If you’re wondering if a Greenland Qajaq Roll is a kind of sushi using Atlantic salmon, guess again. It’s actually an uprighting technique that could save you from drowning, if you’re kayaking in rough water and capsize your craft. You can learn it from an expert this Saturday, along with lots of other useful information for recreational boaters, at the annual Kingston Kayak Festival, sponsored by Kenco and the Forsyth Nature Center and held at Kingston Point Beach.
The Festival isn’t just for experienced paddlers, although there will be some relatively advanced workshops like “How to Repair a Composite Canoe or Kayak” as well as the Greenland Qajaq Roll Clinic. Newbies and the merely kayak-curious are also invited; there will be half-hour “Kayaking 101” sessions for the novice at 12:30, 1:45 and 2:45 p.m. The Forsyth Nature Center’s Steve Noble will lead guided Kingston Point Kayak Tours setting out at 11 a.m., 1, 2:15 and 3:15 p.m.; you can bring your own boat or borrow one on-site to join the flotilla. Among its many other attractions, Kingston Point is a prime place to spot bald eagles fishing for their lunch.
As usual, many of the workshops offer guidance on how to decide what type and model of kayak to buy, if you’re in the market – not to mention crucial accessories like paddles and Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs). New this year are several workshops on paddleboarding: “Learn to Paddleboard” and “How to Pick a Stand-Up Paddleboard.” These will be taught by representatives from Hudson Valley Stand-Up Paddleboards and Bic Stand-Up Paddleboards.
Also on hand will be factory reps from car rack, PFD and water shoe manufacturers, as well as a long list of kayak and canoe companies including Dagger, Delta, Emotion, Hurricane, Mad River, Native Watercraft, Nucanoe, Perception, Swift and Wilderness Systems. You can buy gear at the Festival (“great deals” are promised), or just try out a demo of the latest model. You can learn a lot about proper fit just by sitting in the cockpits of different kayaks while they’re resting on land, but there will be crafts available that you can paddle around the beach area as well.
While you’re at the Festival poking around the various enticing equipment displays, make sure that you take a moment to sign the “Wear it New York Pledge,” making a voluntary commitment to wear a regulation PFD whenever you’re out for a paddle – which is something that you’d be wise to do anyway: Conditions on the water can change very fast. When you sign up, you’ll receive a free tee-shirt from the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and be entered in a drawing to win a free PFD.
The Kingston Kayak Festival runs from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Saturday, June 9, rain or shine. Your price of admission is a $10 donation benefiting the great environmental education programs of the Forsyth Nature Center. Children age 10 and under get in free, but must be supervised by an adult at all times. Advance tickets can be purchased until June 6 at Kenco, located on Route 28 just west of Kingston, online at www.forsythnaturecenter.org/calendar.html?task=view_event&event_id=263 or at Kingston Point Beach on the day of the event. The entrance to Kingston Point Park is located on Lower Delaware Avenue in East Kingston. For the full schedule, visit www.kingstonkayakfestival.info.