I like this event in Eastern Washington on the Columbia River because paddling is really a relatively fresh activity to the locals. It is exciting to see people get turned on to paddling for the first time. I specifically enjoy the fact that some of the crazy dogma that seems to follow every paddlefest around doesn't yet exist here. But every year, we see more dry suits and more people working on their 2 finger back deck roll while not seeming to smile anymore. What is it with taking a sport to the higher level that seems to take the fun out of it?
I'm biased because I grew up on the Mississippi River in MN. We paddled around there because it was fun and it was a good way to get to the sandy island that we could run up and down. My boat carried a lunch and some water and maybe some sand toys. The Columbia in Eastern WA has that same "feel" of the Mississippi where I grew up. Everything revolves around the river. The river gives life to the crops and livestock. People go straight to the river on their day off. The parks are situated along the river and the river is the commercial draw for both tourism and industry. I enjoy seeing the locals have that "Eureka" moment when they realize all the fun paddling they can have on "their" river. What a unique new way to enjoy something they have been around all their lives.
We had great weather during the day and a powerful wind storm to make packing up interesting. Thanks to Matthew from http://www.seakayakshop.com/ for his help and http://www.columbiakayakadventures.com/ for their retail support of the products I sell. REI should be given big Kudos for sponsoring this event.
Bamboo enjoyed his new rubber Corn toy...a fitting toy for an agricultural area like E Washington.