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Crossroads kayakers take to the water (w/video)

By Jennifer Lee Preyss
June 11, 2014 at 1:11 a.m.
Updated June 12, 2014 at 1:12 a.m.

James Herman, a kayaker with the Coastal Bend Paddlers, paddles the last stretch of the group's run  Saturday from Thomaston River Road bridge to Farm-to-Market Road 447  bridge.

CROSSROADS KAYAKING

For more information on upcoming paddle events, join Coastal Bend Paddlers Club on Facebook at facebook.com/groups/coastalbendpaddlers.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife website offers information about paddling trails.

RENTAL LOCATIONS

Jerry's Kayaks in Victoria: Visit jerryskayak.com or call 361-894-4414

Gerry's Kayaks in Victoria: Visit gerryskayaks.com or call 361-935-3779

Rockport Adventures: Visit rockportadventures.com or call 361-727-0643.

Austin Canoe and Kayak: Visit austinkayak.com/rentals.

Recreational Equipment Inc.: Visit rei.com/map/store.

Not quite at the crack of dawn but not a moment after 9 a.m. Saturday, Holly Priddy arrived at the Cimarron Junction gas station on Cuero Highway and waited for more kayak-attached cars to arrive.

It's Priddy's first meeting with the Coastal Bend Paddlers Club, an area group of paddling enthusiasts who meet on the weekends at assigned times and locations and paddle the Guadalupe River.

And since she's eager to meet other kayakers since taking up the sport last year, Priddy drove about 40 minutes to float three hours with the group of new faces.

"I love to be out on the water," said Priddy, of Port Lavaca. "Last year, I saw a kayak, and that was it. I started watching a bunch of kayaking videos, and then, I went and bought one."

And when she learned there was an active group of paddlers in the Crossroads, she looked it up and joined its ranks.

"I definitely want to get involved. It's a sport that seems to be catching on around here," she said.

Kayaking down the river appears to have all the benefits of floating the river in an inner tube near San Marcos, Priddy said, but it remains an activity in Victoria and area counties that isn't exactly visible without doing some research first.

Kayak, canoe and boat rentals are limited in the Crossroads, which is why so many opt to travel out of town for water sports, Priddy said.

But for those in the Coastal Bend Paddlers Club, they welcome all who are interested to join their floats.

James Herman, of Victoria, has been kayaking with the group for several years and said it's one of the best area summer activities.

"It's great because I don't have to leave town. I can load up the kayak and float and relax down the river," he said.

Herman said he started kayaking five years ago when he spotted a few boaters in the water. He started asking around about how to get involved, and shortly after purchased a used kayak to begin the sport.

"It usually starts here through word of mouth; that's how people get involved," he said. "It wouldn't hurt to have a few more rental places."

For those interested in floating the river, or paddling in a kayak or canoe, Priddy and Herman suggest joining the Coastal Bend Paddlers Club and looking out for upcoming paddling events.

A limited number of boats are available to beginners, but both recommend purchasing equipment or renting from a kayak service.

But they encourage any who are interested to get on the water and paddle with the group.

And always take at least one friend.

"What I like about it most is that I get to spend time with family and friends, and the good part is, it's all here and you don't have to go far to enjoy it," Herman said.

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