unique experience," he said. "It burns some calories. The adults come out here and get great exercise, too."


No comments:

Post a Comment