Have you caught the paddling bug yet? With our miles of rivers and creeks as well as nearby lakes, the Dayton region is becoming a paddling hot spot. If you are new to the sport, the absolute best way to get a feel for a canoe, kayak or stand up paddle board is to try one on the water. At the event, try paddling offers opportunities to try canoes, single and tandem kayaks, Bellyaks, and SUPs – all great ways to explore nature and Get Out & Paddle!

Saturday 11 AM – 6 PM and Sunday 11 AM – 4 PM

Get Out & Paddle!

Kayakers on Mad River Run

Get Out & Paddle at the Wagner Subaru Outdoor Experience! Located near the heart of the festival, the Eastwood MetroPark Lagoon and the Mad River Run are a great place for paddlers to explore and try new experiences.

HeroUSA and The American Kayaking Association are supporting Try Paddling on the lagoon. Stop by for education and experience in a canoe, single of double kayak, or Bellyak.

Try Kayakinggroup of paddlers

  • Special thank you to Whitewater WarehouseBellyak, and Twin Creek Canoe and Kayak for supporting Try Kayaking by providing kayaks for the public to try at the event. Boats are available for all sizes and abilities.
  • Other paddling-related exhibitors will have fishing kayaks, whitewater boats, SUP boards and more. Visit the exhibitor village to see what is available.

Try Canoeing

  • Thanks to Adventures on the Great Miami for supporting Try Canoeing with canoes are available for test paddles. Canoeing is a relaxing sport for the whole family.
  • New in 2019: Canoemobile will be onsite with 9 person canoes.

Try Whitewater, in inflatable kayaks

1:00 pm


  • Thanks to support from Whitewater Warehouse for offering this exciting opportunity to try paddling the whitewater feature in an inflatable kayak with pro paddler, Bernie Farley as your instructor! Inflatable kayaks are a great way to navigate the rapids of the Mad River!
  • Register at the Whitewater Warehouse tent by the Mad River Run.

Kayak the Mad River mad river run

12:00pm and 3:00pm

12:00pm and 2:00pm

  • Paddle the Mad River for FREE! Thanks to the Twin Creek Canoe and Kayak for providing kayaks, paddles and PFDs. Sign up to take a quick, one mile, group float with safety boaters. Spaces are limited. Registration and  check-in will be at the main event information booth. Please arrive at least 10 minutes prior to departure time, or your spot may be given away to someone present. Must be 14 years of age or older.

Try SUP on the whitewater

  • Visit the Hala booth to demo a stand up paddle board on the Mad River or Lagoon. PFDs required.

Open Boat-Paddle with the ProsMad River Run demo

  • Have your own kayak or SUP equipment and want to learn tips and tricks from the experts? During open boat times on the Mad River Run, you can get in the water and learn from the experts.

Watch It  

  • Watch top-notch freestyle whitewater and SUP boaters in the Pro Surf Shows as they do bow stalls, rolls, flips and more in the Mad River Run whitewater feature. See show times here.

Compete It

  • SUP Cross Race, hosted by
    • Balance your way through this head to head race navigating gates,  buoys, and the whitewater feature. Register at the Badfish Van by the Mad River Run. All registered competitors will be entered to win a Badfish SUP board.
  • SUP Surf Comp, hosted by
    • Bring your best trick style and cool wave entries. All registered competitors will be entered to win a Badfish SUP board. Register at the Badfish Van by the Mad River Run.
  • SUP Down River Race, hosted by

General rules and eligibility criteria for all paddling

There is always a chance that you could turn your boat over and become completely submerged in the water. Please plan ahead by: 1) checking the weather forecast 2) dressing for the weather 3) bringing a change of clothes and a towel.

All paddlers MUST wear a properly fitted lifejacket, zipped and clipped, while on the docks or in a boat.  No alcohol consumption prior to activity.

Essential eligibility criteria for Try Paddlesports and Try Whitewater activities

Paddling programs on the Lagoon and the Mad River are open to all individuals who acknowledge the ability to perform the following essential eligibility criteria:

    1. Breathe independently (i.e., not require medical devices to sustain breathing)
    2. Independently maintain sealed airway passages while under water
    3. Independently hold head upright without neck / head support
    4. Manage personal care independently or with assistance of a companion
    5. Manage personal mobility independently or with a reasonable amount of assistance
    6. Follow instructions and effectively communicate independently or with assistance of a companion
    7. Independently turn from face-down to face-up and remain floating face up while wearing a properly fitted life jacket
    8. Get in/out of a paddlecraft independently or with a reasonable amount of assistance
    9. Independently get out and from under a capsized paddlecraft
    10. Reenter the paddlecraft following deep water capsize independently or with a reasonable amount of assistance
    11. Maintain a safe body position while attempting skills and activities listed above, and have the ability to recognize and identify to others when such efforts would be unsafe given your personal situation


Have your own boat?

You can plan a trip any time during the weekend. The river is always open (unless there is severe flooding, which is not likely in October). There are 62 miles of canoe- and kayak-friendly water from Bellefontaine to Eastwood MetroPark. Anglers will be excited to know brown trout are available from Bellefontaine to Springfield. Below the city of Springfield downstream to Downtown Dayton, smallmouth bass become more prevalent. The Mad River is a swift moving spring-fed stream that offers great water for beginners as well as a couple of rapid sections that will interest the advanced boater.

View River Maps

After the event

Of the 265 miles of water trail our region offers, Five Rivers MetroParks manages nearly 39 miles. The 185-acre Eastwood Lake and many smaller lakes and ponds in the Miami Valley are home to many great paddling opportunities. Paddling a kayak, canoe, standup paddleboard (SUP) or other paddlecraft is a great way to explore nature and enjoy the region’s various water features.

Explore these MetroParks paddling facilities to paddle on your own!

Event Sponsors

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  • Wagner Subaru logo
  • Subaru Logo
  • Mad River Mountain logo
  • Great Lakes Brewing Company logo
  • Dayton Cycling Club logo