East Coast Canoe and Kayak Festival

We are getting ready to attend our first East Coast Canoe and Kayak Festival and hope some of you can answer some of our questions. This looks like a really special event, yet almost nothing is being discussed, here, online so far. While many training activities include boats and equipment provided, we wonder if it’s advisable to bring any of our own boats to the Festival. We plan to camp there. Is security good, in terms of not having to worry about boats disappearing? All you experienced attendees, what advice can you offer for some new attendees? What about “off the schedule” events?

In discussion forum

It fizzled out, tho.

Boats provided, but bring your own
I went last year to the East Coast Canoe and Kayak Festival. It was great! I will return. H2Outfitters has a flotilla of boats for use in their classes, but you might want to have your own boat (and PFD and paddle) so you can learn its characteristics. Security is no problem. It is in a large park with its own security system. The small lake where the classes are held, including the exhibit area, is very secure. Only ticket holders can enter. Of course, use common sense and don’t leave valuables lying around.

Paddling is great in the Charleston area. That is another reason to bring your own boats. Numerous vendors offer many opportunities to try boats and equipment, such as paddles. Worth the time and money to attend and learn from excellent coaches.

East Coast Canoe and Kayak Festival
It looks like this fizzled out too. C’mon guys, from what I understand, this is the biggest paddling event in the southeast; it’s less than six weeks away, and nobody is talking about it? (Thanks to those who did reply, online and privately.)

Here’s a chance to get formal training from the pros, classroom-style and on-water, look at neat paddling stuff and socialize with other paddlers. I now know the security’s good, but what about the food? (Are there vendors besides what the park service offers?) From what I understand, boats are provided for training sessions, but it’s a good idea for us to bring our own boats and equipment. Also, now’s the time to register, before some of the activities fill up.

Food opportunities
Last year food stalls for hot dishes, sandwiches, wraps, sodas, etc. were among the vendors at the lake during the day.

Two evening “feasts” are held in a large, attractive dining facility. Last year they decorated it by hanging kayaks from the lofty ceiling! Many local dishes are offered in cafeteria lines, and diners can mingle at large tables which seat ten or twelve. Bring your own wine. As for the food quality, I was somewhat disappointed (steam tables tend to over-cook many dishes). But they had a great variety of dishes and no one could complain about quantity!

They also offer breakfasts, but I did not sign up for them.

Not far from the park are restaurants and super markets where food can be had. And, of course, if you are camping there is your own grill or fire pit or camp stove. But, with so many things to do and see, you will have a hard time finding the time to cook for yourself!

on James Island is a great event. It’s a wonderful opportunity to try a range of different kayaks. Register for the classes early because the best ones fill up. If you can take a few extra days the paddling around Charleston in the ocean, in the tidal rivers and in the marshes is spectacular. The temperature (both water and air) is usually comfortable at the end of April.

There are plenty of resources close by for shopping, dining out, and sightseeing.

Unfortunately have to miss it this year, myself, as I’ll be out of town for business. I count it as a big loss.

Purchase a Kayak
Is the East Coast Kayak Festival a good place to purchase a kayak? Can good deals be found? I’m looking for a P&H LV Quest or something similar.

Unfortunately, I’m only able to attend on Sunday. I’m basically interested in the kayak demos and exhibit hall so I just need the $15 day pass, right?

East of Maui has a Quest LV
East of Maui just went out of business, the owner (Mike) still has several kayaks at less than wholesale prices. He does have a new Quest LV (white over white I think).

Yes, you just need the day pass to try out boats.

If you need his phone number let me know.

Sweet. I just sent him an email. Do you know anything about the Quest LV. I’ve heard good reviews but have not paddled it yet.

Thanks again!!

it is a good boat
you can probably try one out at the ECCKF and buy it from Mike if you like it.

The Quest LV is designed as an expedition boat for smaller paddlers, but works well for larger paddlers who don’t need to carry a lot of gear. It is fast, stable, and tracks fairly well. It also carves turns fairly well. Give it a try.

East Coast Canoe and Kayak Festival
Thanks for your replies everybody. Your comments confirmed my expectations, Hermiting. I was concerned that we would be too busy to cook and we didn’t want to put out that much money when we know nothing about what’s on the menu. It looks like we need to bring eat-and-run food, like sandwiches . . . that and hit the vendors if we don’t have time to get back to the campsite to eat. The camp sites provide fire circles, but not grills, so cooking that way would take longer also. Ah, and the wine thing . . . good idea! In moderation though; I wouldn’t want to get a PWI charge.


Have been many times, but won’t be going this hear.

–You’ll need your own boat as many of the best classes don’t offer loaners and it would be tough to blend demoing with class taking.

–Great deals available, especially toward the end of the last day.

–Do the dinner programs. Food is great, so is company, and the talks are fun.

–Buy a BugShirt for the evening on lake demo as mosquitoes are terrible.

–Weather can vary from drysuit to shorts and tee shirt, but IME the water is always cold enough for hydroskin.

–Cathy Pfiffath and Nigel Foster do fantastic classes on blending strokes; Flatpick (Steve S) does a great class on boat control and why; Wayne Horodowich’s rescue class is priceless–no one teaches the reenter and roll more effectively; and, if you can, try Derek Hutchinson: you won’t learn so much but he’s an icon in the sport and a great raconteur.

–I leave my boats down at the lake, but usually chain them to one of the fences. Some take they back to campground, others just leave them sit like the outfitters do. Never heard of anyone snitching anything.

–If you’re in regular (not RV) campground, bring ear plugs or an MP3 player–snoring and whippoorwils.

Hope this helps,


Agree with what John says
There is a large variety of food at the feasts. Lots of veggies, fried chicken, etc. in addition to the theme items (pork BBQ/shrimp). Something for nearly everyone’s taste.

Alas, Wayne Horodowich’s rescue class is not on the schedule this year. It was one of the highlights of my kayaking over these years.

I camp many months each year, and I have gear to quickly prepare my meals. Even so, I relied on the “take out” sections of the nearby super markets. Being a big cooler.

I was not bothered by noise at night. Maybe because I was so tired from being active all day! Or was it the wine? HA HA

Attending - and selling P&H Bahiya
Hi there. I’ll be at the ECCKF in Charleston. If I haven’t sold it by then I’ll be bringing along my P&H Bahiya (similar to a Quest LV) to try and sell down there.

I’m really looking forward to the event. Drop me an email if you’d like to take a look at the boat.

– Jesse

Small Dog
I’m planning to attend- would a small dog be okay at the fest.??

Not sure a small dog
would serve enough campers :0

Seriously though, a small yapping dag left in a crate or chained at the campsite wouldn’t be much fun for the dog or other campers. I’m leaving mine at home due to the lack of attention I will be able to give him and my consideration for others.

The place is very busy
I would not recommend a dog within the area of the festival. Too many people to trip over leashes on the narrow walkways. It is hard to carry a paddle without whacking somebody. Within the camping area the rule is “Pets must be cleaned up after, on a leash, and under control at all times.” Unless you have a large camper in which to confine the dog, he or she is best left at home.