Calusa Palooza paddling race returns April 7
The third-annual Calusa Palooza, a competitive race event organized by the College of Life Foundation for paddling enthusiasts, returns April 7. The event will be held at Koreshan State Park, 3800 Corkscrew Road, Estero, along Lee County Parks & Recreation’s Great Calusa Blueway. The Estero River race includes events for standup paddle boarders (SUPs) as well as kayaks, outrigger canoes and surf-skis.
This is an American Canoe Association-sanctioned race that will include an 8-mile race, 4-mile race and a free quarter-mile Calusa Kids Race. More than 80 paddlers from Florida attended last year’s Calusa Palooza.
The event is free for spectators, and several locations along the river offer vantage points.
This year, Calusa Palooza organizers hope to attract even more local participants and spectators. A renewed emphasis will be placed on introducing more people to paddling as a family-oriented event. There will be free kayaks and SUPs available through Estero River Outfitters on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Pre-registration is required for racers. There will not be an opportunity to register the day of the event. Race entries are $35. All proceeds from Calusa Palooza will benefit a summer camp for underprivileged youth, which includes youth paddling sports in Southwest Florida and an environmental workshop.
“My goal as a race director is to get our community involved in paddle sports while supporting a great cause,” said Brandy Minchew, Calusa Palooza race director. “This race is not only for our local competitive racers, but for our everyday paddler as well. I have the honor of offering a summer camp for underprivileged youth every summer and without the proceeds from this race, I would not be able to do this. Our community is so supportive.”
To register or for full event schedule visit
Out-of-area paddlers and spectators can book lodging at a discounted rate at www.floridastateparks.org/park/koreshan.
* 8-8:45 a.m. Check-in
* 9 a.m. Race Meeting
* 9:15 a.m. Races begin (staggered starts)
* 10:30 a.m. Calusa Kids’ Race
* Noon(ish) Lunch / Social picnic area
* Awards Ceremony to follow lunch
Event sponsors include FineMark Bank, Coconut Point Ford, The Great Calusa Blueway, Rotary Club of Estero, BayWater Boat Club, Koreshan State Park, Argo, Boral Engineering & Design, RiverGlades, Sanibel Sea School, and LAI Group of Florida.
For event information, call Minchew at 239-992-2184 or email email@example.com. Find the College of Life Foundation on Facebook or www.collegeoflifefoundation.org/. Calusa Blueway trail information is atwww.calusablueway.com or www.leeparks.org/blueway.