News & Stories

Free Paddling Clinic Happens Despite Recent Deluges

The Loppet Foundation and Hoigaard’s were able to hold the second of their three free paddling clinics during a narrow window of partial sun between this past week’s deluges. The final paddling clinic takes place at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 25 on Lake Calhoun’s North Beach. Everyone is welcome.

The clinics allow people to try different types of paddling crafts: canoes, kayaks and stand-up paddle boards. On Wednesday participants tried each type. A mother and daughter pair tried stand-up paddles for the first time – they loved it and did not find it as challenging as they anticipated. Raequan Wilson, a current Loppet Adventure Camp counselor and past member of the Loppet Foundation’s Anwatin Middle School Ski & Bike team, took his first spin in a kayak. He obviously picked it up quickly when he told us he had gone over to Lake of the Isles on his adventure. It was a bit windy out there!

mother and daughter pair (Small)Raequan and Bridget (Small)

Meanwhile, I took my seven-year-old son out in a canoe. And the result was just as the Loppet Foundation’s Race and Operations Director, Mike Erickson, warned it would be: my son was too light, and I could not turn the boat!

dean and hoigaard's boat (Small)
My son before our misadventure!

I ended up needing to walk the canoe through the swimming area before we got stranded on the shoreline just past the beach! Thankfully, a 30-something couple helped us out of the lake. To add insult to injury they even carried the canoe back to the Hoigaard’s truck. I was a little embarrassed and extremely grateful. My disappointed son exclaimed, “That was the worst canoe ride EVER!” Thankfully, Raequan was willing to head out with us for a little bit so I could salvage the experience for my kid. We ended up building a sand castle and exploring the playground after a much more successful experience on the lake. (I have since learned that you can fill up jugs of water as ballast. But unfortunately we did not have any on hand.)

Mike Erickson stopped by at the end of the session, and I had to admit that he had completely called what would happen if Dean and I tried to canoe together. He was gracious enough to forgo an I-told-you-so dance. Thanks, Mike!

And thanks to Bridget and the team at Hoigaard’s for offering us boats for people to try. Hope to see you all on Wednesday, June 25 at 6:30 p.m. at Lake Calhoun at the final Loppet-Hoigaard’s Free Paddling Clinic.

boats on the truck (Small)

By Kristen Spargo, Director of Advancement