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rb paddle day 091414 12All ages and skill levels are invited to take it to the river on Saturday, when Paddle the Navesink Day returns to the Red Bank waterfront, above, while Skimbash brings top Skim USA Pro/Am Tour action to Sea Bright. (Photo above by John T. Ward; below by Peter Lindner)

skimbashThe beach-badge booths are boarded up; the “Bennys Go Home” banners lovingly folded with the care befitting a precious family heirloom. But on the ocean beaches and waterways of the Greater Red Bank Green, it’s still very much Local Summer; a busy interlude of family-friendly festivals, recreational opportunities and other welcome rituals.

The weekend ahead sees the reappearance of three such signifiers of Local Summer living — including the September edition of SkimBash in Sea Bright, and the annual Iron Girl Women’s Triathlon on Sandy Hook.

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rb paddle 091215 5Press release from Red Bank Council President Cindy Burnham

If you have always wanted to kayak or try to paddle board on the Navesink River, but never knew how to get to it, now is your chance! On Saturday, September 10, Red Bank residents and visitors will once again have the chance to demo a kayak, paddle board, rowing shell, or try a class in paddle board yoga — and all for free — at the 6th Paddle the Navesink Day.

Going on from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m., the event takes place at Maple Cove (foot of Maple Avenue), the only public access site in Red Bank where you can hand launch a small non motorized craft in the Navesink River.

Just West of Maple Cove is Navesink River Rowing, which will be holding an open house to offer people the chance to demo a rowing shell and get information regarding their adult and youth rowing programs.

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rb paddle 091215Rowers, kayakers, canoers, standup paddlers and others gathered at Red Bank’s Maple Cove Saturday afternoon for the fifth edition of Paddle the Navesink Day. The free, get-aquainted-with-the-waterway event runs until 4 p.m., rain or shine.  (Photo by Trish Russoniello. Click to enlarge)


rb paddle day 091414 2Rowers, kayakers, canoers, standup paddlers and the just-plain-interested are invited to Maple Cove this Saturday, when Paddle the Navesink Day offers area residents a new perspective on Red Bank’s most beautiful asset and resource.

It’s about kayaking, canoeing, sailing, rowing, standup paddling. Actually, it’s about the history, culture, and ecology of the waterway from which a vibrant community took shape. Or perhaps more to the point, it’s about the opportunity to get acquainted — or to fall in love all over again — with the greater Red Bank Green’s most beautiful asset, resource, pride and joy.

When the event known as Paddle the Navesink Day returns for a fifth edition this Saturday, September 12, the rain-or-shine, late-summer “free community-wide celebration” will once again represent a unique convergence of local businesses, boating clubs and nonprofit organizations that’s hands-on, oars-in, and ready to make a believer of anyone who might have taken the river’s charms for granted.

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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.”

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Scenes from Paddle the Navesink Day, captured by Peter Lindner. (To enlarge the photo display, start it, then click the embiggen symbol in the lower right corner. To get back to redbankgreen, hit your escape key.


Bill and Jean Trudell were not friends with Ann Halligan before Saturday. Then, all of a sudden, a couple of kayaks brought them together.

By day’s end they were chatting over burgers at Monmouth Boat Club, retracing their strokes on the Navesink earlier.

The Trudells, of Hazlet, now have a paddle pal in Halligan, who lives in Rumson. All three, thanks to Saturday’s first Paddle the Navesink Day, are now leaning towards buying kayaks and hitting the water more often. None of the three had ventured out on the river that way before Saturday.

By that measure, you can call Paddle Day a success, and Cindy Burnham, who co-founded the river celebration, certainly did.

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Before there was Maple Cove, Jim Crawford didn’t fully appreciate that he lived in a river town.

But not long after the town council designated the undeveloped plot of borough-owned land at the foot of Maple Avenue as an official access to the Navesink River, Crawford became the owner of not one but two kayaks, and is now a river regular.

Same went for Wendy Spencer, who lived for years in Red Bank looking at the river, but not experiencing it. She, too, has a couple kayaks now, and is a frequent paddler.

Recent attention to the little-known river access spot “has opened the eyes of so many people to kayaking and canoeing,” said the American Littoral Society‘s Kathleen Gasienica, a breathing encyclopedia of all things river-related.

But while Maple Cove has begun to attract renewed interest the river, the small beach area will only be one component in a day-long celebration intended to enlighten Red Bankers and others about the natural and recreational wonders of the Navesink.

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