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Paddle events a big hit at Negro Bar beach

By: Brett Ransford/Telegraph Correspondent
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The first Surf Tech “A Day at the Beach” standup paddle events and 5K obstacle run kicked off on Saturday morning on the beaches of Folsom’s Negro Bar State Park. Around 200 people attended and participated in events beginning with the Sand Box 5K at 9 a.m. and concluded at 3 p.m. with awards and raffle prizes from the day’s various activities. A Day at the Beach was an attempt to bring the sights, sounds and tastes of paradise to the shores of Folsom and crowded the American River like it were beaches in Hawaii. Events included the 5K obstacle course fun run, Dash for Cash 200-meter sprint, a five-mile paddle race, a Paradise Paddle and Yoga Cove, relay games and the Kiki paddle boarding race for children under 12. Participants in the 5K made their way through a beach-themed obstacle course, which included lava tubes, palm groves, waterfalls, a plank walk and a final dive into the American River upon crossing the finish line. Granite Bay resident Jamie Miller finished the 5K like everyone else, with a splash into the cool water after 3.1 miles of obstacles. She also participated in paddle boarding and the sprint and said the words “obstacle course” on the event’s Website caught her attention and brought her out. “I love obstacle courses and this whole thing is a different type of event,” said Miller. “I love paddleboards and have always wanted to try them. I’d love to do more of these events if there are more.” Registration ran from $20 to $60 based on levels of participation and the event benefitted the Placer Food Bank, Young Survival Coalition, Beautiful Son Foundation and More than Sport. Chris Hollingsworth, owner of Seven Seas Industries, a marketing and event production firm which organizes around 35 events a year, said he hoped the event would raise about $5,000. Surf Tech, a large manufacturer of surf and paddleboards, and Maui Jim, a high-end sunglass retailer, partnered with Hollingsworth and brought the events to the popular aquatic spot. “Our outreach here has just been amazing. For the first time we have people who do not own paddleboards collecting and participating in paddle events,” said Hollingsworth. Nearly 120 people participated in Surf Tech paddle events, including about 50 for the paddle races and numerous others in the Paradise Paddle, which took paddlers on a 1.5-mile loop with four locations name aptly for their paradise theme – Polynesia, Caribbean, Redneck Riviera and Yoga Cove. James Tarzwell, resident of Granite Bay and member of the Upper Natoma Rowing Club, regularly rows Negro Bar and Nimbus Flat State Park on Lake Natoma just down the river. He said about 20 of the total 40 club members came out for the events. “Anything that makes you stronger is well worth it, but anything that makes you stronger and is fun is twice well worth it,” said Tarzwell. “It’s fantastic because the water is a great way to cool down. It sure beats going home and taking a shower after working out.” Jim and Stacy Hall came in from their home in Elk Grove and brought their children from Esparto, Calif., near Woodland and grandchildren from Stockton. “We started paddle boarding about a month ago and knew there would be demos and boards for sale here today so we thought maybe we could come and enjoy and get a good deal,” said Stacy. “It’s a great way to come out and have a fun day and try out all the different brands.” Sponsors and vendors included Boga standup paddle boards, Centurion, Sierra Standup paddle boards, Quicksilver, Bicycles Plus, Holo Holo Hawaiian charters, Delta sportswear, Guayaki, Adventure Sports and more. Hollingsworth said the event partners to raise money for a number of charities and also to get people out to their state parks. He also said he hoped to have the event again next year.