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East Coast Paddlesports & Outdoor Festival

Mark Dilday, Leah Andersen, Audra Gibson, and Keaton Forrester - one fine pretend news team.
Mark Dilday, Leah Andersen, Audra Gibson, and Keaton Forrester - one fine pretend news team. Images courtesy of Charleston County Parks

My first taste of the East Coast Paddlesports and Outdoor Festival was a bit different than most participants....mostly because I was wearing a fake mustache and dressed like Ron Burgundy. Though different, it was quite pleasant all the same. The Thursday before the festival kicked off, Traveling Ink had been invited by Charleston County Parks and Recreation to particpate in the Ron Burgundy Media Challenge, and I was more than happy to assemble a team. Professionals from various news and media outlets came together to get a sneak peak of the festival, participate in a paddling relay race, and channel the energy and couture of the movie Anchor Man (costumes were encouraged).


Ron Burgundy Media Challenge.
Practice run before the relay began.

The team arrived at James Island County Park, and we were given a quick overview and practice time with our individual craft. Two team members paddled a canoe, one member raced a kayak, and one anchored the relay with a stand up paddleboard. If you've never paddled with a business suit and tie on, well, I don't recommend it. But we had an incredible time. We finished second in the relay race, and brought home Traveling Ink's first award as a company- Best Dressed Team.


Paddling across the lake at James Island County Park.
Paddling across the lake at James Island County Park.

The Media Challenge just whet my appetite to return to the park that weekend for the full festival. I returned with a crew of friends Saturday and Sunday and took advantage of the $10 "Try It" passes which allowed us to try different kayaks, SUPs, archery, mountain bikes, disk golf, and team building activities.

There were more vendors with "toys" to try out than we had time in two afternoons. We went from place to place testing out different makes and models of water and outdoor gear. This event is an optimal place for potential buyers to compare different gear before buying. A number of the vendors also had special discounts available for the weekend, so that buyers who made their choices also got a deal on their purchases. My two favorites of the weekend were the Cetus LV kayak made by P&H Sea Kayaks and brought by Sea Kayak Carolina and the Tempest OC-2 outrigger brought by William Dion of Though they were different types of watercraft, both provided a smooth, steady ride and were easy and fun to paddle.

The fun weekend of outdoor activities would have been enough on its own, but the festival also provided the extra entertainment of live music and demonstrations by the Gibbon Slackline team who put on an impressive show of balance and athleticism. Dates are already set (April 11th -13th) for the 2014 East Coast Paddlesports and Outdoor Festival. 

Anyone interested in outdoor sports or just a fun weekend outside with their family or friends should plan on attending this annual event put on by Charleston County Parks and Recreation next year.

Audra Gibson

Audra Gibson is a Christian, photographer, surfer, and a lover of teriyaki steak bites. She enjoys live music, doesn't like to be cold, and she's a bit of a cheese snob. Traveling Ink was her little brain child and she's very happy that you're here. She'd be oh so happy to recommend her favorite tours and attractions in town, help you with a team building event, or organize a day (or week) of fun for you and your group.


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