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Paddlers stand up on Lake Colby

June 26, 2012
By MIKE LYNCH - Outdoors Writer ( , Adirondack Daily Enterprise

SARANAC LAKE - A little slice of the West Coast lifestyle made its way to Lake Colby on Saturday with the first-ever Adirondack Stand-up Paddleboard Festival.

The festival featured a full schedule of stand-up paddling, or SUP, activities and free demos from a host of vendors. The event was organized by Adirondack Lakes and Trails Outfitters of Saranac Lake, which plans to make it an annual event because of the strong turnout.

One of the representatives was Jan Brabant of Clayton, who was with Hobie, a company that makes stand-up paddleboards.

Article Photos

Stand-up paddleboarders hit the water of Lake Colby on Saturday as part of the Adirondack Stand-up Paddleboard Festival.
(Enterprise photo — Mike Lynch)

"The biggest thing is, I (say) to people is look up in the sky, 'Do you see a scoreboard up there?'" he said. "That's what SUP is all about. Just go out there and have a ball. Who cares if you wipe out, fall off. You're just out there for fun. It's so easy. You grab the paddle and you grab the board and the PFD and go."

That's exactly what most people did Saturday afternoon. One of main focuses of the festival was to introduce people to the sport of SUP, which is already popular on the West Coast and Southeast, but is still relatively new here.

For 19-year-old Allison Stone, it was her first time trying out the activity. She came to the festival because her aunt from Saranac Lake was interested in trying out the boards. Stone herself is from Georgia.

"It was really fun and it was great exercise, using your core," Stone said. "It's something I've never done before."

But not all the participants were first-time users. Young Emily Gilmore of Lake Placid has had the opportunity to use one her parents purchased.

"It's been fun," Gilmore said. "This is the second year I've been paddleboarding. We own an inflatable paddleboard, and I've been out in the water a lot, especially Mirror Lake. I just love how it's open and it's almost like a surfboard."

Like many of the people at the festival, she found the activity pretty easy to pick up. She said it's not hard but "if you're just starting, the paddling might be a little difficult."

Overall, the organizers considered the event a success. There was a steady stream of people who attended the event and a strong showing in the various races held throughout the day. In the morning, there were a few serious races. In the afternoon, the races were solely for fun. There were tandem races, dog and paddler races and kids races.

"Since late this morning we had a lot of people come out," said Adirondack Lakes and Trails owner Steve Doxzon. "Everyone wanted to try boards and get on boards. Even with a little bit of rain and thunder, we still managed to keep the day going and people hung in there."

The rain storm hit in the early afternoon and caused the lifeguards to take people off the water, but the individual storms didn't last long. Paddlers were able to get back on the water once they passed. By early evening, there were still a couple dozen people on the water.

Brabant hopes this event encourages more people to try out the sport. He's definitely made an attempt to put it in the spotlight. For the past two years, he's paddled an SUP in the three-day, 90-mile Adirondack Canoe Classic, an event usually limited to canoes and kayaks.

"I had my reservations seven or eight years ago, and then all the sudden I tried it and said, 'this is The Real McCoy,'" Brabant said. "It's great conditioning for skiers and that's what I really like about it because we do a lot of snow kiting in the winter and it gets my whole body in shape - and it's fun.

"Up on the islands on Lake Ontario, everyone gets together to downwinders, where you'll get 10-foot seas coming off of Lake Ontario. Then you just go down wind and you have a ball. Just going for the ride."


2012 Adirondack SUP Festival

Lake Colby, Saranac Lake

Saturday's Race Results

Long Course Elite (6 miles)

Daniel P. Mongo (Asheville, NC)58:10
Ross Stevens (New York)1:00
Matt Young (Lake Placid)1:02
Kenny Unser (Westport, CT)1:08
Long Course Stock (6 miles)
Women Under 50
Danielle Deforest (South Wellfleet, Mass)1:05
Kaitlyn Fowle (Booth Bay, ME)1:06
Women Over 50
Mary Scheerer (Sag Harbor)1:05
Shari Hymes (Sag Harbor)1:08
Men Over 50
Justin Beckwith (Waitsfield, Vt)1:06
Bill Frazer (Lake Placid)1:06
Short Course Stock (3 miles)
Women Under 50
Maggie Trabeau (Albany)43:20
Andria Evans (Lake Placid)51:20
Over 50 Women
Robyn Rutkie (Loudonville)44:20
Short Course Recreation (3 miles)
Women Under 50
Sara Lindsay (Lake Placid)46:50
Melinda Frazer (Lake Placid)48:30
Women Over 50
Irene Przylucki (Albany)58:20
Men Over 50
Shane Wohlrabe (Glenmount)44:20
Thomas Johns (Sunbury, Pa)47:10



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