The basic idea behind the Mount Dora Paddle Fest was to have every type of paddle craft represented and to encourage paddlers to try out different boats. Saturday was devoted to sprints featuring dragon boats, canoes, kayaks, OC-1s and SUPs.
I organized a twenty person dragon boat team from the WaterTribe and wondered how we would do against the three other dragon boat teams. The WaterTribe team was composed of some strong paddlers that had never been in a dragon boat. After a few minutes of instruction, the Tribe won their first 200 m heat. In the second heat the WaterTribe paddlers got out of sync half way through the race and lost. In the final 500 m race, the Tribe was up against the experienced Wun Fun Cru. The Cru established an early lead, but could not hold off the WaterTribe in a longer race. The Tribe surged ahead with 100 m to go and won by 1.3 seconds. Based on the squad’s enthusiasm, I think there will be more dragon boat races for the WaterTribe.
The remaining sprints featured a lot of cross-over participation from the various paddlers. Tom Dyll from the WaterTribe team won the 200 m OC-1 race. Five canoe teams raced in the 1000 m race. A special thanks to Brian Houston of Epic Kayaks for sponsoring the kayak sprints.
Sunday featured three long races. Paddlers could choose from a thee or ten mile race and there was also a paddle-run-paddle race. The ten mile race started on Lake Dora and went into Lake Beauclair and Lake Carlton. Kayakers Bob Waters and Anita Allen were the first paddlers to make it back to the Lakeside Inn beach. In the biathlon, canoers paddled 1 1/2 miles to Trimble Park on Lake Beauclair where one team member ran two miles on the park trails before returning to the canoe. The uncle-nephew team of Javie and Francisco Torregosso were the overall winners.
Plans have already started for the 2015 paddle fest. I hope to add a wooden, canoe and kayak regatta to the line-up next year. Thanks to everyone for making this a great first year.
Check out these articles in the Orlando Sentinel about the Mt. Dora Paddle Fest 2014:
Photo Credit: ©NickR / Dollar Photo Club