Spokane River Canoe Classic paddle for friends and family
Help celebrate safe and fun boating with the running of the Canoe Classic down the Spokane River on Saturday, June 30, starting at Post Falls, Idaho’s Corbin Park. This is a good, family-fun event showcasing the Spokane River for novice to experienced paddlers.
Said Mountain Gear Store Manager John Schwartz, “If you’ve never paddled the Spokane River, you don’t know what you’re missing.”
This event is sponsored by Mountain Gear with a portion of the proceeds going to the Spokane Canoe and Kayak Club. Participants can register at Mountain Gear’s retail store on N. Division in Spokane, or through a link on the company’s website.
“It’s a way for Mountain Gear as a paddling shop to give back and create some excitement,” Schwartz said. “We’re happy to support the paddling community. We’re happy to get people out on the river. It’s a great way to kick off summer.”
Schwartz announced that this year there will be a category for the fast-growing stand up paddleboard segment. “SUP is the fastest growing part of paddle sports,” Schwartz said. “It needed to be included.” He added that the SUP category is sanctioned by the American Canoe Association this year.
“If I was a novice paddler, I would sign up for the Canoe Classic Citizen’s Division,” Schwartz said. Paddlers in the Citizen’s Division will follow a course from Post Falls downstream to Harvard Road, a distance of 7 miles.
Schwartz reminds the novice paddler that this stretch of the Spokane is characterized by safe and controllable water and that event organizers will have lots of safety boaters in the area. Participants can rent canoes and kayaks from Mountain Gear for the Citizen’s Event.
Schwartz encourages expert paddlers to sign up for the Marathon Event. “It’s a fun 13 miles,” he said, but reminds paddlers that the longer stretch also requires additional skills and gear. The Marathon Course runs from Corbin Park to Plante’s Ferry County Park.
Regardless of skill level, participants will need a canoe, kayak or stand-up paddleboard, paddles, PFDs, a bailing device, a whistle on every PFD and the desire to have fun. Registration starts at 9 a.m. and the race starts at 11 a.m. Shuttle services will be available to bring participants upriver after the event to their cars.
According to Mountain Gear Events Coordinator Phil Bridgers, most people make a day of it especially with the post-race BBQ for registered participants. “Pack a picnic for the family and stick around for the prize drawings awarded in each division,” Bridgers said.
The prize divisions include best costume, most swims, oldest boat, fastest and slowest participants. In the past, awards have gone to teams that dressed up like a crew of Vikings and to a team of pirates. Bridgers said there will also be family-friendly games like Giant Jenga. The prizes? “Lots of cool stuff,” Bridgers said.
Participants can register by themselves or as a team of two. There are 3 categories: Men’s, Women’s, and Mixed (team), with awards for the top finishers in each category. Registration is only $20 per person ($25 per person on the day of the race). Events Coordinator Bridgers is also looking for volunteers of all types to help with the event. Volunteers can contact Phil Bridgers at (509) 340-1151.