Nearly a year ago, Arnold resident Chris Hopkinson, captured the attention of thousands of people nationwide when he became the first person to traverse the entire Chesapeake Bay by standup paddle board in his effort to bring awareness to and raise funds for the Oyster Recovery Partnership.
Hopkinson is back and he’s bringing along a whole lot more paddlers as Bay Paddle ’21 has expanded as a multi-team paddle race benefiting both the Oyster Recovery Partnership and Chesapeake Conservancy.
Over 90 paddlers have registered to participate, including a team of 30 teachers from Anne Arundel County Public Schools, a group of veterans from the Valhalla Sailing Project and all the Bay River Keepers from WaterKeepers Chesapeake. In addition, 10 paddlers will be making the 200-plus-mile journey solo along the same route Hopkinson took in 2020.
Hopkinson’s adventure last year was captured by a local filmmaker and turned into a documentary film that aired this past April on Maryland Public Television.
The 2021 paddle will be a 200-plus-mile, eight-day, staged paddle race, taking place from Friday through Sept. 3. Like last year, the paddle will begin in Havre de Grace and finish in the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of Virginia Beach.
Relay teams and solo paddlers will face wind, current and tides, using standup paddle boards, kayaks, outriggers, surf skis or other paddle craft to cover the distance.
The trip schedule
Paddling will begin Friday at 9 a.m. in Havre de Grace. Paddlers will travel 34 miles to Haven Harbor Marina.
On Saturday, the trip starting at 8 a.m. covers 21 miles from Haven Harbor Marina to Claiborne Landing.
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On Sunday, beginning at 7 a.m., the paddle covers 29 miles from Claiborne Landing to Taylor’s Island.
It’s 29 more miles for Monday, from Taylor Island to Crocheron Landing. Stat time is 8 a.m.
Tuesday start time is 9 a.m. from Crocheron Landing to Crisfield, covering 23 miles.
Next Wednesday the trip moves 24 miles from Crisfield to Harborton Boat Ramp, starting at 8:30 a.m.
The trip continues Sept. 2, with a start time of 8:30 a.m. from Harborton Boat Ramp to Cape Charles Beach, covering 32 miles.
The final day of the trip is set for Sept. 3, with a start time of 9 a.m. The final leg covers 15 miles from Cape Charles to the Atlantic Ocean.
Bay Paddle 2021 sponsors to date include Red Bull, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Flying Dog Beer, George’s Bloody Mary Mix, REI, Chesapeake Bay Magazine and WRNR Radio.