The third annual OABI returns to Belle Isle this Saturday, August 13 for another year filled with paddleboat racing, live music, a great craft beer selection, and some of the best food vendors around. The event might be young, but it has already earned a reputation of being one the region’s’ best paddleboat racing competitions.
The highlight of the event is certainly the 7-Mile OABI Race, which tests even the most veteran paddleboat, kayak, and surfski racers. OABI stands for “Once Around Belle Isle,” which is the essential outline of the course. The course is all natural and non-buoyed, making it even more challenging to navigate.
Registration is $50 in advance and $75 on the day of the race, which also gets racers an exclusive t-shirt, a gift bag, exclusive entry to the Marley Beverage Hospitality Lounge, and access to the Beach Party. For those who want to enjoy the thrill of a race but don’t know if they can survive a 7-mile competition can sign up for the 2.5-mile race for the same price and package deal.
Individuals looking to get into paddling or fine-tune their skills can sign up for the Moosejaw Paddlerama class. The class includes two 45 minute sessions with some of the Midwest’s most talented paddlers, and offers attendees the opportunity to try out and purchase the latest gear. There are also numerous other classes available, so be sure to check out the schedule.
Paddleboating and kayaking can be fun, but a summer event is not complete without a full blown beach fest. The Beach Party at OABI features some of Michigan’s most unique craft beers and cocktails, a wide range of food, a fun lineup of music, and of course a great view of the Detroit skyline. The New Belgium Beer Garden has great beer choices on tap and a beach to pull up a chair and relax in the summer weather.
On the music side of things, Lee Fields & The Expressions will be headlining the event while The Ragbirds and Eastside Jon will also be performing.
There’s plenty of things to do at this year’s OABI race, whether you’re a professional paddleboat racer, someone who wants to become a paddleboat racer, or just someone looking for a fun summer event before the weather starts to turn. Be sure to check out the website for parking information and additional event details, at www.oabidetroit.com.