Story by Lourice Angie
Despite the freezing temperatures on Sat., Dec. 10, paddle boarders gathered at Jersey Paddle Boards, located at 622 Jersey Ave. in Greenwood Lake, for the third annual Santa Paddle Con. The event was organized by the owners of Jersey Paddle Boards and attracted participants from near and far.
The holiday-spirited group met at the Willow Point Marina, home of Jersey Paddle Boards and they were soon spotted surfing the water of the lake. The event was open to anyone with paddleboard experience and all were encouraged to bring a Santa suit or a holiday outfit. Drop-ins were welcome. Canned goods and other non-perishable food item donations were encouraged and collected for the local food pantry. Wetsuits or neoprene suits were required to go into the water. Boards and Kayak rentals were also available.
The weather and lake conditions were slightly rough this year, as the cold weekend temps caused parts of the lake to freeze. In addition to the ice, another concern for the group was that the lake was extremely shallow due to the drawdown. Micki Lees, owner of New Jersey Paddle Boards said that because of the unexpected lake conditions, they needed to stay on a very specific route, keeping at least 25 feet away from the shoreline. Despite the restrictions, they still had fun and found a clear enough path for the Santas to enjoy.
The route was designed to depart from the Willow Point Marina, around to the Breezy Point Inn and down to the town beach.
“Unfortunately, they could not make it down the arm of the lake this year,” said Lees. Many families and people from the community gathered at the Willow Point Marina and around the lake to get a closer glimpse of the group from the extended shoreline. Once the paddle boarders were done, they were invited to enjoy cocktails, hot chocolate and a warm beach fire.
Nancy Schroeter a paddle boarder from Hunterdon County, NJ, really enjoyed her second year participating in the Santa Paddle Con, saying “Although I’m from out of town and didn’t personally know anyone from Jersey Paddle Boards, they were all so welcoming and sweet. What makes the event and all of these people so cool is that no one else does this kind of event in the area.”
A special thank you goes to all of this year’s Santa Paddle participants, the Village of Greenwood Lake and to Dee Schmidt for all of her help organizing the event.
For additional information on Santa Paddle Con visit www.santacon.info.com, visit www.jerseypaddleboards.com or call 554-0787 and leave a message.