South Bass Island Kayak Rendezvous the perfect place for paddling on June 7-9

Fairway Estates

Hundreds of kayakers will be paddling the Lake Erie Islands this week, getting ready for the 15th annual South Bass Island Kayak Rendezvous from June 7-9. One of the most ambitious social gatherings for kayakers in this part of the country, South Bass Island is the perfect paddling location. (Photo by Dale Berlin)

If paddling is a passion for you and your kayaking friends, there is no friendlier place in the country to beach your craft than the Lake Erie Islands, home to the 15th annual South Bass Island Kayak Rendezvous on June 7-9.

“We keep growing every year,” said organizer Eric Slough, who says he grew up with Lake Erie’s water coursing through his veins. “I paddle all over the Great Lakes, but Lake Erie is always home. I try to get out to the islands as much as I can.”

Slough, who had a story on paddling the Lake Erie Islands appear in Sea Kayaker Magazine, points to the Lake Erie Island Water Trails created by local groups and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources for bringing attention to the fabulous paddling opportunities around Ottawa County and the Lake Erie Islands.

“My interest is touring and camping out of my kayaks, and covering 100 miles, or more, over a week,” said Slough.

Slough said the crowds of kayakers keep growing for the South Bass Island Kayak Rendezvous. The attraction of a hand-powered adventure helps people to become enamored of kayaking, he said, and the social aspect of the adventure includes a wealth of other paddlers, camping and hanging out around the campfire in the evenings.

“We keep growing, and more than 120 kayakers joined us for last year’s South Bass Island Kayak Rendezvous,” he said. “Usually, four or five states are represented. Last year, we had a group from Canada paddle over, scouting it out for a return trip by their club from Hamilton, Ontario in 2019.”

A huge potluck dinner on Friday night is a social hot button for paddlers, and guest speakers this year will include Traci Lynn Martin, who made an epic 3,952-mile solo journey circumnavigating the Great Lakes.

“The South Bass Island Kayak Rendezvous is designed as a fun event,” said Slough. “It is amazing, though, the number of people who attend and never knew the Lake Erie Islands existed, or that they were a paddling destination. We were also instrumental in launching the Lake Erie Water Trail last year.”

Paddlers can hope for safe water and paddle over from the many mainland launch sites, or they can take the Miller Ferry from its dock at the end of Catawba Island for a smooth, short ride.

For more information or details, visit sbikayakrendezvous.com

“Most of all, come, paddle, socialize and experience the wonderful gem we call the Erie Islands!” said Slough.

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