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Paddling Events for Spring and Early Summer 2024

May 2, 2024

Grab your paddle, get your kayak or canoe and friends ready for upcoming paddling events and places to go in the Enchanted Mountains of Western New York State. These events are great for a novice explorer to glide serenely along our normally-tranquil rivers, these kayaking and canoeing events offer an exhilarating blend of nature, athleticism, and camaraderie. From the adrenaline-pumping thrill of navigating tumultuous currents to the serene beauty of quietly paddling through mostly-untouched wilderness, these events provide an unparalleled opportunity to connect with the great outdoors and fellow enthusiasts alike.

Paddle a Kayak or Canoe Events

Float the Allegheny Regatta on May 18, 2024

Paddling the Allegheny River from Portville to Allegany on 2021-08-21
Paddling the Allegheny River from Portville to Allegany on 2021-08-21 130631

The 2024 Float the Allegheny event is a 4.75 mile kayak & canoe regatta on the Allegheny River from Portville, NY to Olean, NY. For 2024 there are some changes, like a different end point at Franchot Park, and kayak and canoe rentals from A-1 Rent-All. The afterparty is open to the public and will have live music, Randy’s Up the River and Sweet Ride food trucks, as well as Four Mile Brewing providing locally-crafted beverages. Learn more about the 2024 Float the Allegheny.

Tame the Tuna Regatta on July 27, 2024

Bills Fans at Tame the Tuna 2023
Bills Fans at Tame the Tuna 2023 - 20230729_134756.jpg
Jeremy Knab

This is the fourth annual Tame the Tuna Regatta which is a 5.5 mile kayak & canoe regatta on the Tunungwant Creek AKA "the Tuna". The Tuna is a creek that flows North from Bradford, Pennsylvania through Limestone, New York into the Allegheny River. The 2023 Tame the Tuna had a boat contest, people in various outfits like Santas elves and reindeer, Buffalo Bills fans - of course - and a tribal-masked crew. Learn about the 2024 Tame the Tuna Regatta.

Tribal Mask crew at the 2023 Tame the Tuna Regatta
Tribal Mask crew at the 2023 Tame the Tuna regatta - img_20240430_151732.jpg

Regatta History

One of Western New York's largest regattas would have been this weekend, the weekend prior to Mother's Day, the annual Great Valley Volunteer Fireman's Regatta, which started in 1976, but it hasn't happened since 2019.

Canoe & Kayak Preparation & Safety

  • You should wear a personal floatation device (PFD) / life jacket when on the water
  • Know before you go - Where will you be paddling? What is the water like? What is the weather like?
  • Practice paddling on calm waters - See "Lakes to Practice Paddling" below
  • Paddle with a friend
  • Practice Leave No Trace

Wear a PFD

You should wear a personal floatation device (PFD) / life jacket in the boat.

Gear Check

Things we recommend to have on a paddle

  • Thin gloves
  • Waterproof bag / dry bag for phone
  • Bigger Waterproof bag / dry bag for personal items
  • Rope / twine for tying the boat or items to the boat
  • Sunscreen
  • Hat

Plan Your Paddle

Know before you go paddling by planning your route with your launch spot (starting point) and your take-out spot (ending point).

Some Terms on the Water: Eddies, Strainers & Bears - Oh My!

Well, bears isn't a term for river water but you should learn the following river water terms:

  • Current - Flow of the water. 
  • Eddy - For a river, an eddy is a spot in the river that is directly downstream of an obstacle, like a rock. The water is usually calmer in an eddy but may be a swirling whirlpool of water. An eddy will have water that is flowing upstream!
  • Eddy Line - An irregular flow of water where calm water and current meet - Move through these and try to stay in a current.
  • Sweepers - A thing, like a tree branch, hanging a little bit above the water which may strip you from your boat. You want to avoid these.
  • Strainers - An object, like a tree branch, in the water that the current is pushing into which catches debris, boats and people. Strainers are dangerous and you want to avoid.
  • The V - When looking downstream, watch for an upside down V, or an A, as this is most-likely the best path to take.
  • Pillow - The water flowing over a above-water-level, large rock.

What is the water level?

You'll want to check the water level using the USGS's WaterWatch website for New York which monitors water throughout the United States.

Some Examples of Checking Water Levels:

Note:Do not paddle in flood conditions unless you are a very experienced white water paddler.

What is the anticipated weather?

Check the weather forecast.

Learn more about paddling safely

New or Rusty at Paddling?

For learning or practicing how to paddle a kayak or canoe, we recommend starting on a pond or lake. Please note that paddling on a river is different.

Lakes to Practice Paddle Strokes

Learn the many ways to paddle in a canoe or kayak

Playlists on YouTube that the EM Created

Educational Videos - American Canoe Association

Kayak or Canoe on a Creek or River

Once you've learned the basics paddling on a lake and you are ready to paddle on a creek or river then we recommend planning a trip on the Allegheny River! Plan a trip from Portville, NY to Olean, NY or from Allegany, NY to Limestone, NY ... or other creeks!

Kayak Rentals & Tours

Area businesses that may offer kayak rentals or kayak tours