This third annual family event encourages novices and experienced kayakers to get out on the city’s waterways for a fun morning afloat.
- by Maurice Singleton
“The city hosts the event to showcase Paradise Bayou and how you can be active in the community,” said Natalie Guess, Diamondhead’s Main Street coordinator. “This is a great way to get active, get out of the house and enjoy some of the natural assets that we have.”
The paddlers will begin at the kayak launch station on the left side of the boat launch at the Lazy Gator restaurant. Registration begins at 8:00 am, and the first 100 registrants will receive a goody bag and a Paddle Paradise tee shirt.
“It’s smooth, very natural, and it’s beautiful – a serene, quiet bayou that people can paddle knowing that they are pretty safe,” said Guess about Paradise Bayou.
“It’s not a race,” Guess added. “You travel at your own pace. It’s a leisure paddle to get people out and about.”
Guess pointed out that the event is not just for skilled paddlers; it’s perfect for those who are eager to see what kayaking is all about and want to give it a try. You don’t have to own a kayak; two organizations that provide kayak rentals are supporting the event. Mississippi Kayaks will have some kayaks available at the event. Participants may also contact Everything Kayak of Gulfport prior to the event to make rental arrangements.
“It’s something that the whole family can participate in, and there’s no charge to participate,” said Diamondhead resident Mike Fandal, who helped map out the four-mile route for the paddle. “It’s not strenuous.”
Fandal also pointed out that there are safety measures in place to monitor event participants. He added that there are three powerboats in place to lead and track participants and to keep boat traffic away from them. One of the boats is manned by the Department of Marine Resources.
Guess said that in addition to the paddling experience, an after-party will feature food by the Funky Monkey Food Truck and the Lazy Gator, and entertainment will be provided by the band Galz & Geezerz.
Vendors will also be set up to provide giveaways and information on a variety of topics, including the Diamondhead School of Fine Arts, Oschner Hospital, and the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies.
While last year’s Paddle Paradise was a toned-down event due to an uptick in the Covid 19 pandemic, this year’s event is expected to draw more than 150 kayakers, paddle boarders and canoeists. To register or for more information, visit the Paddle Paradise website at diamondhead.ms.gov.
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