Paddle down to L.L. Bean next weekend

Come summer, it seems you can’t drive 10 miles on any Maine road without seeing a half-dozen vehicles with kayaks strapped to them. Canoes, while not nearly as ubiquitous, are also pretty common.

This is Maine, after all. And even if you never venture Down East or visit the many seaside towns that have thriving sea kayaking businesses, there’s plenty of other water to explore. Ponds and lakes abound. Streams and rivers as well. Many of those waters can be enjoyed while paddling a canoe, kayak or stand-up paddle board.

If you’re an avid paddler (or have always wanted to give the sport a try), Maine’s iconic outdoor retailer is again offering a weekend with you in mind.

The 32nd annual PaddleSports Weekend is set for June 7-9, and several waterfront activities are scheduled June 8-9 at the L.L. Bean Paddling Center, not far from the store itself.

Paddlers will have the chance to test hundreds of kayaks, canoes and stand-up paddle boards, and industry vendors will be on hand to discuss their products.

Those interested in testing their skills against others can take part in SUP races Saturday and Sunday. Call 888-552-3261 to register. Two-time Olympic snowboard gold medalist Seth Wescott will be on hand on Saturday to visit racers, sign autographs and hand out post-race awards.

L.L. Bean’s Outdoor Discovery Schools will be offering 90-minute tandem kayak tours, SUP tours and kayak discovery courses.

An additional attraction for the non-handy among us: If you buy a car rack system or component during the event, L.L. Bean will install it on your vehicle for free.

Then you’ll be ready to join all those other kayak-toting motorists you’ve been envying for years.

John Holyoke

About John Holyoke

John Holyoke has been enjoying himself in Maine's great outdoors since he was a kid. Today, he's the Outdoors editor for the BDN, a job that allows him to meet up with Maine outdoors enthusiasts in their natural habitat. The stories he gathers provide fodder for his columns, and this blog.