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Illinois Paddlesports Festival

Free Paddling classes, demos, things to buy and general fun not too far from here. Don’t Miss the 2013 Illinois Paddlesports Festival!

Online registration starts April 1, 2013. I plan to go if others want to come.

The 5th Annual Illinois Paddlesports Festival will take place ON THE 2nd WEEKEND IN JUNE, June 8 & 9, 2013 in Aurora’s beautiful Phillips Park on Mastodon Lake. Free Admission! We pack a lot of paddling fun and action into two full days!  Take a canoe or kayak lesson, try out new paddle craft and check out the skills competitions!  Stay overnight with free camping (IPF participants only) or a discount deal at Aurora’s Comfort Suites, and enjoy the after-the Festival gathering on Saturday evening at the Paddlers Rendezvous. Enjoy live music, great food and beverages, our companion “Art in the Park” Festival and more!  This fun-filled weekend of paddling activities is designed to attract novices and experienced paddlers alike.

The Two-day Illinois Paddlesports Festival Will Feature:

  • Free Festival Admission
  • 2-hour Canoe and Kayak Lessons
  • All the major local paddlesports retailers exhibiting in one place offering Festival discount deals!
  • Free Demos – see and try a wide variety of paddle craft
  • Demonstrations of Advanced Paddling Skills & Expertise
  • Canoe and kayak discounted Festival short term rentals
  • Fox River Paddle Trip Event
  • Free On-site Overnight Camping
  • Paddler’s Rendezvous on Saturday night
  • Advanced Skills Lessons for the seasoned paddler
  • Skills Competitions for all paddlers
  • Art in the Park Festival
    • Includes: Art Exhibit & Sale, Wine Tasting event, Music and More!
  • River and conservation organization’s exhibits
  • Food & Beverage Vendors

You’ll see the best and newest in outdoor sports equipment offered by our exhibitors and major paddlesports equipment manufacturers. Check out displays, and exhibits by various paddling clubs, river and nature conservation organizations.

The Illinois Paddlesports Festival is sponsored by the Illinois Paddling Council and the City of Aurora.

Here is a link to their main website and schedule


Free Paddling Classes

Would you like to learn how to paddle, or learn some new paddling skills?  At the Illinois Paddlesports Festival experienced and friendly American Canoe Association certified instructors will teach FREE introductory and advanced classes in canoeing, sea kayaking and whitewater kayaking.  This is a great opportunity to introduce family members to paddlesports.

Pre-registration is required. All participants must sign a waiver. Children must be 10 years old and any children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult. Limit of one free classes per person. Additional classes are $20 per class subject to availability.

  • Intro to Tandem Canoe – Safety, basic strokes, maneuvers
  • Intro to Solo Canoe – Safety, basic strokes, maneuvers
  • Improve Tandem Canoe – Improve stroke dynamics and maneuvers
  • Improve Solo Canoe – Improve stroke dynamics and maneuvers
  • Intro to Freestyle Canoeing – Concepts of Freestyle/basic strokes and maneuvers
  • Basic Canoe Rescue – Flatwater rescues, boat over boat, self rescues, etc.  *
  • Intro to whitewater canoeing – Whitewater equipment, boats, clothing, helmets, strokes, maneuvers
  • Intro to Coastal Kayaking Rescue – Self and assisted rescues  *
  • Intro to Whitewater Kayaking – Whitewater equipment, boats, clothing, helmets, strokes, maneuvers
  • Intro to Kayak Rolling – Components of the kayak roll  *

* indicates classes guaranteed to get you wet.

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  • Karen K

    I had a great time. The festival itself was not that big but the classes were great. There were opportunities to demo and take intro class in things like paddleboarding too. I was there Sat and heard there were 88 people taking classes. I took one in rolling and one in rescue techniques and both classes were excellent. There was alot of stuff for kids also but they had to be at least 12 to take a class.

    1 · June 9, 2013

    • Karen K

      With the rolling class there was 1 instructor and only 3 of us - a nice ratio. (The other classes were large but not the get wet classes). Anyway Eric had me put a paddlefloat on my paddle. Then you do the roll with the added flotation help on the paddle. I was able to do several "rolls" successfully with the "training wheels" on. So not a real roll but no one had to help get me back up. He suggested using it to get the muscle memory built up for the roll and then gradually decreasing the air in the float. I want to try that if anyone wants to and we find a place to practice. Debra - in Princeton - said we could use her ponds if people want to get together to try out things.

      1 · June 9, 2013

    • Diane S.

      That sounds great - I wish i would have had that tip when I tried to roll and gave up!!!

      June 10, 2013

  • Karen K

    I signed up for the kayak rolling and the kayak rescue classes saturday afternoon at 12:30 and 2:30. If it remains bizarrely cold though - not sure what I'll do since these are both get wet classes. If anyone wants to meetup with me let me know.

    1 · June 3, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Sorry I had to back out of this event. We have too much going on work-wise this weekend.

    June 3, 2013

  • Diane S.

    So much going on this weekend - opted to go to Health freedom expo to hear some dynamite speakers - was a hard decision cause this is an enjoyable event1

    May 27, 2013

  • Mel H.

    Looks like I can't make this weekend. Forgot I have a trip to Iowa scheduled.

    May 17, 2013

  • Karen K

    When do people want to meet-up? This is a 2 day event but I will probably go for 1 day only - If people have signed up for classes maybe you could let us know which ones or which day. I'm trying to decide which day for me.

    May 17, 2013

  • Karen K

    Here are the links again about this program. For some reason they didn't work in the box above.

    1 · March 3, 2013

    • Diane S.

      They worked for me in the original post! ???

      May 3, 2013

  • Carol

    Hey does anyone know when the Henry to Chillicothe paddle event is?

    April 27, 2013

    • Diane S.

      Hi Carol - You can contact the Henry chamber of commerce, but they always have a meeting closer to mid Aug to narrow down the date - lots of entities involved - and then they start planning and advertising.

      May 3, 2013

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