Paddle Around Belle Isle at OABI Detroit

By: Amber Ogden | July 27, 2015
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Whether you’re experienced out on the water or a beginner, there’s no doubt that Belle Isle makes for a beautiful place to spend a summer afternoon. OABI Detroit, a seven-mile paddle race for experienced paddlers, will take place at Belle Isle Beach Park on Saturday, Aug. 8.

OABI (or “Once Around Belle Isle”) Detroit is great fun for the entire family, according to Larry Balone, co-promoter of OABI Detroit and owner of Green Veil Outdoor, a Michigan-based custom designed paddleboard company in Royal Oak.

OABI Detroit

(Photo provided by Larry Balone)

In addition to the official OABI race, Moosejaw Paddlerama will offer a variety of classes, demos, games and guided tours for all skill levels. Attendees can enjoy the vendor fair, Fowling Warehouse beach games, full stage of live music headlined by Joe Hertler and the Rainbow Seekers and local food and beverage.

“Experiencing Detroit from the perspective of Belle Isle on a SUP or kayak is something most Metro Detroiters have not had the opportunity to do,” Balone said. “There is no other event that celebrates the waterways of Detroit in the way people can actually use them in their everyday lives like OABI Detroit does.”

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While seasoned kayakers, canoers, paddleboarders and surf skiers will want to take part in the main event, inexperienced paddlers can enjoy any one of the Moosejaw Paddlerama classes, which are designed with the beginner in mind. Paddleboards and kayaks will be provided.

OABI Detroit

(Photo provided by Larry Balone)

“I’d really recommend getting out and challenging yourself in the SUP Yoga classes,” Balone said. “This is a great supportive opportunity to try something unique under the guidance of our experienced coaches.”

When the OABI race began in 2012, it started with just 25 paddlers and people from the Detroit and Windsor paddling community competing for the OABI Black Blade, the coveted trophy. Years later, and with an expanded program, the trophy is just as important for the men’s and women’s winners of the SUP, kayak and surf ski races.

The OABI race kicks off at 11 a.m., and interested Paddlerama participants can sign up on site starting at noon on August 8. For more information, visit the official website at