The largest paddling festival in the Northwest is entering its eighth year in 2018, held annually on Lake Sammamish, just a 20-25 minute drive from downtown Seattle and a 10-15 minute drive from Bellevue, Washington.
Not to mention, Lake Sammamish is a prime paddling location conveniently located to several beautiful cities, which not every paddling festival has going for it. So PNW flatwater boaters, gear up and pen in the Northwest Paddling Festival for May 11-12.
In addition to giving people the ability to demo all the equipment from more than 60 exhibitors, seminars on a variety of topics, and a race open to all called the Paddling Challenge, organizers are also offering free kayaking tours.
Tours take place along the park’s pristine wetland area—every 30 minutes on Friday, and every 15 minutes on Saturday. Local guides will lead paddlers to one of the biggest heronries in the state and explore the mouth of Issaquah Creek. We hear there’s a good chance of seeing bald eagles and great blue herons along the route.
For expert paddlers or those looking to try sea kayaking or stand-up paddling for the first time, the eighth annual Northwest Paddling Festival is the place to launch your own summer on the water. Located inside Lake Sammamish State Park in Issaquah, Washington, Friday May 11 and Saturday May 12, the festival is reputed to be the largest event of its kind in the Pacific Northwest.
During the course of the two-day celebration, attendees can demo boats, take SUP yoga classes, and check out the latest gear on the market. There’s no better place to learn how to get started in paddling, network with the best in the paddlesports business, and find the latest gear and accessories. There is a fee of $10 to demo canoes, kayaks and SUPs, but the event and seminars is totally free. Free seminars are offered throughout the day on Saturday and are for all experience levels.
Those who register for the Paddling Challenge will receive a wristband good for the whole day of demos.
Seminars for 2018 include: Sea Kayak Camping 101; Back Country Cooking; Dressing for Paddle Sports; Choosing the Right Kayak; Eight Essential Standup Paddleboard Yoga Poses; Ease of Family Paddling; and Kayak Fishing.
There’s plenty for the kids to do and learn as well including sand castle building on the beach, corn hole and face painting. Kids 8 years and older can kayak in a single or double up with their parents. Even the youngest of paddlers can join in the fun testing out the Aqua Paddler paddleboats.
Northwest Paddling Challenge: Saturday May 12, 10:30 a.m.
This spectator-friendly race features a six-mile course of kayakers, stand-up paddleboarders and outriggers in a three-lap race along the shores. There will also be a two-mile course for those interested in a shorter run or just new to racing. The cost to register is $35 and includes a competitor race T-shirt and a wrist band for on-water demos during the remained of the event. Pre-registration can be done at northwestpaddlingfestival.com or day-of at the event.
When: Friday May 11 – Saturday, May 12, 2018
Hours: Friday 2:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m., Saturday, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Where: Sunset Beach at Lake Sammamish State Park, 2000 N.W. Sammamish Road, Issaquah, WA. From I-90: Drive east to exit #15, and follow the signs to Lake Sammamish State Park.
Parking: Parking is available at Lake Sammamish State Park using a Washington State Discover Pass. A one-day pass is $10 or an annual pass is available for $30. Passes can be purchased at the Park entrance. Passes are also available online or at select retailers for an additional handling fee.