Paddle the Canal returns to Big Spring Park

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Paddle The Canal

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Have you ever just felt like racing through the Big Spring Park waterways? Well here is your chance! The urban kayaking event Paddle the Canal 2018, hosted by Downtown Huntsville Inc. and Redstone Federal Credit Union, is returning on April 21.

Registration is still open and this year, all RFCU members get free access to General Paddling.

You can sign up to compete in the Elite Paddle group (complete with chip-timing and awards) or the General Paddle group and have some fun on the water! You can find all the registration details here:

If getting wet isn’t your thing, spectators are welcome to cheer and enjoy the festival atmosphere with live music, food trucks, vendors and an open entertainment district.

North Alabama Canoe & Kayak – NACK is providing single-person kayaks for this event so you don’t have to transport yours unless you want to!

If you are doing the RFCU General Paddle for free, please bring proof of your membership and an ID. Everyone should bring an ID and we will have waivers when you check in. You will need to check in at the DHI tent to receive your bracelet before the starters will load you into kayaks.

Elite Paddlers will be chip-timed and go one-at-a-time on the course first thing Saturday morning. The cost of Elite Paddle is $25/person and, although you will only be chip-timed once, you can take up to 2 practice runs. There will be prizes for the winners of Elite Paddle.

General Paddle will immediately follow the Elite Paddle on Saturday. They will limit the number of people on the course, but you may pass other kayakers on the out-and-back stretch. A clock will be running so you can time yourself and your friends, but there won’t be chip timing.

The course is the canal between the Embassy Suites and the Von Braun Center, starting at Rotary Fountain, circling Thrasher Fountain and back.

WHNT News 19 anchors Steve Johnson and Melissa Riopka will be racing in a paddle relay against Dan and Josie of WDRM 1021 in a pre-event race on Thursday morning at 10:30a.m.  Come on out to see which morning team wins.  If you can’t be there, we’ll stream the race for bragging rights live on our Facebook page.


How long is the race?

About 520 meters.

Are there ID or minimum age requirements to enter the event?

Minimum age to paddle is 18 years old. Children can ride in a kayak with a parent if you provide your own kayak or canoe.

Can my child ride with me in the kayak or canoe?

Yes, as long as you bring your own vessel.

What are my transportation/parking options for getting to and from the event?

Paid parking will be available at the VBC South Hall Parking Deck and Monroe Street Parking Deck. There is some free on-street parking surrounding the venue. Kayak/canoe drop off areas will be available behind the VBC South Hall.

What can/can’t I bring to the event?

You can bring cameras, strollers, pets on leashes, and signs to cheer on the paddlers. You can’t bring glass bottles or outside alcohol.

How can I contact the organizer with any questions?

Please email

What’s the refund policy?

The event is rain or shine unless severe weather is present.

Do I have to bring my printed ticket to the event?

Nope. We’ll have your name on a list at the event.

Is my registration fee or ticket transferrable?

Sure, if you’d like. Just let us know to whom you’d like it transferred.

When does registration close?

For General Paddle, Friday, April 20th at noon. For Elite Paddle, Tuesday, April 17th at noon.


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