This month marks the third annual kick-off of “Celebrate Paddling ADK” in Saranac Lake. But, just because June is almost over doesn’t mean that you can’t still enjoy the thin ribbons of clean waterways throughout the summer. The moniker is just a reminder that a series of paddling-activities and events are available to introduce you to recreational water sports in Saranac Lake. It’s also a great way to get to know the outfitters in the area before you buy or rent.

I had the chance to speak to one of those outfitters, Jason Smith of Adirondack Lakes and Trails Outfitters, last weekend over a flight of local crafts at Blue Line brewery.

“We coined the phrase to bring more people to the town in June when it’s not super busy,” he said. “That includes slide shows, trivia nights, presentations and paddling clinics.”

This is Smith’s second summer owning the popular rental shop but he’s worked on site for the past twenty. He talked about the mainstream popularity of the standup paddle board or SUP, for short.
His team held on-water demos and dry-land clinics on dozens of boards during a 3-day SUP Festival held a few weeks ago.

As a kid, I was always told to “Sit down! You’ll tip the boat,” when I stood up. But, today, standing is what you need to do to propel the surf-like craft forward. Having a good sense of balance is helpful too. Dad admits that he’s still fond of his army-green 1976 Old Town Tripper.

Smith advised Dad, “You should keep that canoe. Those aren’t that cheap anymore!”

Besides Adirondack Lakes and Trails Outfitters other equally knowledgable shops in the region include St. Regis Canoe Outfitters, Mac’s Canoe Livery, Raquette River Outfitters, Paul Smith’s VIC and Placid Boatworks.   St. Regis Canoe Outfitters is a family owned business with a lifetime of knowledge and super friendly.  Portage your rental from the desk, across the street and into the river, super convenient!

With no time to rent, I called my friend and owner of Harbor Hill Cottages (idyllic rental camps on the Lake Flower shoreline), Denise Bujold, who kindly let us borrow a couple kayaks for a quick 15-minute spin.   It’s wasn’t SUPs but the kayaks got us closer to a lone loon diving and resurfacing in the water. As always, thank you, Denise.

A flight selection of local craft beers brewed in and around Saranac Lake, NY. My favorite: the Old Mountain Milk Stout. Dad’s favorite: the 90 Miler DIPA.
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