Paddle Sports

My favorite canoeing picture! (courtesy of my daughter, Jamie Mayes)

Since just over 70% of our planet is covered with water, it’s only natural that people have come up with ways to travel on it. Those same ways give us great recreation opportunities too. Or we can combine our recreation with traveling and have some pretty amazing trips.

The 2013 Special Report on Paddle Sports (published by The Outdoor Foundation and The Coleman Company) says more than 19 million Americans a year participate in paddle sports, including canoeing, kayaking, rafting and stand-up paddle boarding.

That number has stayed pretty steady over the past few years, although the trend is that canoeing is becoming slightly less popular, while kayaking and stand-up paddling is growing in popularity.

Having lived in the upper Midwest all my life, and Minnesota for the past 3 1/2 decades, I grew up swimming and paddling. I still love to be on the water, especially in a canoe. It feels like home.

I don’t know what it is about being on the water, especially sitting close to it like we do in these smaller crafts. It’s so therapeutic!

Remember the 19 million Americans who paddle each year? That’s only a small percentage of us, really. One of the best things we can do to add to those numbers is invite someone along with us who hasn’t paddled before.

Let’s get others out on the water so they can experience these activities, too! It’s healthy, it’s fun, it gets us out in nature. And if you don’t have your own boats, rentals are widely available. A quick online search will bring up outfitters near you.


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