Standing up for Lake Erie’s north shore
Lake Erie North Shore Standup founder and coordinator Katherine Balpataky, left, and Robin Pacquing, right, on standup paddleboards of off Pleasant Beach in Port Colborne. The Lake Erie North Shore Standup, in its second year, will support Carolinian Canada’s Lake Erie Coastal Stewardship EcoTrail on Saturday, August 23 or Sunday, August 24, depending on the weather.
A standup paddle event will bring together paddlers from across Ontario and the U.S. in a friendly competition to raise funds for the freshwater coastline.
The Lake Erie North Shore Standup, in its second year, will support Carolinian Canada’s Lake Erie Coastal Stewardship EcoTrail. The ecotrail highlights natural and cultural treasures of the lake’s 600-kilometre coastline from Essex to Niagara.
“We are hosting the event so that people will come and explore the beautiful coast and meet others in the SUP community,” said Katherine Balpataky, founder and coordinator of the event, adding it also holds promise for re-invigorating tourism.
“Paddleboarding is an incredible way to experience Lake Erie. More Canadians need to experience the history, culture, and beauty of this Great Lake.”
Balpataky said the event is geared towards endurance paddlers, who are changing the sport that has blown up over the last five years globally.
She said it also caters to those who are willing to dip a toe in, offering 20-kilometre, 10-kilometre, and a 5-kilometre routes.
The event’s lead sponsor is Ausmosis Style on Board, a local surf and paddleboard designer and manufacturer based in Port Dalhousie.
“Standup paddle has absolutely exploded over the last decade, and it will only continue to grow, because it is exhilarating to stand on water, whether that water is flat or you are riding waves; and people of all paddling capabilities can do it. I have raced all over the world, but the Lake Erie experience and the SUP/surf community here is truly special,” said Ausmosis owner Darryl Austin.
Balpataky said during the 2013 event, a storm kicked up making for better surfing than paddleboarding conditions on the Saturday. The event was rescheduled to the Sunday to ensure participants had an enjoyable experience on the glassy-water.
The 2014 event is planning for activities on both Saturday, August 23 and Sunday, August 24 to accommodate for inclement weather. Off water activities will include a unique guided hike of Marcy’s Woods by the Bert Miller Nature Club, and beach restoration activities with a local surf club.
Those who want to take the hike can contact event organizers — www.northshorestandup.ca/contact — and everyone is welcome to join the beach party at The Palmwood in Crystal Beach at the event’s close.
Those that can’t make it can participate by going on-line to support their favourite paddleboarder help keep Erie’s coastal habitats healthy for all.
Registration for the event runs from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. at Nickel Beach in Port Colborne, allowing time for cars to be shuttled to the end point. The race starts at 10 a.m. and ends at Crystal Beach in Fort Erie at The Palmwood. The five kilometre stop is at Centennial Beach in Port Colborne and the 10k
For event details see www.northshorestandup.ca, and to register, see www.eventbrite.ca/e/lake-erie-north-shore-standup-tickets-11843334733. To donate to Carolinian Canada’s Lake Erie Coastal Stewardship EcoTrail, see caroliniancanada.ca/civicrm/contribute/transact?reset=1&id=17.