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Battle on the Bayou returns to Ocean Springs for eighth year

Paddlers in a past Battle on the Bayou event.
Paddlers in a past Battle on the Bayou event. Battle on the Bayou

Paddlers will take to the waters for a race that is both fun and competitive as the Eighth Annual Battle on the Bayou is held 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.

This year’s race will be about 8.25-miles, starting at Gulf Hills Hotel & Conference Center, 13701 Paso Road, Ocean Springs. It travels Fort Bayou to a turn-around near Fort Bayou Apartments and concludes back at Gulf Hills.

The course change this year will alleviate the need for paddlers to shuttle from the ending spot as they did in years past. It also will allow paddlers to see who is leading the race. The best time on last year’s course was 1:17:57.0, completed by Mike Herbert of Rogers, Ariz.

Mike Pornovets, executive director, said ending the race at Gulf Hills also will shorten times by about 45 minutes.

“In some cases it will make it a little more competitive and in other cases it will make it a little more friendly to paddlers,” Pornovets said. “As the race has grown, we had difficulty getting buses and transportation back and forth. This is going to allow the ease of growing the sport down on the Gulf Coast.”

Many paddlers look forward to the competition because it is one of the first competitive races of the season in the South. Last year there were about 150 paddlers. Pornovets said they expect similar numbers this year.

The boat classes allow from everything from K1 pool toys to racing tandem canoes and Hobie pedal boards. Past competitors ranged from Olympic paddlers to those who were simply having fun in inflatable boats.

The event raises funds for Heroes on the Water. The non-profit organization uses kayaks to treat and mentor military veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder or other ailments.

Registration will be Friday 2-8 p.m., at Gulf Hills Hotel & Conference Center, 13701 Paso Road. Registration is $55 solo and $110 for tandems. American Canoe Association members receive discounts.

A meet-and-greet will be held from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Friday with food and drink.

Late check-in is Saturday from 7-8 a.m. Safety instruction will be presented at 8:15 a.m. and the mass race begins at 9 a.m. Saturday. An awards ceremony will follow the race at 1 p.m.

Battle on the Bayou

Registration: Friday 2-8 p.m.; Gulf Hills Hotel & Conference Center, 13701 Paso Road. Registration; $55 solo and $110 for tandems. American Canoe Association members receive discounts.

A meet-and-greet will be held from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Friday with food and drink.

Late check-in is Saturday from 7-8 a.m.

Race begins at 9 a.m. Saturday. An awards ceremony will follow the race at 1 p.m.

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