paddle-day-10A beginner gets acclimated with the water at last year’s inaugural Paddle the Navesink Day. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

Red Bank has its share of river-themed events. There’s Riverfest in June, a three-day bonanza of food and entertainment. There’s Kaboom Fireworks on the Navesink, one the nation’s largest pyrotechnics shows. Rowing and sailing regattas dot the calendar three seasons of the year, and there’s even the occasional iceboat race.

But only Paddle the Navesink Day encourages visitors who have no affiliation with boating clubs to actually get out onto, and into, our beautiful Navesink River in myriad ways, to satisfy myriad curiosities.

“Many people know about Red Bank, the shopping and dining, but they know very little about the water,” said Linda Ensor, who as part of Navesink River Rowing Club helps organize Paddle Day. “The Navesink River is really a gem, and it’s a very, very diverse body of water.”

NRR, along with a handful of other river-minded groups, put together Paddle Day to foster awareness about the river’s ecosystems, history, athletic challenges, excitement and wonders.

This year adds on to the success of last year’s inaugural festival, with increased hours for lessons in rowing, sailing and kayaking; a west-to-east riverwalk; open houses; and a tour of a boat, the Mum Runner.

Portions of a press release on the event below (the full release can be read here):

Environmental groups will provide information on the ecology of the rivers and will host hands-on activities for the kids. In Marine Park, local boating, fishing and water sport vendors, as well as locally based fitness and health related organizations, will distribute information on their products and service.

As it did last year, this event will commence at Maple Cove, which is located at the foot of Maple Ave. in Red Bank. Here, the Jersey Paddler of Brick and Eastern Mountain Sports of Eatontown will have 40 different types of kayaks to demo. With a guide, people will be able to go on a short paddle along the Navesink River’s shore and see Red Bank from the water. All participants will be provided life vests and paddles, and the demo sessions are free. Greg Weber, from Boardworks, will have paddle boards to demo. Adjacent to Maple Cove, Navesink River Rowing will host learn-to-row sessions and will provide information on the programs it offers to adults and to youth who are at least fourteen years old.

Taken together, the events aim to celebrate the river’s rich heritage, Ensor said.

Last year’s event drew about 300 visitors, many from out of town. River regulars took it as an opportunity to immerse themselves in a favorite past-time, and newcomers dipped their toes into activities like kayaking, canoeing and paddling.

All the agencies and organizations that participated reported “really good turnout,” Ensor said, and most will return this year.

“It was beneficial both for their mission in marketing sports to the public, but also signing people up for lessons,” she said.

Paddle the Navesink Day, on Saturday, September 17, will begin at 10 a.m.