PaddleSplash Festival at Lake Natoma

PaddleSplash Festival at Lake Natoma

By Megan Murphy

PaddleSplash Festival at Lake Natoma

By: Rachel Zirin, Reporter

The theme for this year’s event is water safety and no participant will walk away without understanding how to help a friend in the water, said Shelly Alves-Churilo, owner of Nor Cal SUP.

“This year, as you know, there have been ridiculous amounts of snow and run-off. We want to remind people what might look like calm water, underneath is really fast, really cold running water and can really take you away quickly, even if you are a good swimmer,” Alves-Churilo said. “I am a retired paramedic and those are those calls you don’t want to go on.”

In the spirit of spending time with her three children and going out on the beautiful body of water right here in Folsom, Alves-Churilo created Nor Cal SUP to get more people out on the water for fun activities, such as stand up paddle boarding.

Unlike the past years where paddle boarding was the only option for racing, this year’s event will include prone, kayak and OC (canoe).

During the first day, participants of all ages will get the opportunity to learn the basics of water safety from the California Department of Boating and Water Safety, CA State Parks, the Folsom Lake Junior Lifeguards, local fire departments and On Scene Event Medical Services (OS EMS).

“They are going to come out and put on a display for water safety and practice their drills and skills,” she said. “Boating and Water Safety will have a mobile unit to give out 200 free life jackets. Everyone will learn how to help each other in case one gets in distress in the water.”

Lynn Egen, owner of OS EMS, said she is excited to be able to play a key part in the annual event.

“We love our waterways and we are thrilled to help prepare our Fire and EMS teams in Northern California with this water rescue training that will help keep our friends and neighbors safe while paddling together,” Egen said.

This day is completely free, as well as the welcome party later that evening at the Fat Rabbit.

Special to this event, pro stand up paddler Slater Trout will bring national recognition to the event by providing a kids-only clinic to help promote a safe and fun environment on the water. There will be a meet and greet during the first night.

The second day of the event includes a five-mile race, and participants are asked to arrive at 9 a.m. for a racers meeting with the race kicking off shortly after, Alves-Churilo said.

On the third and last day of the festival, a two-mile race will commence the day with a kids race following. After, the day will conclude with the event’s signature finale involving a four-person team relay around an obstacle course on the water. Team costumes are encouraged.

On September 23, Alves-Churilo said, there will be a follow-up race for more people to come out who may not have been able to make the first round.

“Stand up Paddling is a great activity for the entire family to get involved in. It is a non-impact sport and a great way to build your strength and balance.” Alves-Churilo said. “Yet with any water sport, it is important to understand how to be safe on and around the water.”

This family event is for all ages, she said.

“Last year, we had a 70-year-old man and a 6-year-old girl kicking booty, so this event has a very large age range, Alves-Churilo said.

There is no cap on the amount of participants, but entrance fees do apply. Alves-Churilo encourages those who plan to sign up to do so online. Registration doesn’t close until the night before the event.


Know and Go:

When: Starting at 9 a.m. on July 29-31; Sept. 23

Where: Lake Natoma

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