Portsmouth Paddle Battle returns with race between aircraft carriers

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The Portsmouth Paddle Battle returns with a splash Sept. 10, featuring kayak and stand-up paddleboard races on the Elizabeth River.

The fundraising event, organized by Friends of the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Museum, is open to racers 16 and older. Activities will center around the High Street basin at the foot of High Street in Olde Towne Portsmouth.

The day also features children’s activities from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. including historic maritime re-enactors, free lightship coloring books and crayons (while they last) and face painting. Enjoy live music from Dan Rosnato from 11:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. and Soul Intent from 2-4:30 p.m. Food and beverages, including adult beverages, will be served, and there will be raffles, free admission to the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Museum, and other fun activities for participants.

The nonprofit Friends of the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Museum provides program and financial support to the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Museum and the Lightship Portsmouth Museum. Proceeds from the event will go to support the museums and the Norfolk Naval Shipyard Oral History Project funded by the nonprofit and created by media production students at I.C. Norcom High School.

Register by 9 a.m. Sept. 8 to race at portsmouthpaddlebattle.org. There are a very limited number of loaner kayaks available on a first-come-first-serve basis.

“This may be the only kayak and SUP race where you can race among aircraft carriers and against tanker ships,” Gary Bahena, president of The Friends of the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Museum, said in a news release. “We are hoping to have as many as 100 racers and to see the riverwalk from High Street to City Hall lined with spectators cheering the racers on,” he added.

Portsmouth Mayor Shannon Glover, who raced in the Portsmouth Paddle Battle last year, said the city hopes the event continues a revival of large water events on the waterfront.

“We hope that this will become a major annual event for Portsmouth and for all of Hampton Roads,” the mayor said.

Kari Pugh, kari.pugh@virginiamedia.com