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Prepare for Paddlemania!

Whitewater kayaking can be an extreme sport but it can also be for the casual paddler who enjoys Class I and II rapids.

Organizer Cliff Langley said these novice and veteran styles converge at Paddlemania, where expert and novices share in good times.

Set for Saturday, June 28, at the Outpost in Thomson on the St. Louis River, Paddlemania is an event where whitewater paddlers from around the region and nation converge to enjoy the beauty and the challenge of the St. Louis River’s rapids.

This open-to-the-public event is also for those who are interested in getting into whitewater kayaking, but aren’t sure how.

Kayak demonstrations start at 10 a.m. June 28, when folks will have the opportunity to observe kayaking basics and have the opportunity to hop in kayak in a controlled setting to “get a feel” for the kayak, Langley said, adding there will be three 30-minute sessions between 10 a.m. and noon.

The Blast to the Bridge Whitewater Kayak Race, on the other hand, starts  heats at 2 p.m. and features expert whitewater kayakers who will paddle the steep and technical rapids of the lower St. Louis River through the heart of Jay Cooke State Park. Racers begin below the Thomson dam and race to the finish line. The best time to the Swinging Bridge in Jay Cooke State Park wins.

Langley suggests spectators check with the information table for the best spots to watch the Blast to the Bridge heats. There is no charge to watch, but spectators need a Minnesota State Park sticker or a $5 day pass from the park.

Visit Paddlemania and Blast to the Bridge on Facebook for more information.