Paddling is a sport in which you use a long stick like object to propel yourself through water. You face forward and move forward because if you were sitting backwards and moving forward you would be rowing. Long beach has a jewel of a space perfect for paddling. Alamitos Bay.
Alamitos Bay is a water playground in Long Beach. It is an inlet of the Pacific Ocean that is protected on its south end by the quaint Peninsula neighborhood loaded with classic beach cottages and modern condominiums. The bay is protected on the east side by the jetties that separate Long Beach and Seal Beach. The water flows through canals in the beautiful neighborhood of Naples thus creating a perfect island to call home. Sit on the beach along Bay Shore Drive, east side of Belmont Shore, and watch the interesting water borne vehicles travel across Alamitos Bay.
Dragon Boats are powerful, colorful and definitely eye catching. These boats are designed out of teak wood to resemble traditional Chinese Dragons. Originally, the boats were made on the Pearl River Delta Region in China, and have emerged into modern times as an international sport of racing. Dragon Boats are propelled by long paddles and a large crew. Today racing these boats is an amateur sport with its roots in ancient Chinese folk ritual. There are also many festivals attached to the racing events. These festivals commemorate the life and death of ancient poet Qu Tuan who lived from 340 – 278 B.C. Long Beach is host to one of the largest Dragon Boat Festivals in California every July.
Hawaiian Outrigger Canoes
Do not confuse the Dragon Boat with the Hawaiian Outrigger Canoe even though they are very similar. Hawaiian Outrigger Canoes were developed by the people of pae’aina (Hawaiian Islands) for 2000 years. These canoes were originally used in Hawaii like cars, think of the ocean as a highway. These boats would move goods and transport people. They were also used for surfing and fishing. The large banana shaped bottom was used to hold the fish. The fisherman would also challenge each other to see who could give the chief the first fish, and thus the outrigger racing began. The racing boats are called hei hei wa’ a. and are made of hulled out Koa Trees. Long Beach is home to two outrigger clubs, The Lokahi and The Kahakai. Both clubs meet at Mother’s Beach at Marine Park in the neighborhood of Naples Island in Alamitos Bay.
Stand Up Paddle Boards (SUP) and Kayaks
The wide open space and calm flat waters make Alamitos Bay the perfect playground for stand up paddling and kayaking. Stand up paddling is exactly that. You stand on a surfing-style craft and propel yourself through the water with a single long paddle. Stand up paddling is the fastest growing sport because everyone can paddle. Aloha SUP is a local SUP Club that rents boards and plans special paddle events for business and pleasure. They are located on Ocean Blvd. next to Leeway Sailing Center. They pride themselves as paddling with the Aloha spirit.
You can even see people enjoy the timeless practice of yoga on top of their stand up paddle boards. Just another Zen fusion of the mind, body, and water. Stand up paddling has been around for thousands of years and used by many ancient cultures from Africa and South America. This mode of travel was also used for fishing and at times of war between different villages. Stand up paddle surfing has Hawaiian roots, and you can find stand up paddle surfers today along the entire California Coast.
Stand up paddling does take a strong torso and if that is not for you… no worries you can still paddle while sitting down. Kayaking is like stand up paddling except you sit low to the water in a canoe-like-boat. You can and even pack a lunch or fishing pole. It gives you the flexibility to travel a bit longer.
Gondolas are like the cherry on top of the sundae. If you enjoy the fresh salt air, cool calming effects of rippling water, tasty appetizers and a cool refreshing beverages, then riding in a gondola is your answer. Sit back and relax as a gondolier paddles the most ancient form of canoe through the canals of Naples, not Italy but Long Beach. Plan a romantic sunset ride or an afternoon with your friends. Either way you can experience the pleasures of paddling on the bay without breaking a sweat. You can reserve a gonadal at Gondola Get A Way located at the docks of Leeway Sailing Center.
Long Beach is lucky to have the beautiful Alamitos Bay at the south east side of the city. And, what better way to explore these beautiful neighborhoods than to paddle through them.