For the Speed Demon
Considering all of the rivers and streams crisscrossing the state, it should come as no surprise that the state is teeming with watery race courses. From the massive MR340 traversing the Missouri River in 88 hours to smaller races rushing through tributaries and less mighty rivers, paddlesport racing is alive and well in Missouri. No matter your fitness level, dipping your toes into racing culture can pack a little thrill into your regular ’yaking or canoeing routine. Organizations like the American Canoe Association and websites like midwestpaddleracing.com stay updated with racing opportunities throughout the state. If the thrill of the finish line isn’t what drives you, or if you’re just wanting to test the waters, check out this year’s Paddle MO event. Happening September 19 through 23, the 100-mile route down the Missouri River is an easier introduction to long-distance paddle races without the pressure of the timeclock.
For the Perpetual Learner
Sometimes we need a little push to get into a new hobby. Luckily, paddling groups in 417-land provide a sense of community and a wealth of knowledge to turn you into a paddle pro in no time. Facebook group Branson Kayak Club is a friendly group of paddlers from the Branson area who share events, gear advice and troubleshooting tips regularly. The more formal club Ozark Mountain Paddlers arranges floats, clinics and workshops to help you become more proficient and confident on the water. The club also focuses on conservation and education, providing opportunities to help clean up local waterways and reach out to the community.