Paddling on Savannah River takes center stage in September

Monday, Sept. 2, 2013 4:01 PM
Last updated 7:16 PM
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Two major paddling events will be held on the Savannah River in September, with opportunities for both novice and experienced paddlers.

Georgia River Network’s “Hidden Gems” Paddle will be held from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 7, with a course from Savannah Rapids Pavilion at the Augusta Canal headgates to the North Augusta boat ramp downstream.

The area to be paddled includes the river’s last remaining shoals that include beginning Class-1 rapids. The event will also feature a kayak fishing workshop, a history lecture and programs by local naturalists familiar with the shoals and their plants and wildlife.

Registration options include $50 for lunch, boat rental and insurance (or $35 for those 18 and under); $25 for those using their own boats, but registration includes lunch and insurance; or $15 for American Canoe Association Insurance only.

Participants using their own boats can drop them at the starting point and leave vehicles at the take-out point, where shuttles will be available to bring them back to the launch site. Those who rent canoes or kayaks can park at the take-out site and ride a shuttle to the launch area, where rental boats will be waiting.

Visit http://www.garivers.org/ for registration information.

The following week, on Saturday, Sept. 14, Savannah Riverkeeper’s Seventh Annual Paddlefest will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., with canoe and kayak rentals available and various competitive categories of rafts and boats.

The event was postponed from its original date earlier this year due to dangerous river flows from heavy rainfall.

Paddlers will depart from Savannah Rapids Pavilion, while larger rafts and other vessels will sign in and launch farther downstream in North Augusta. The event ends at the Boathouse in Augusta.

Spectators will gather at Riverfront Marina in Augusta to watch paddlers cross the finish line, enjoy lunch and vendor items and examine kayaks and paddleboats gear from local retailers.

Boat rental are available through Escape Outdoors, Broadway Bait & Tackle, Cole Watkins Tours and Whitecap Stand Up Paddle Boarding.

Registration is $35 per person for kayak and canoe paddlers. More details and registration information can be found online at http://www.paddlefestga.com/.


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