Outdoor

Marie McAden

SOUTH CAROLINA INSIDER

 

Baker Creek State Park hosts PaddleMACK kayak event

Posted 8/23/2013 4:06:00 PM

Think you’ve got a mean paddle stroke? Bring it to McCormick’s Baker Creek State Park Sept. 2 for the Second Annual PaddleMACK, a paddle-palooza featuring boat races, guided eco-tours and a kayak course for those who just want to play around in the water.

Registration starts at 8:30 a.m. at the park pavilion overlooking the beautiful Lake Thurmond. Paddling events kick off an hour later. For the speed heats, racers will follow a flat water sprint course demarcated by buoys. Competitors will race in divisions based on age and gender with plenty of prizes to go around.

No points are taken off for bad style.

“I know it wasn’t pretty, but I just paddled like crazy,” recounted MACK program director Heather McNally, who participated in last year’s PaddleMACK. “I felt like a duck trying to take flight.”

A second lake course will be set up for kids, beginners or anyone who wants to paddle without the pressure of competition. The short route will require little technical skill.

Guides from the Little River Blueway and Earth Connections Outfitters also will be offering 30-minute eco-tours that start out in Lake Thurmond and venture into Baker Creek.

Participants are encouraged to bring their own boats, PFDs and paddles, but there will be an assortment of kayaks and stand up paddle boards available at no charge for anyone who would like to go on the tour, race in the competition or paddle the introductory course.

And just to be sure everyone complies with state law requiring boaters carry an “efficient sound-producing device,” White’s Marine will be handing out free whistles to all participants.

PaddleMACK is a fundraiser for the McCormick Arts Council at the Keturah (otherwise known as the MACK). Registration fee for the event is $15. If you sign up in advance, you won’t have to pay the $2 park entrance fee.

To register online, click here. For more information, call (864) 852-3216.