Paddling is around every turn at the Wagner Subaru Outdoor Experience.  You can try kayaking, canoeing, inflatable kayaks, or stand up paddleboards.  Watch pro demos or join a competition!

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.

Taiters Kayak Solutions are supporting Try Paddling on the lagoon. Stop by for education and an experience in a canoe, single or double kayak.

Try Paddling



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.


Canoemobile will be onsite near the gateway entrance with nine person canoes.

Try Whitewater (in inflatable kayaks)

1:00 pm


Try paddling the whitewater feature in an inflatable kayak with Five Rivers MetroParks Outdoor Recreation Coordinator Derrick Keating. Inflatable kayaks are a great way to navigate the rapids of the Mad River!

  • Register at the Mad River Run, space is limited so sign up early in the day!

Try SUP on the whitewater

Open Boat Paddle with the Pros

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 top-notch freestyle whitewater and SUP boaters in the Pro Surf Shows as they throwdown cartwheels, mcleans, pirouettes, bow stalls, rolls, flips and more in the Mad River Run whitewater feature.

Mad River Run Activity Schedule

Saturday, October 1

  • 11:00 – Open Boat
  • 12:00 – Pro Surf Show
  • 1:00 – Try Whitewater
  • 2:00 – Kayak Cross Competition
  • 4:00 – Try Whitewater! In an inflatable kayak
  • 5:00 – SUP Cross Competition
  • 7:00 – Pro Surf Show

Sunday, October 2

  • 11:00 – Pro Surf Show
  • 12:00 – Try Whitewater
  • 1:30 – SUP Surf Competition
  • 3:00 – Pro Surf Show


Registration is $15 per competition and includes a tshirt and water bottle. Registration is at the event. Inquire at the Info Tent.

  • SUP Cross Race
    • Balance your way through this head to head race navigating gates, buoys, and the whitewater feature. Register by the Mad River Run.
  • SUP Surf Comp
    • Bring your best trick style and cool wave entries.  Register by the Mad River Run.
  • Kayak Cross Race

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?


Bring your own boat to play in the feature between shows or try out one of the Hala Gear demo SUP boards or a Bellyak!

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 Map

Paddler Changing Room

Paddler changing rooms are located near the Mad River Run.

Please visit our information or waiver tents to sign a Risk and Release waiver, or download and complete a waiver to bring to the festival. Those under 18 years old must have a parent/guardian sign the form.

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Heads up! A signed waiver is required to participate in Activities.